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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Christmas Carol to treasure for Christmases yet to come
A Christmas Carol Audiobook
read by Jim Dale
I once heard it said that to appreciate Dickens best, one should read his stories aloud. I have never had the time to try to do this, but having just listened to a new unabridged reading of A Christmas Carol from Random House, I can see the validity of the statement. Playing the CD's I felt as if the narrator was, in...
Published on Nov. 8 2003 by Herbert T. Moskovitz

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3.0 out of 5 stars The ways of Scrooge
A Christmas Carol is a story of social conscious, where wrongs are righted and kindness prevails. Set in a time much like today: where poverty is widespread, being of the middle class is popular and a small population holds a large potion of the wealth. Social class dictates life, most lifetimes are spent in a single class and there is seldom movement within the...
Published on April 12 2002 by Megan


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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Christmas Carol to treasure for Christmases yet to come, Nov. 8 2003
By 
Herbert T. Moskovitz "Herbphilly" (Philadelphia, PA United States) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
Ce commentaire est de: A Christmas Carol (Audio CD)
A Christmas Carol Audiobook
read by Jim Dale
I once heard it said that to appreciate Dickens best, one should read his stories aloud. I have never had the time to try to do this, but having just listened to a new unabridged reading of A Christmas Carol from Random House, I can see the validity of the statement. Playing the CD's I felt as if the narrator was, in the words of Dickens himself, "standing in the spirit at your elbow."
And what a narrator! The multi-talented Jim Dale reads the story...no, that is not correct...Jim Dale PERFORMS the story. I counted 42 voices in the three-hour recording. Jim Dale is well known for his over 200 voices (and counting) bringing to life all of the characters in the Harry Potter books, which he also records for Random House's Listening Library.
I first saw Jim Dale in the 1977 Disney movie Pete's Dragon where he played the bumbling villain. The next year he played three hilarious characters in another Disney film, Hot Lead and Cold Feet. I was lucky to see him in two musicals on Broadway, in Barnum, and Me and My Girl. Both very memorable performances. I plan to see him next month as he sings and dances Scrooge in Madison Square Garden's Christmas Carol - The Musical. I figure if he is great in the audiobook, he will be even better on stage. An actor has only two tools...his voice and his body. In the audiobooks, of course, only the voice can be used.
And Dale's voice talents are well showcased here. I often found myself laughing out loud, thanks to the combined genius of Dickens and Dale. In a couple of cases, the genius is pure Dale. At one point he adds a bit of a dog's panting that really cracked me up.
I have seen and/or heard other wonderful actors do one-man renditions of A Christmas Carol. A number of years ago a friend played a tape for me of John Gielgud doing an abridged version. I saw Patrick Stewart do his acclaimed one man show on Broadway; from the first row! And I have seen the author's great-great grandson, Gerald Dickens do his skilled and energetic version several times. They are all memorable and it would be impossible to say which was the best. But I can heartily recommend that Jim Dale's version be added to the family library. It is complete, it is accurate and it is a virtuoso performance.
Although I certainly know the story well, I found by listening to the audiobook I was paying closer attention to the lesser known parts...the parts that, to be honest, I usually would skim over when rereading the book. In fact, there were several sections where I felt as if I were hearing them for the first time. Marvelous sections. I couldn't believe I had missed them in the past. Maybe Jim Dale's voice just made them more vibrant than my own inner voice.
I suppose that asking me to review Jim Dale reading A Christmas Carol really isn't fair. One of my favorite performers reading my favorite story by my favorite author! But surely I am not alone. Dickens is universally known as England's greatest novelist. I wouldn't be surprised if Jim Dale was gaining a reputation as one of the world's greatest readers of audiobooks. They are both master storytellers. And to quote the Dickens himself, "If that's not high praise, tell me higher, and I'll use it."
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Charles Dickens A Christmas Carol, Feb. 18 2004
By A Customer
A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens is a really good book I thought. Your learn not to be greedy, selfish, and how to spread tons of love around Christmas. It teaches you not to take grantite of what you have. You should be thankful for what you got. The three ghosts of past, present, and the futer of Christmas. Ebenezer Scrooge is haunted by all the ghost plus his old friend Jacob Marley. This book is heart warmer to all or at least it should be. I hope everyone takes the time to read this heart warming book and enjoy it time after time.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Evoking the true spirit of Christmas since 1843, Dec 20 2003
By 
Daniel Jolley "darkgenius" (Shelby, North Carolina USA) - See all my reviews
(TOP 50 REVIEWER)    (REAL NAME)   
Aside from the Bible, Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol is probably the most familiar and well-known book ever published. Scores of film adaptations have been made over the years, taking Dickens' story of one man's redemption to all the corners of the globe. The name Ebenezer Scrooge immediately brings to mind the miserly curmudgeon whose life and very nature were radically changed after the visitation of four ghosts one early Christmas morning. Jacob Marley, Scrooge's former partner, returns in spirit form to warn Scrooge of the ponderous chain he is forging in life by his penny-pinching, selfish, Christmas-hating ways. Then, of course, the ghosts of Christmas past, Christmas present, and Christmas future come to call for an increasingly troubled soul who comes to see the worthlessness of his purely materialistic life. A Christmas Carol offers a truly amazing character study. Scrooge, this seemingly incorrigible fellow, quickly becomes a sympathetic character as we view the circumstances of his life. From a lonely boy rejected by his father (who blames him for the death of his wife in childbirth), we see a sensitive soul, one quite capable of feeling and expressing both happiness and love, grow greedy and cold, shutting even the woman he loves out of his life. Completely broken down by the scenes revealed by the ghost of Christmas Yet to Come, Scrooge's transformation is remarkably real and powerful.
Little need be said about this timeless classic, as it is a story virtually everyone knows in some detail. The message is clear to all of us, as well. Dickens, the social conscience of the 19th century, illustrates the humanity and worth of even the lowliest of society's members and casts the harsh light of truth on those with the means but not the desire to help their fellow man, giving new life to the cliché "you can't take it with you." Dickens briefly alludes to the religious aspects of the holiday, but he vividly evokes the true and rightful spirit of Christmas in humanistic terms. This is a timeless story that will forever be a part of each Christmas season. Not only does it impart lessons of the highest order, it never fails to charm and delight you no matter how many times you have previously read the story (and watched the movie adaptations) over the years.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A Step Above Most Other Versions, Nov. 27 2003
By 
Ce commentaire est de: A Christmas Carol (Paperback)
I am not going to review the Charles Dickens novel 'A Christmas Carol' in this review. I did that already (see my other reviews to read that), and, of course, I gave it 5 stars.
What I'd like to comment on is the extra's this version brings. For instance, the original art work from the first edition by artist John Leech are here, placed where they were originally. There are also the actual 1843 and 1844 critics reviews in this book so one can see what was originally thought about this classic at the time of its release.
Author Richard Kelly gives his perspective on the reasoning behind Dickens writing this ghostly Christmas story - the why's and wherefore's of the characters and scenes, which, for me, gave a little more of an understanding of what may have been going through Mr. Dickens mind at the time.
Mr. Kelly also writes a bit on child labor, education, and the workhouse, which, again, opens the mind a bit more in reading this story.
There is also a chapter that has many writings by Dickens contemporaries, such as Washington Irving, and their own descriptions of Christmas in their time.
Believe it or not, there is quite a bit more in this book than what I've told you, including, of course, "Carol" itself. It makes a very interesting read and can help one to understand the purpose behind Dickens original classic, as well as of the times in which he wrote.
A lot to read at a very good price. There are many many versions of 'A Christmas Carol' available, but this one takes it a bit further than most.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A Step Above Most Other Versions, Nov. 27 2003
By 
Ce commentaire est de: A Christmas Carol (Paperback)
I am not going to review the Charles Dickens novel 'A Christmas Carol' in this review. I did that already (see my other reviews to read that), and, of course, I gave it 5 stars.
What I'd like to comment on is the extra's this version brings. For instance, the original art work from the first edition by artist John Leech are here, placed where they were originally. There are also the actual 1843 and 1844 critics reviews in this book so one can see what was originally thought about this classic at the time of its release.
Author Richard Kelly gives his perspective on the reasoning behind Dickens writing this ghostly Christmas story - the why's and wherefore's of the characters and scenes, which, for me, gave a little more of an understanding of what may have been going through Mr. Dickens mind at the time.
Mr. Kelly also writes a bit on child labor, education, and the workhouse, which, again, opens the mind a bit more in reading this story.
There is also a chapter that has many writings by Dickens contemporaries, such as Washington Irving, and their own descriptions of Christmas in their time.
Believe it or not, there is quite a bit more in this book than what I've told you. It makes a very interesting read and can help one to understand the purpose behind Dickens original classic, as well as of the times of which he wrote.
A lot to read at a very good price. There are many many versions of 'A Christmas Carol' available, but this one takes it a bit further than most.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A book that everyone should read, Sept. 17 2003
By 
Bill R. Moore (New York, USA) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
There is no reason to go into the plot or particulars of A Christmas Carol: I know of no one who is not conversant with it. Almost everyone, from young children to senior citizens, has at least seen it in a screen adaptation. It has become an integral part of the Christmas season, an immortal classic, beloved by both young and old. That said, if you have never read the original text, you owe it to yourself to do so. This story, though short and simple, is a timeless classic for a reason: it is immaculately written, has a great theme, and is undeniably heartwarming. Dickens is at his brief best here, deftly and skillfully weaving this immortal story in a spellbinding manner, making great and timeless art out of what would have been an overly-sugary-sweet mess in the hands of a lesser writer. This story is good enough, and well-written enough, to melt the cold hard of any cynic. The prose style he uses in this book is just about perfect: it makes for a fast-paced read which can easily be read in one setting, while also managing to be entertaining, and even suspenseful -- with a fine moral to boot. The story is also more than it seems: in addition to the simple morality tale, Dickens manages to weave in some social criticism, while also intermixing elements of horror and not a slight bit of humor. This is one of the few books that I truly recommend to everyone. Everyone can read it, and everyone can enjoy it. An essential classic.
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5.0 out of 5 stars The original "Carol", March 31 2003
By 
It's hard to think of a literary work that has been filmed and staged in more imaginative variations than Charles Dickens' "A Christmas Carol"--there's the excellent George C. Scott version, the delightful Muppet version, the charming Mr. Magoo version, etc., etc. But ultimately true "Carol" lovers should go back to Dickens' original text, which remains a great read.
"Carol" tells the story of cold-hearted miser Ebenezer Scrooge, who despises the Christmas holiday and scorns all who celebrate it. But a visit from a series of supernatural beings forces him to reevaluate his attitude--and his life.
With this simple plot Dickens has created one of the enduring triumphs of world literature. It's a robust mix of humor, horror, and (most of all) hope, all leavened with a healthy dash of progressive social criticism. One thing I love about this book is that while it has a focus on a Christian holiday, Dickens puts forth a message that is truly universal; I can imagine this story resonating with people of any religious background, and also with more secular-oriented people.
This is a tale of greed, selfishness, regret, redemption, family, and community, and is enlivened by some of the most memorable characters ever created for English literature. Even if Dickens had never written another word, "A Christmas Carol" would still have, I believe, secured his place as one of the great figures of world literature.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A Christmas Carol, Dec 15 2002
Well, I finally read it (instead of just watching it on the TV screen).
This is what you can call a simple idea, well told. A lonely, bitter old gaffer needs redemption, and thus is visited by three spirits who wish to give him a push in the right direction. You have then a ghost story, a timeslip adventure, and the slow defrosting of old Scrooge's soul. There are certain additions in the more famous filmed versions that help tweak the bare essentials as laid down by Dickens, but really, all the emotional impact and plot development necessary to make it believable that Scrooge is redeemable--and worth redeeming--is brilliantly cozied into place by the great novelist.
The scenes that choke me up the most are in the book; they may not be your favourites. I react very strongly to our very first look at the young Scrooge, sitting alone at school, emotionally abandoned by his father, waiting for his sister to come tell him there may be a happy Christmas. Then there are the various Cratchit scenes, but it is not so much Tiny Tim's appearances or absence that get to me--it's Bob Cratchit's dedication to his ailing son, and his various bits of small talk that either reveal how much he really listens to Tim, or else hide the pain Cratchit is feeling after we witness the family coming to grips with an empty place at the table. Scrooge as Tim's saviour is grandly set up, if only Scrooge can remember the little boy he once was, and start empathizing with the world once again. I especially like all Scrooge's minor epiphanies along his mystical journey; he stops a few times and realizes when he has said the wrong thing to Cratchit, having belittled Bob's low wages and position in life, and only later realizing that he is the miser with his bootheel on Cratchit's back. Plus, he must confront his opposite in business, Fezziwig, who treated his workers so wonderfully, and he watches as true love slips through his fingers again.
It all makes up the perfect Christmas tale, and if anyone can find happiness after having true love slip through his fingers many years ago, surprisingly, it's Scrooge. With the help of several supporting players borrowed from the horror arena, and put to splendid use here.
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5.0 out of 5 stars 5 Stars, Dec 5 2002
By 
Eduardo (Chula Vista,CA USA) - See all my reviews
A Christmas Carol is about an old bitter man named Scrooge, who in decades has not showed any compassion to any living creature for uncountable years. Ebenezer Scrooge owns a firm called Scrooge and Marley - Jacob Marley being his business partner and sole confidant who passed away years ago. On the night of Christmas Eve, while preparing to retire from his busy workday, he hears boisterous noises and frustrated and frightened answers simply by Bah! Humbug's! Marley's ghost, tied to heavy chains, appears in front of the stupefied Scrooge and alerts him that three ghosts will be visiting him that night and he must follow and obey them in order for him not to suffer the same consequence as his partner Marly. That night all of the three visit and show him his past, present, and future. Scrooge, alarmed from his future outcome changes to become the caring, charitable, and socially conscious man he was years before. Christmas morning he shocks everyone around with his Christmas spirit. Later that morning he gives Bob Cratchit - worker of Scrooge - the honor of being his equal partner in the firm and gives Cratchit's children the best Christmas they'd ever been the witness to.
I enjoyed A Christmas Carol very much, I give this piece of Charles Dickens work five stars because it is a heart warming, extremely well written novel that anyone and everyone should read in their lifetime.
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5.0 out of 5 stars As It Was Written, Nov. 11 2002
By 
The following review is for the version illustrated by William Geldart, not this version illustrated by Lisbeth Zwerger. For some reason, Amazon mixed the two up.
This is it! These are the letters, words, sentences, paragraphs that made Christmas the celebration that it is today - the family parties, the feasts, the excitement, giving to the poor. Virtually every way we celebrate this magnificent Holiday (except the mall part!) comes from this book written by Charles Dickens.
First off, this is the unabridged version. Nothing added - nothing taken away. That's as it should be. (Unfortunately, as great as they may be, the movie versions truly do not do the book justice - although I must say the George C. Scott and Alistair Sim versions do come fairly close).
One thing that surprises me about this book is how few people I know that have have actually read it, but they've seen one version or another of the movie countless times! They don't seem to realize that when books are put to film, so much is taken out for length or for other reasons. A Christmas Carol is no different. In fact, if you watch all of the different movie versions available, you STILL would not get the complete book, even though each movie adds one thing or another from the original story that the others may not.
There are countless copies of this story available in various book form, but this particular version is probably one of the best that I have seen. The illustrations attempt in some part to keep in the same spirit as in Dickens' original. But the best, most interesting part of this version (besides the story itself) is all of the little facts, explanations, and trivia put into the margins throughout this book. They give the modern 21st century reader more of an understanding of what 19th century English life was like. A couple of examples: when Dickens writes of the Cratchit family taking their goose to the bakers to be cooked, I wondered why would any one take their food OUT to be cooked and then picked up later. This book explains that few poor people in this time period had ovens large enough to roast a good family sized bird. They were big enough to cook a small bit of meat and that was about it. In order to have one of those rare Holiday meals, they had to take it to the large baker's oven at an appointed time for cooking.
Another fact I did not know was that in the story, Scrooge's sister, Fan, was based on Dickens' actual sister in law, Mary Hogarth.
There are also a multitude of paintings, drawings, and sketches from Dickens' time showing his time. Now you can see, as accurately as one can considering there were no cameras, life of the rich, middle class, and poor as it actually was. There's a picture of Queen Victoria and her family celebrating Christmas. There is also a beautiful painting of a poor labourer's family Christmas celebration. There are sketches from the first edition of 'A Christmas Carol.'
If you plan on owning a copy of this most wonderful of all Christmas novels, this is the version to get.
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A Christmas Carol
A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens (Paperback - Jan. 12 2009)
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