Tuesday, December 02, 2014

Christmas Reading List 2014

Image John Leech public domain

A Very Merry Dickens Reading List

A collection of ghost stories might seem an odd choice for a Christmas reading list, but Christmas has long been associated with ghosts and the Victorians were quite adept at the telling of ghost stories around the hearth on Christmas Eve. During this era, Dickens wrote quite a number of ghostly tales that were published thanks to the rise of the periodical press. His ghost stories are not particularly Christian, but are morality tales that give the reader (or hearer) a chance to reflect on life.

All of the stories on this reading list can be read online for free. They are a combination of short story and novellas that revolve around Christmas. They have in common a strong moral message and are by-and-large social commentary.

Image permission
Victorian Web
The Story of the Goblins Who Stole a Sexton
Goblins kidnap a surly, misanthropic grave-digger to teach him some valuable lessons. This is a story within a story and is better known as Chapter 29 of The Pickwick Papers. (Short Story)

The Chimes: A Goblin Story
A poor elderly "ticket-porter" learns that mankind is not naturally wicked, but instead strives for noble things unless crushed or repressed beyond bearing. Yep, more goblins. (Novella)

The Cricket on the Hearth
1848 ILN The Haunted Man
Image public domain
A mysterious elderly stranger, who isn't what he seems, comes to visit a carrier's family. A somewhat sentimental story depicting the happy Victorian home. This one has a guardian angel. (Novella)

Image John Leech public domain
The Haunted Man and the Ghost's Bargain
A story about the spirit of the holidays that addresses the themes of memory, forgiveness, and humility. Yes, there is a ghost. (Novella)

A Christmas Carol
Probably the most well-known of Dickens' Christmas stories. Scrooge has a heart as cold as winter but, just as spring follows winter, Scrooge warms to his fellow man - of course, not before some ghosts get a chance to visit. (Novella)

Terri Bogan is Reference & Instruction Librarian at Hope International University. She is passionate about helping students navigate the ever expanding world of information. She specializes in the area of information literacy and instructional design.

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