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A Christmas Carol: Parents’ Top Pick to Pass On to Future Generations


In an August, 2012 blog post titled “Top ten books parents think children should read“, The Telegraph discussed a survey conducted by the University of Worcester in which 2000 adults were queried as to what books they felt most important to pass on to future generations to read.

The #1, most-often mentioned title was Charles Dickens’ classic tale A Christmas Carol. I remember the survey and blog post at the time, and admired the list, making my own mental substitutions, and moved on. But surprisingly, the notion of A Christmas Carol has nagged me over the past few months, and I didn’t know why.

It isn’t the fact that it made the list, or even topped the list. I find that unremarkable and largely unsurprising, when you consider the themes. It’s all there – the importance of kindness, of giving, and of being generous in both spirit and wallet. It prizes family, and of finding and accepting family wherever we can. There are themes of bitterness and regret, to be sure, but the overarching message is one of redemption, and its never being too late to change for the better. It teaches matters of the heart over material things, while avoiding being moralistic and preachy by embracing healthy doses of joy at every turn. It promotes a healthy work-life balance.

No, what was nagging me was revealed over the weekend. My parents, my husband and myself went to an excellent live theater production of A Christmas Carol on Saturday, and while there, I realized what was bothering me: while I know the story of A Christmas Carol well – I would even say inside out – the fact is I have never actually read it.

I have seen the 1971 film version starring Alastair Sim numerous times. I have seen Mickey’s Christmas Carol. I have seen Scrooged starring Bill Murray. I have (of course!) seen The Muppet Christmas Carol. And now I have seen a stage version. But I realized, after wracking my brain for some time, that I have never actually read the novella (and it is, by all accounts, one of the best novellas). Looks like I have another resolution to add to my reading year for 2013.

Merry Christmas! God bless us, every one.

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Beth Carswell

About Beth Carswell

I've been reading, selling, researching, loving and writing about books with AbeBooks since 2000.

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