Cosy Reads For Christmas Time
“Christmas won't be Christmas without any presents,” grumbles little Amy in Little Women. And Christmas wouldn’t be Christmas without revisiting the March sisters somehow (the 1994 film version with Winona Ryder and Susan Sarandon being a rare example of a truly successful literary adaptation). The definition of a comfort read - despite the inevitable weepy moments.
Tea and crumpets with Mr Tumnus, a single lamppost in a snowy wood, fur coats and the swish of a sleigh... The Lion, The Witch & The Wardrobe conjures up exactly the sort of wintery magic we want. Dust it off the shelf for a hit of nostalgia, gift it to a niece or nephew, or read it to a child yet to discover Narnia.
There’s something about dark winter nights, when we’re snuggled up inside, that makes us want to reach for a good old-fashioned ghost story. A gothic tale to give you goosebumps, what better choice than Hill’s atmospheric classic, The Woman in Black, which all begins with a family swapping spooky stories on Christmas Eve…
Twelve winter tales - some bittersweet, some funny, some magical - alongside twelve festive recipes; Christmas Days is a beautiful volume of short stories to dip in and out of between parties and present wrapping. It would make a thoughtful stocking gift for someone you love, too.
Four festive-set murder mysteries from the late, great crime writer. A classic whodunnit like The Mistletoe Murder hits the spot when we’re snuggled up on the sofa with the Quality Street tin. (Try Mystery In White by Joseph Jefferson Farjeon, too, if Christmassy crime thrillers are your thing).
While nothing will parallel her greatest novel, Pursuit Of Love, it’s impossible to read Nancy Mitford's Christmas Pudding and not feel uplifted by her sparkling writing. This tale of Bright Young Things in the shires for Christmas is a light-as-air, fizzy-as-prosecco comedy to read in the bath.
Want that Christmas feeling distilled and concentrated into one book? A Literary Christmas is a new anthology from the British Library bringing together all the best extracts, poems and short stories devoted to this time of year. From Austen to Bronte, Hardy to Pepys, it's the perfect present for those impossible-to-buy-for individuals, or the bookworms in your life.
We couldn’t leave out A Christmas Carol. As much as we love a singalong to A Muppet’s Christmas Carol, Dickens' source material - a novella that won’t take you more than evening - is one to keep on the shelf and reach for year after year. (This gilt-edged, illustrated edition is suitably special). Dickens invented the traditional Victorian Christmas after all; nothing beats his festive powers.