"So may the New year be a happy one to you, happy to many more whose happiness depends on you! So may each year be happier than the last, and not the meanest of our brethren or sisterhood debarred their rightful share in what our Creator formed for them to enjoy."
In Crisis magazine, Edward Mordrake argues convincingly that "There is perhaps no better tale to ring an old year out and a new year in than Charles Dickens’ goblin story, The Chimes," and that "This book rings out a tremendous moral for all who live surrounded by suffering." Read more here.
Joseph Bottum, author of what's probably my all-time favorite essay about Dickens, has written a delightful little Christmas tale in which he uses the names of many characters from Dickens's Christmas stories, such as Toby Veck (The Chimes), May Fielding (The Cricket on the Hearth), and Clemency Newcome (The Battle of Life). Bottum's Wise Guy is available on Amazon as a 99-cent e-book.
Troops and their families got to see a performance of A Christmas Carol at Chicago's Goodman Theatre for free in December, when the theater donated 500 tickets.
Historians fighting to save a workhouse in London have produced evidence that it was the basis for the depiction of the workhouse in Oliver Twist. (One wonders if Dickens would have been quite so eager to save it.)
The Riverside Dickens Festival in Riverside, California, begins January 21 with "Mr. Pickwick's Pub Night Dinner Theater." The Festival's featured book this year is Barnaby Rudge. Info is here and here.
A new Christmas opera called "God Bless Us Everyone," set to music by Thomas Pasatieri, premieres at the Dicapo Opera Theatre in New York in December. According to the description at Dicapo's site, "Scrooge has just died and everyone is two decades older. Tiny Tim has moved from England to the New World, and as so many immigrants, has served as a British mercenary in the Union Army during the American Civil War. . . . Be prepared for some surprises." I should say so!
Tickets are on sale for the 31st annual Great Dickens Christmas Fair in San Francisco. Information is available here and here.
And today Hereafteropens nationwide, so this evening I'm off for a nice game of Spot the Dickens References. Hopefully I'll do a little better than Matt Damon, who doesn't remember which audiobook his character listened to in the film. (He did "really like the Charles Dickens stuff," though, so we'll give him a point for that -- unlike his interviewer, who thought Mr. Micawber was in The Pickwick Papers.) I'll report back today or tomorrow. If you see it and want to share your thoughts, feel free to use the comment section!
I'm not an Anne Rice fan, but I do like this quote from her Facebook page that a friend sent to me: "This magnificent novel, Great Expectations, by Charles Dickens, taught me how to write, and taught me to want to write. This is one of the first novels I ever read, and I go back to it almost every year. There are many editions for sale. If you haven't read this, by all means do."