The Man Who Invented Christmas: How Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol Rescued His Career and Revived Our Holiday Spirits, by Les Standifold, is a wonderfully concise non-fiction about...well, the title says it all!
This is the first book I've complete for the Christmas Spirit Reading Challenge, hosted by my book blogger buddy, Michelle, and it was perfect, a 5-star book. I enjoy author bios and the scope of this was tight, focusing on the early 1840s when Dickens experienced the first setbacks after his meteoric rise to fame. Born in 1812, Dickens was only 31 when he wrote A Christmas Carol in 1843, but with four children and a fifth about to be born, saddled by debt, not all of which was his own doing but that of his spendthrift parents and brothers.
Standifold provides pertinent background info on Dickens' life to set the stage on which he conceived and wrote his Christmas ghost story as well as details on the publishing industry and the history of Christmas as both a religious and secular holiday. He also discusses the legacy of A Christmas Carol--of course, we all know that Scrooge is part of our vocabulary and there are countless movies and stage productions every year. It's a bit astounding to think that Scrooge, Marley, Bob Crachit, and Tiny Tim have been with us for almost 180.
... beginning with A Christmas Carol and culminating in David Copperfield, Dickens had finally dragged up the powerful demons of his past and wrestled them away...
I zipped through this lovely book in just a few days and enjoyed every minute. Now I'm eager to get our Christmas tree and bake some cookies and watch the TV version, starring Dan Stevens.