For its November book club selection, the Orem Public Library Book Club will be reading A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens. We were thrilled when Mr. Dickens agreed to do an interview with us promoting this event for the blog.
OPL: Many people feel A Christmas Carol is inseparable from the Christmas season. Why do you think Christmas is “the most wonderful time of the year”?
CD: Happy, happy Christmas, that can win us back to the delusions of our childhood days, recall to the old man the pleasures of his youth, and transport the traveler back to his own fireside and quiet home!
OPL: Mr. Dickens, you are generally hailed as the greatest novelist of your age, and one of the finest writers of the English language. To what do you ascribe your success?
CD: Whatever I have tried to do in life, I have tried with all my heart to do it well; whatever I have devoted myself to, I have devoted myself completely; in great aims and in small I have always thoroughly been in earnest. I never could have done what I have done without the habits of punctuality, order, and diligence, without the determination to concentrate myself on one subject at a time.
However, I know I do not exaggerate, unconsciously and unintentionally, the scantiness of my resources and the difficulty of my life. . . . I know that, but for the mercy of God, I might easily have been, for any care that was taken of me, a little robber or a vagabond.
OPL: Social media and technology have changed the way people communicate. Many people fear traditional forms of language and communication will become obsolete. What do you think?
CD: Electric communication will never be a substitute for the face of someone who with their soul encourages another person to be brave and true.
OPL: Many people call writing an art, while others think of it as a trade, such as blacksmithing or carpentry. You have made quite the living from the craft of writing. What do you think? Is writing an art or a trade?
CD: The whole difference between construction and creation is exactly this: that a thing constructed can only be loved after it is constructed; but a thing created is loved before it exists. But it must be remembered that there are books of which the backs and covers are by far the best parts.
OPL: Do you have any other passions besides writing? What would you have done if your career as a writer had not developed as it had?
CD: Cows are my passion. What I have ever sighed for has been to retreat to a Swiss farm and live entirely surrounded by cows—and china.
Charles Dickens is the author of numerous English classics such as Great Expectations, A Tale of Two Cities, and Nicholas Nickleby. The Orem Library Book Club will be discussing his popular holiday tale, A Christmas Carol, on Wednesday, November 18, at 7:00 PM in the Book Discussion Room. To sign up, call Julie at 801-229-7379 or see a reference desk.