Thursday, 20 December 2012

A Reflection: A Christmas Carol

Let's face it -- how many times have we heard, watched or listened to this story. Some may say one to many; however how many of us have actually sat down a read the original A Christmas Carol?  My guess is not enough. I am incredibly impressed by Soulpeppers' Word Festival which included  Miriam Margolyes  performing her  award winning Dickens' Women, a holiday production of A Christmas Carol and a marathon reading of some of Dickens’ best work—all in honor of his 200th birthday. Although I was unable to attend, the mere fact that we had a theatre celebrating a writer who wrote some timeless classics is a wonderful thing, especially when it is thought that reading is a dying art.

Is reading a dying art? I am not sure that I have the answer to that question (because I usually have the answers to all questions I ask :P ). One would argue that even in 1840’s when Dickens wrote this story many people couldn't read, however those who could read were reading a lot more (maybe?). Now a good number of people are literate but they don't read nearly as much as we used to. Perhaps this balances itself out. Yet, I see a lot of people riding the subway reading a novel or from their Kobo (or whatever other device that we own). I believe that reading from a book will, in fact, be dying out. Sure, this is incredibly sad for us "traditional book lovers" who love the smell of both very old or a bran-spankin’-new books that we just can't wait to dig into. The feel of the book in our hands as we can visually see how close to the end we are getting influencing us to read faster or slower depending on how we cling to characters. I hope that reading is not a dying art as “people” are saying, much like I hope that theatre is not a dying art (as I think that they are linked very closely). But alas, perhaps I am just a romantic -- the kind who clings to each character and laughs aloud on the subway or tears up on the couch devouring every word of a novel.

As for Dickens, I very much enjoyed reading this story which I know so well. To hear his words the way he wrote them and his own voice popping up now and then throughout the narrative. If you have not yet had the privilege, listen to Miriam Margolyes  interview with Jian Ghomeshi on Q, you should take the time to listen, as it is very entertaining and unveils a woman who has a great relationship with Dickens. (Although I am not fully sure how one can support reading so much but then admit that she never read any of the Harry Potter novels even though she played Professor Sprout in the movies). She describes Dickens as a mischievous writer who has a great voice that can be spotted in the characters he creates. From this, I like to think that I am getting to know Dickens one novel at a time, and although Great Expectations was not my favorite, I loved A Christmas Carol and cannot wait to sink my teeth into A Tale of Two Cities.

This story is a must read and I think almost everyone (except the unchanged Scrooge) would enjoy it. Yes, it does take place on Christmas Eve and I realize that not everyone celebrates this holiday -- but the lesson that it teaches the joy it brings and the smile on the readers face as they recognize and love the characters should not be overlooked. It is a quaint lovely story and would make an amazing Christmas gift for any young reader (if you are still looking)!

Up Next (most likely): Madame Bovary

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