Tis the season for some festive book recommendations! As always, I encourage you to share your own recommendations in return, but without further ado, here are some books that are guaranteed to get you into the festive spirit in the run-up to the big day.
A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens
Most of us are familiar with the concept of Dickens’ classic tale, which sees miserable Scrooge learning the error of his ways with the help of the ghosts of Christmas past, present, and future. And whilst there are many well-known screen adaptations, I didn’t actually get round to picking up the original text until this time last year. Having not read any of his work for years, I was pleasantly surprised by how readable and evocative Dickens’ prose was, which made this a timeless and very worthwhile read.
The Nutcracker by E.T.A. Hoffmann
The ballet adaptation of The Nutcracker has become a staple of the festive season, but being another story that I finally read in its original form last year, I can heartily recommend it to those in search of something rich in festive charm and whimsy. Celebrating the magic of childhood imagination and dreams come true, it’s easy to understand why its appeal has endured for all these years.
Christmas Days by Jeanette Winterson
Christmas Days is a collection of twelve short stories interspersed with festive anecdotes and recipes that Winterson has accumulated over the years. Some of the stories have a fantastical, fairy tale edge, but they never lack real-world resonance. A varied mix, you can expect everything from quiet offerings about falling in love or dealing with grief, to spooky tales of ghosts and revenge, and even the nativity story from the perspective of the donkey that carried Mary. Winterson’s prose is very approachable, with moments of real beauty, and this certainly fuelled a desire to check out more of her work.
Another Night Before Christmas by Carol Ann Duffy
Duffy is the UK’s current Poet Laureate, and each year she releases a festive poem that has been illustrated by a different artist. I hope to build up a collection of these charming little hardbacks, and started with this delightful retelling of the similarly named classic. This version has a modern twist, and follows a young girl trying to find out once-and-for-all if Santa really exists. It’s a lovely, swift read, perfect for an afternoon by the fire with a cup of tea and a mince pie! As a fan of Rob Ryan’s paper cut-outs, I also loved the accompanying artwork in this particular edition.
The Christmasaurus by Tom Fletcher
A children’s novel fit for readers of any age, The Christmasaurus gave me all the warm, festive fuzzies. A bit bonkers, but full of heart, it’s a thrilling adventure with lovely messages about friendship, family, and believing in the seemingly impossible. It also has some good disability representation, with the protagonist being a wheelchair user. Fun and heartening, it taps into the inherent magic and nostalgia of the season, making us all feel like big kids again.
There we have it! What festive reads would you recommend?