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The Christmas Books: A Christmas Carol, the Chimes, the Cricket On the Hearth (Penguin Popular Classics) [Paperback]

Charles Dickens
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (24 customer reviews)

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Book Description

25 Jan 2007 Penguin Popular Classics
Dickens’s story of solitary miser Ebenezer Scrooge, who is taught the true meaning of Christmas by a series of ghostly visitors, has proved one of his most well-loved works. Ever since it was published in 1843 it has had an enduring influence on the way we think about the traditions of Christmas. Dickens’s other Christmas writings collected here include ‘The Story of the Goblins who Stole a Sexton’, the short story from The Pickwick Papers on which A Christmas Carol was based; along with shorter pieces drawn from the ‘Christmas Stories’ that Dickens wrote annually for his weekly journals. In all of them Dickens celebrates the season as one of geniality, charity and remembrance.

Product details

  • Paperback: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Classics; New Ed edition (25 Jan 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0140620990
  • ISBN-13: 978-0140620993
  • Product Dimensions: 17.8 x 11 x 1 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (24 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 383,874 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Charles Dickens was born in 1812 near Portsmouth where his father was a clerk in the navy pay office. The family moved to London in 1823, but their fortunes were severely impaired. Dickens was sent to work in a blacking-warehouse when his father was imprisoned for debt. Both experiences deeply affected the future novelist. In 1833 he began contributing stories to newspapers and magazines, and in 1836 started the serial publication of Pickwick Papers. Thereafter, Dickens published his major novels over the course of the next twenty years, from Nicholas Nickleby to Little Dorrit. He also edited the journals Household Words and All the Year Round. Dickens died in June 1870.

Product Description


"If, like us, you can't quite imagine life without the printed word, you'll love these clothbound classics. Buy now, enjoy forever." --"Elle Decoration" --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

About the Author

Charles Dickens was born at Portsmouth on 7 February 1812. He received little formal education, but taught himself shorthand and became a reporter of parliamentary debates for the Morning Chronicle. He began to publish sketches in various periodicals, which were subsequently republished as Sketches by Boz. The Pickwick Papers were published in 1836–7 and after a slow start became a publishing phenomenon and Dickens's characters the centre of a popular cult. He began Oliver Twist in 1837, followed by Nicholas Nickleby (1838) and The Old Curiosity Shop (1840–41).After finishing Barnaby Rudge (1841) Dickens set off for America; he went full of enthusiasm for the young republic but, in spite of a triumphant reception, he returned disillusioned. His experiences are recorded in American Notes (1842). Martin Chuzzlewit (1843–4) did not repeat its predecessors' success but this was quickly redressed by the huge popularity of the Christmas Books, of which the first, A Christmas Carol, appeared in 1843. During 1844–6 Dickens travelled abroad and he began Dombey and Son while in Switzerland. This and David Copperfield (1849–50) were more serious in theme and more carefully planned than his early novels. In later works, such as Bleak House (1853) and Little Dorrit (1857), Dickens's social criticism became more radical and his comedy more savage. Charles Dickens died on 9 June 1870.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
30 of 33 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Warms the cockles 29 Dec 2003
How did I possibly get into my thirties without ever having read this book? It is so wonderful, that I turned striaght to the front page again when I'd finnished reading it.
If your only experience of A Christmas Carol, like me, was the dodgy TV adaptations, do yourself a favour and pick up this book. It is enchanting, heartwarming and and far better than anything you'll see on TV. A real Christmas treat!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good book, shame about the cover 4 Jan 2010
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
This book cannot fail, given that it contains the best-loved Charles Dickens Christmas stories. The only downside is the cover, which is dull, lacking in atmosphere and doesn't reflect the contents (in my opinion anyway). It also has no dustjacket, which is surprising. I think the publishers are relying on the stories selling themselves which, of course, they will do, but it's a shame they didn't make more effort with the packaging. It's also difficult to read without damaging the spine as it's quite stiff. Nothing really wrong with it, but it's not an outstanding item on my bookshelf.
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17 of 20 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Stocking fillers 19 Jan 2008
By Magic Lemur VINE VOICE
The first thing to point out with this collection is that it is well worth getting just for the first tale (the Christmas Carol). Christmas Carol, by far and away, more than matches the hype and is (dare I say it) genius! No other story (that I know of) imbues the spirit of christmas more perfectly and faithfully and this book is worth purchasing just for that.

However, tales two and three ('Chimes' and 'Cricket on the Hearth') are not quite so good and do let the collection down. 'Chimes' is a good story in essence: it is about a charactor called Trotty who becomes cynical about human nature and is taught a redemptive lesson by the spirits that live in the bells of the local church.
The really erksome thing is that the story never really seems to go anywhere and goes around the houses trying to do so. What should be a clear-cut and heartwarming tale, ends up not really imparting the lesson that it should; that man is built for better things.

'Cricket on the Hearth' is a little better and clearer in what it is aiming for and in its writing although I did read through ten pages of it where not a lot happened. Essentially it is about a carrier (Peerybingle) and his wife Dot who are watched over by a Guardian Angel in the form of a cricket. In a similar way to Christmas carol, this tale covers a redemption plot of the local toymaker (Tackleton) but also includes several other elements that make it an enjoyable Christmas tale.

So, to conclude, the first story in this book should be read by everyone, the second can be skipped and the third is worth reading, if only at Christmas time. As a collection, this book excludes the rather poorer tales of 'Battle of Life' and 'Haunted man', which is a redeeming virtue - if it excluded 'Chimes' as well, then it would be a true masterpiece.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Christmas tales that live on 9 Jan 2013
By Keen Reader TOP 100 REVIEWER
Always around Christmas time I find myself yearning to read A Christmas Carol once again. I don't know how many times now I've read it - but I find myself drawn again and again to the story. This edition of the Christmas Books (Oxford Illustrated Dickens, reprinted 1987) is part of a complete set that my father gave me years ago, and I cherish them all. The book contains A Christmas Carol (1843), The Chimes (1844), The Cricket on the Hearth (1845), The Battle of Life (1846), and The Haunted Man (1848).

Knowing the delight I would again find in A Christmas Carol, I saved it till last in this re-reading of the book, and read the other stories first. These vary greatly in capturing the reader's interest, with The Batatle of Life, and The Haunted Man seeming to run down their batteries somewhat as they trundle on. Not riveting stuff. What is riveting, however, as always, is Dickens' use of the English language - lyrical, beautiful, poetic writing which, even when the subject matter becomes slightly tedious, is music to the ear. A Christmas Carol, with the tale of Scrooge, his dead partner and the visiting Spirits, is a masterpiece of storytelling, no matter what the age in which it was written.

I think A Christmas Carol is a story everybody should read at least once; the other stories in the Christmas Books are not so enduring, but well worth reading, at the very least from the perspective of a Dickens' completist viewpoint.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Great Read as always 24 Dec 2011
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This last month or so I have purchased quite a number of books from Amazon including this one. The price range is great with free delivery and the quality of the books written by great authors makes it easy to build a good library at an affordable price. I havent read it yet but have other copies of this book in my collection. Dickens books are always a good read..
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Perfect 5 Nov 2010
By Daniel
This book has a low price and you receive so much more. The Christmas books of Charles Dickens are a literary art piece that you can read for Christmas. Not only is this useful to read to children at bed time or by the fire, I think this book can wake the Christmas spirit that, as we grow older, it whispers to us in memory of the good old day.
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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
A classic tale, from a classic story teller. Dickens prose is a joy, his vocabulary diverse and hugely descriptive. He has thedeft ability to portray the emotion of a situation. For example, Scrooge's fear at meeting Marley and the other ghosts of Christmas or Scrooge's joy at truly experiencing Christmas once the ghosts have worked their magic. He enables the reader to see and smell Dickensian London. But, the moral of the tale is applicable to our lives today. I.e. don't be too wrapped up in material things. Enjoy life while you can, and help others to do so if you have the chance. Out with the 'bah humbug' and in with the 'Merry Christmas and goodwill to all men'! A brilliant read.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Manage your own expectations
There are a number of reviews for this collection of stories which talk about The Chimes and The Cricket on the Hearth 'letting the book down'. Read more
Published 3 months ago by M Norman
5.0 out of 5 stars Charles Dickens
Used this to help build my collection of Charles Dickens books. I particularly like this one because a) its Christmas and b) short stories are great!
Published 11 months ago by Debs
4.0 out of 5 stars Classic
Classic stories, some of which were read in my childhood, bringing memories flooding back. So convenient to have the text on Kindle as my hard copies are old and frail now.
Published 16 months ago by G. P. Snell
5.0 out of 5 stars Bookishgrandson
I decided to introduce my young grandson to Dickens and this is the perfect, special book for him to start on
Published 17 months ago by C. Beardshaw
5.0 out of 5 stars A lovely christmas present.
A good set of books that provide a great value present, nicely presented and allows one to buy a real range of the classics.
Published 17 months ago by Mrs Linda A Fleming
5.0 out of 5 stars Interesting
Well worth a read, everyones heard of "A Christmas Carol" but the others in the series are fairly unknown. This is a great little book with them all in one place!
Published 18 months ago by vesparuss
5.0 out of 5 stars Dickens magic with excellent service
Classic Dickens. Everyone should read these books, whether they read or not. Although they touch on the dark side of our greedy society, it's short and too the point therefore not... Read more
Published 18 months ago by Originalgeemac
5.0 out of 5 stars Not long to Christmas!
These classic tales by the Master should be read by candle-light by a flickering real fire. A lovely introduction, especially for the young, to the beauty of Dickens - the pictures... Read more
Published 21 months ago by D. Conquest
4.0 out of 5 stars Christmas Trilogy
It was good to have Christmas Carol back in my collection, but I'm afraid I found the other two rather dry.
Published on 7 Jan 2012 by wilson
4.0 out of 5 stars it's obvious why A Christmas Carol is by far the best known
Christmas Books

Only A Christmas Carol is worth re- reading from this collection. 4/5

A Christmas Carol

As timeless a classic as ever at Christmas. Read more
Published on 26 Dec 2011 by John Hopper
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