Book: The Man Who Invented Christmas: How Charles Dickens’s A Christmas Carol Rescued His Career and Revived Our Holiday Spirits // Author: Les Standiford // Publisher: Crown // 2008 // p. 256
Between wrapping gifts and stuffing my face with sugar cookies, I’ve been reading. For some reason—why, I’m asking myself now—I set up three book reviews for this month. Unfortunately none of them are the kind of books that get a person in the holiday mood, but I did come across this one last week at the Rocky Mountain News book critic holiday book frenzy: Les Standiford’s The Man Who Invented Christmas: How Charles Dickens’s A Christmas Carol Rescued His Career and Revived Our Holiday Spirits. I picked this book up as one within the limits of my gift allowance, and I’ve been thumbing through it on breaks from other projects. Most of us know the Christmas Carol story, but this book gives readers the story behind the story, and it’s quite inspiring. When Dickens wrote it in 1843, he was 32, and his career as a writer was on shaky grounds. Dickens had already written several successful books, but the three he wrote right before A Christmas Carol hadn’t been selling well. He had a family to support and wasn’t sure of his future. In a mere six weeks, Dickens reversed his fortune by writing the 30,000-word manuscript that became The Christmas Carol. This story has become a part of Christmas culture, influencing the ways we relate to the holiday as a time for giving and for sharing with family members. And—who can resist watching the Disney version when it comes on TV? In short, I recommend this book for literature lovers who want to dwell in the holiday spirit a little bit longer.