By Angie Georgeff
After writing last week’s library column about “A Christmas Carol,” I managed to watch the 1910 film adaptation. Since I enjoy history and silent movies, I considered it 11 minutes well spent.
The special effects were impressive for 1910, but compressing the entire novella onto a single reel of celluloid made it something of a CliffsNotes version of the book. Instead of four ghosts, Scrooge was visited only by Marley and a single spirit of Christmas who showed him the past, present and future.
Their efforts, however, yielded the same result, with Ebenezer making Christmas merry for his nephew Fred, the Cratchits, the poor of London and – for the first time in decades – himself.
We recently received the first installment of our biggest large print order of the entire year. Among the fiction is “Mr. Dickens and His Carol” by Samantha Silva. As his wife labors to give birth to their sixth child, Dickens is informed by his publishers that “Martin Chuzzlewit” is not selling well. Charles thinks is some of his finest work, but most Americans don’t like it, and even his own countrymen are not fans. The news is more than just a disappointment: with so many mouths dependent on brisk sales, it portends financial ruin.
It is December, so the publishers suggest a holiday tale, perhaps with a ghost. That notion should appeal to the buying public and it wouldn’t need to be very long. Dickens should be able to crank it out in no time flat. He resists the idea, but he really has no choice. Deeply absorbed in the serialization of “Martin Chuzzlewit,” Charles suddenly has to change gears and concoct a Christmas ghost story. But where in Victorian London can he find the inspiration he requires for such a yarn?
If historical fiction is not your cup of tea, we also received some other large print “winter’s tales.” In Isabel Allende’s “In the Midst of Winter,” a minor traffic accident on an icy Brooklyn street exposes a body in the trunk of one car. A pair of NYU professors come together to help the illegal immigrant who borrowed the car without her boss’s permission. Diana Palmer’s romance “Wyoming Winter” and Rhys Bowen’s mystery “The Ghost of Christmas Past” are other seasonable selections.
Because Christmas Eve falls on Sunday this year, we will be closed on Monday and Tuesday, Dec. 25 and 26. Weather permitting, we will be open during our regular hours of 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 23. If you can’t wait to return a book, our drop boxes are always available. They are located in front of the library in Erwin and at Town Hall in Unicoi. We wish you all a very Merry Christmas!