The (second) greatest story ever told

A Christmas CarolI only re-read one book every year (apart from the Bible). I have an audio version of A Christmas Carol and I listen to it every Christmas season without fail. It’s huge fun and it’s about repentance.  What more could you want?

It’s also interesting for two other reasons:

  1. It’s nearly perfect. For me A Christmas Carol is the textbook for popular storytelling. Everything opened up at the beginning is resolved at the end. Everything is vivid and passionate. The dramatic tension never stops, building like a symphony through scene after perfect scene to the final explosion and the shattering and remaking of Scrooge.
  2. It shows how a novelist can change culture. All of us in the West draw on this text when we think about Christmas. Dickens edited the world by scribbling stories. He’s a reminder of why people should write; in a story-dominated world, culture is jerked and pulled across the stage by the story-tellers. If you want Christmas to be about something other than snow and the wretched jingle of sleighbells-something like a gleeful, subversive transformation of an old sinner–write a book.

My novel Paradise isn’t about Christmas. But it is subversive and is supposed to be funny.  A recent Amazon review from someone who described herself as an “extremely liberal atheist” was kind enough to say “Truly excellent! … I can’t wait to read his next work.” Which was nice. Courtesy of internet bookshops, I’ve been able to make Paradise a free download. Happy Christmas.

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2 thoughts on “The (second) greatest story ever told”

  1. I like the idea of listening to A Christmas Carol in the run up to Christmas. Who is the publisher/reader on the version you listen to Glenn?
    We have a family tradition of watching “Muppets Christmas Carol” – not quite so cultured, but Michael Caine is a superb Scrooge (he plays it straight), and a cart load of singing vegetables in the opening song are not to be missed.

  2. Hi John,
    Librevox host no less than 8 versions, all public domain. I still have (most of) of a podcast that was done by Penguin books some years ago. The cartload of singing vegetables in a Muppett Christmas Carol sounds worth the entrance money though!

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