I resolved to read 50 books this year. I also resolved to blog more, so I’ll be writing 50 posts this year about the 50 books I’ve read. They’re not going to be reviews or critiques necessarily, but more my thoughts and ideas while and after reading the book. If you want to call it a review, fine.
I figured I’d start the year with a classic, A Christmas Carol, by Charles Dickens. If you don’t know the story, you’ve probably been living under a rock for the past 170 years. So welcome to the world, (what are you doing on the internet?) and here’s a plot summary: Ebenezer Scrooge is a miserly old man who loves money more than people. And by that I mean that he loves money more than he loves most people, and that he loves money more than most people love money.
Scrooge hates Christmas. He’s like the successful version of the Grinch, because he annually steals Christmas from those around him and refuses to give it back; his heart arguably shrinks three sizes each year.
That is until the ghosts of Christmas Past, Present and Future visit him shortly before Christmas to show him how happy everyone else is with Christmas (with or without money), how much everyone hates him, and how they can’t wait for him to die so they can go steal his stuff and then dispose of the old miser. Seeing the happiness of others actually softens the stony heart of the humbugger and he decides to change his ways in order to avoid the cold and lonely fate of the possible future, happily wishing a Merry Christmas to all on Christmas morning.
This book was an excellent quick read. It gave me a great outlook on the new year. If I can behave during the year like Scrooge did during this Christmas, I’m sure I’ll be a happier guy surrounded by happier friends. I think the pivotal moment for me as I read the book was near the end when the Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come shows Scrooge to his own grave. Scrooge panics and begs the ghost for mercy or a way to avoid ending up cold, dead, and alone. Like always, the Ghost remains silent and steadfast in his “pointed” warnings. Scrooge asks the ghost one important question: “Are these shadows of the things that Will be, or are they shadows of things that May be, only?” Scrooge’s great moment of clarity comes as he realizes: “Men’s courses will foreshadow certain ends, to which, if preserved in, they must lead. But if the courses be departed from, the ends will change.”
It’s almost like a work of science fiction. Scrooge got to travel to the future and see his fate, so that now he can stay in his own time and place and decide the end that he may work towards.
There’s a bunch of emotional and inspirational goodness that can be drawn from this (but that’s only if you don’t agree with the Novikov Self-Consistency principle).
I recommend the book. It’s short and easy read, Dickens is a phenomenal writer, and I feel like a better person for having read it.