December 4, 2014

A Merry Dickens Reading List

This post is based on a read-a-long hosted on BookTube (YouTube) by Samantha at Novels and Nonsense. Sam is an awesome BookTuber and posts fun book tags, reviews, and other book chat. You should go visit her! 

Image John Leech public domain
A 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)


  1. I loved The Cricket on The Hearth, a story I read for the first time last year. We become so familiar with The Christmas Carol that it's easy (for me) to forget about the others. Dickens always seems very Christmas-y to me.

    1. I think Dickens is Christmas-y too. I always get the urge for any Dickens this time of year. I tried to branch out a bit this year since I seem to keep reading the same ones repeatedly!