Charles Dickens vs. 30 Readers

By Maryann Yin Comment

Thirty writers and actors joined a marathon reading of the classic holiday tale, A Christmas Carol at New York City’s Housing Works Bookstore Cafe before the holidays. In an article about the event, Bookish compared the reading to a similar reading staged by Charles Dickens in 1867. Editor’s note: We’ve added some commentary from Housing Works Books below.

A trailer for an animated adaptation is embedded above. Here’s more from  Bookish: “Dickens was greeted with eager fans who waited for tickets overnight in the cold, wrapped in blankets and huddled around bonfires to keep warm. The cops were called in for crowd control. On the first night of his New York tour, a sold-out audience of more than 2,000 literary socialites and powerful businessmen gathered in the grand Steinway Hall by Central Park. They cried, laughed, and interrupted with applause during Dickens’ reading.”

According to the article, only about “a half-dozen” of the attendees stayed for the entire 3-hour reading. Literary enthusiasts aren’t what they used to be in the 19th century. Bah, humbug!

Housing Works responded: “Only about “a half-dozen” of the attendees stayed for the entire 3-hour reading, but hundreds came and went throughout the event. It was never intended as a sit-down-and-shut-up reading, but a festive afternoon of eating, drinking, shopping, and visiting with family and friends. More reports and images can be seen here:……The comment concluded: “The only humbugging comes from the Bookish reporter, and from me to Galleycat for writing up one account as thought it were definitive without even a cursory Google search for additional points of view.”