Christmas reading

I was given ‘A Christmas Carol’ as a present when I was ten. And I still have the very old paperback that only cost 35 cents.

As a writer, one of the hardest things is to know where and how to start your story. So I went back and had a look at this one by Charles Dickens which has lasted a good long time, a story that is still enjoyed today. The first line reads – Marley was dead, to begin with.

And that’s it. Simple, you would think. But, what if there was no comma in that sentence? What if it was changed around  – To begin with Marley was dead – ? Neither of those works.

Six words to begin the story that was described – on the back of this particular book – as “an impassioned plea to humanity for charity, mercy and tolerance.” This book was first published in 1843. The Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come is due another visit, I think.


A book with a similar message and also one of my favourites is ‘How the Grinch Stole Christmas!” It’s the wording near the end of the story that always made me well up…”the Grinch’s small heart grew three sizes that day…” And he charges back down into Whoville to return all the presents and the food he had taken during the night.

Powerful storytelling in both these stories with messages that have stood the test of time…and lessons to be remembered, not just at Christmas.

However you celebrate at this time of year, I would wish you and your loved ones a happy holiday…and some good books to read!

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