So you can read my books

Monday, November 30, 2015


“No space of regret can make amends for one life's opportunity misused” 
- Charles Dickens, A Christmas Carol

1.)  Dickens went a little mad writing A CHRISTMAS CAROL.

As he wrote, Dickens wept and laughed and wept again and would often take long night walks through London, 

covering anywhere between 15 or 20 miles “when all sober folks had gone to bed”. 

When he completed the book, he “broke out”, as he himself described it, “like a madman”. 

2.)  Dickens stole the story -- from himself.

The story is loosely based on Gabriel Grubb, a character in The Story of the Goblins Who Stole a Sexton, 

which appeared in Dickens’ first published novel, The Pickwick Papers.

 In the story, a gravedigger determined not to make merry at Christmas, is kidnapped by goblins and convinced to change his ways.

3.) His novel was pirated ... and he sued, won, and ultimately lost.

 Two months after the publication of A Christmas Carol, Parley’s Illuminated Library pirated it. 

Dickens sued and won his case. 

The pirates, on the other hand, simply declared themselves bankrupt, 

leaving Dickens to pay £700 in costs, equal to £56,364 today. 

4.) Charles Dickens was the first "Pop" star author, later inspiring Mark Twain.

 In 1853, 10 years after its publication, 

Charles Dickens gave the first public performance in Birmingham’s town hall.

 He performed it in front of a rapturous crowd of 2,000, 

all working people from the town, and it lasted just under three hours. 

Before this time, no great author had performed their works in public and for profit, 

which many thought beneath Dickens’ calling as a writer and a gentleman. 

5.)  Dickens began with A Christmas Carol, and he ended with it.

  His last reading of the little book took place in London at St James’s Hall, on March 15, 1870. 

At the end of the performance, he told his audience: 

“From these garish lights, I vanish now for evermore, 

with a heartfelt, grateful, respectful, and affectionate farewell.” 

There was a stunned silence, broken by a tumult of cheering, hat-waving and the stamping of feet. 

With tears streaming down his face, Dickens raised his hands to his lips in an affectionate kiss 

and departed from the platform for ever.

 He died three months later, aged 58.


  1. I didn't know Charles Dickens died at that early age although for the times, it's not surprising. I've read several of his books in the past. I also didn't know what A Christmas Carol was based upon. Now I do, thanks for the information, Roland.

    1. I just thought due to the season, many of my friends might be interested in some little known facts about Dickens' book. I'm glad you liked the post. :-)

  2. I knew that Dickens strained his health with his public appearances, but not that A Christmas Carol was his last reading. Such a classic book, and such a giant of a writer--one of my favorite storytellers.

    1. Even so many years later, his prose, though a bit dated, still touches our hearts and imaginations, doesn't it? :-)

  3. Hi Roland ... I didn't know much of this - so it was a good read through ... and to think of wandering the streets of London only 150 years ago. Dickens taught us lots about Victorian life ... I hadn't realised he'd given so many readings - that's an interesting snippet - though I know he died soon afterwards.

    Fascinating and thanks for sharing - Hilary

    1. Dickens still makes Victorian London live for us with his timeless prose -- he and Shakespeare are prose treasures.

      I was afraid I would be singing to the choir when talking of a famous British writer! Have a lovely holiday week.

  4. Crappy deal about the guys who pirated his book.
    The first to perform his book? Interesting. Glad I don't have to do that though.

    1. Yes, sometimes the bad guys win. :-(

      Mark Twain took a page from Dickens playbook and toured with his letters from Hawaii and made a good living from the shows -- even if he wrote of the sterling reviews himself!

  5. Great stuff as always Roland. ;-D

    PS: with some book reviews I've seen, which are pitiful, at times, I think its a good thing for an Author to write His/Her own book review; let the others pick up from there....