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A Literary Christmas: An Anthology

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3.85  ·  Rating details ·  475 ratings  ·  90 reviews
"If then, there is to be a festival, why should it not be the festival of Christmas?" asked Arnold Bennett. For as long as Christmas has been celebrated, poets and writers have sought to explore every aspect of it, whether the story of the nativity, or the festive traditions that have grown up over the centuries. A Literary Christmas is a seasonal compendium that collects ...more
Hardcover, 160 pages
Published October 15th 2013 by British Library
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Average rating 3.85  · 
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 ·  475 ratings  ·  90 reviews


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Barbara
A delightful collection. My favorite was the story from Orkney. I would have liked to have more "local" and traditional tales in the collection. Nevertheless, as a free gift from Audible, it fit the bill for an enjoyable holiday listen.
Tony
Dec 05, 2019 rated it liked it
Ring out the tales which warm our souls
to divert us from opinion polls
and lead us gently t’ward yuletide
where joy is greatly multiplied

But what is this we find within
among the tales, to my chagrin
too much of rhyme and not of reason
a cloud upon this festive season.
Whitney
Dec 25, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A Literary Christmas is going on my list of annual reads. I love the carefully selected group of poems, short stories, and essays in this gorgeously designed book. They range from medieval to modern, secular to sacred, accompanied by beautiful artwork. It's an anthology one could easily complete over the Advent season, and varied enough to be read year after year. I'm so glad I was able to find a copy to add to our Christmas collection.
Asheley
At 2 hours, 17 minutes: this is a great audio listen for the busy holiday time, or any time honestly. I listened today to fill in the gaps when I was baking and also while doing a few other things between family holiday obligations at this place and that place. The short holiday-themed poetry selections mixed with prose excerpts made it easy to listen for a little while, then stop...listen, then stop...repeat. Favorites of mine include submissions from Charles Dickens, Emily Bronte, Louisa May A ...more
Sophie Crane
I was thrilled when I saw this book in our local bookshop and promptly bought it and then another
and have since bought several copies as gifts from Amazon. I have always wanted a good anthology
of Christmas Stories and Poems and this attractive book offered exactly that and from a wealth of
writers and poets. Here are all the usual suspects from Charles Dickens to P.G. Wodehouse but also
Jane Austen to Benjamin Zephaniah. And yet the majority of the writings are refreshing discoveries
for me.

'A Lite
...more
Callum McLaughlin
This was a wonderful little treasure trove of festive writings, perfect for getting into the Christmas spirit in the build up to the big day. I liked that there's a mix of both prose and poetry, and it's nicely structured, being split into different sections (Before Christmas, The Nativity, Christmas Day, Christmas Fare, Christmas at War, A Child's Christmas, Seasonal Snow and Ice, and New Year).

As with any anthology, there were of course some writing styles featured that I enjoyed more than oth
...more
Sue K H
Dec 22, 2018 rated it really liked it
Lots of gems in here
Lori
Dec 31, 2016 rated it it was amazing
A wonderful collection of short Christmas prose and poetry from classic authors including Dickens, Longfellow, Hardy, Alcott and Austen to name a few. Excellent short snippets making it a perfect easy read for delightful listening while prepping during Christmas time. Brilliantly narrated by Juliet Stevenson and Simon Callow. Highly recommended.
Kristy Miller
A collection of poetry and snippets of prose related to the holidays. A short, delightful collection read by favorites Juliet Stevenson and Simon Callow. My only complaint is that the pauses between pieces was almost non-existent, and it felt rushed.
Emmkay
Dec 25, 2018 rated it liked it
It was very pleasant to dip in and out of this collection of classic poems, short stories, and excerpts from longer works, all round the themes of Christmas, winter weather, and New Year's. Some very familiar ones but also some surprises. I especially liked the excerpt from John Evelyn's diary of the 1684 freezing of the Thames - very evocative.
Julie Davis
Dec 22, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A quite enjoyable collection of excerpts and poems celebrating Christmas. They were perfect for getting into a Christmas frame of mind, except for the last section which was entitled Cold Weather. That bit seemed to me to be added to pad it out some.
Sharyn L.
Easier to listen to at a slower speed.
Hope
Dec 16, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: classics
At just over two hours, this is a lovely way for book lovers to get in the mood for the Christmas season. Intermingled with devout poetry such as Rosetti's "In the Bleak Midwinter" and Donne's "Nativity" are readings from classics such as Little Women, Emma, and A Christmas Carol. It was delightful to hear favorite passages and to be introduced to new ones. (Who actually remembers that there is a Christmas passage in Wuthering Heights?)

By only complaint is that the reading near the end from Emma
...more
Laurel Hicks
Snippets of Christmas by Dickens, Austen, Alcott, etc. An excellent selection.
Dosha (Bluestocking7) Beard
Great collection of seasonal stories by the great authors of old times gone by.

Deb
I think this audiobook was a gift last year from #Audible-or it was an inexpensive daily deal. I've been listening to it while #audiosouping 🍲🥄as most of my current audiobooks didn't fit my mood today. Juliet Stevenson & Simon Callow do a delightful job narrating this seasonal anthology of the holiday 'bits' from different pieces of famous works. A fun compilation and a nice, quick holiday treat. ...more
LaRae
Jan 05, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book wasn’t *exactly* perfect, but I simply adored it. I loved the selections, the short stories, and the poetry. I loved how it was sectioned off into Before Christmas, The Nativity, Christmas Day, Christmas Fare, Christmas at War, a Child’s Christmas, Seasonal Snow and Ice, and New Year. I thought the artwork was beautiful, and the cover was simply gorgeous (which matters to me).

I had gotten this from the library, but I enjoyed it so much I purchased it for our Christmas collection.
Alina Maria Ciobanu
Dec 09, 2017 rated it it was amazing
A wonderful collection of Christmas literature, comprising fragments of prose and poetry from great British and American writers.
Sofie Schurmans
Great way to rediscover some classics but overall I found some stories not quite festive enough!
Heather
Dec 27, 2018 rated it it was ok
Shelves: audibook
I enjoyed the selection of stories and poems but I don’t think the audiobook was the best way of reading this book. I’ve ordered he hardback for next year and I am sure I will read this agai.
Mylesgorton
Dec 31, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A good anthology of Festive writing that goes beyond the usual A Christmas Carol (although that is in there). It presents writings on different aspects of the season - before Christmas, the nativity, Christmas Day, food, Christmas at war, child's Christmas, seasonal weather and New Year. A personal favourite from the book is a section from 'Christmas Pudding' by Nancy Mitford which I liked so much more wife bought me her complete novels for Christmas and I am now reading Christmas Pudding in ful ...more
Julie
Dec 13, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It's that time of year when I read light fare for the holidays, and books and stories that feature Christmas themes.
This compilation has been bouncing around in my library for a while now, but this year it just felt like the right time to listen to the contents.

This is full of snippets of books and stories from classic British literature. It felt as if I were revisiting old friends and peeking in at their holiday celebrations. I had expected Dickens and Thomas. I was pleasantly surprised to vis
...more
Lihsa
Dec 28, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I received this book last Christmas as a gift from Audible and have thoroughly enjoyed it.

I picked it up again this year at the end of the Christmas season as I realized I had not finished it and I was wrapping up my Goodreads Reading Challenge and wanted it “on the books”.

This is an anthology collection of poems, essays and excerpts from well-known literature, such as Dickens, Alcott, Wordsworth and Austen, that depict the Christmas Season.

The narration is excellent. Both readers have quite the
...more
Lucy (LucyinBooktopia)
Jan 02, 2020 rated it really liked it
A Literary Christmas: An Anthology
by The British Library
This was a wonderful little collection of Christmas spirit. Filled with short stories, poems and excerpts from novels, it gave me what it promised.
It put me in the Christmas spirit.
As it is an anthology, I did of course like some writings better than others, but all in all I enjoyed this book and if you are looking for some holiday spirit, then I would recommend for you to check it out.
I read it from the days after Christmas, the 25th o
...more
Tisha (IG: Bluestocking629)
What a fantastic idea for a book. Christmas excerpts from classics. Some of these books I have read before however I did not mind hearing these passages again. It is the season after all.

My only problem was that I listened to it via Audible instead of reading it. I had trouble with the male narrator with the thick accent. The woman spoke clearly and succinctly however.

The other problem with listening was that I listened in the car. I was unable to jot down any books that sounded interesting.

I d
...more
Rebecca
Dec 16, 2017 rated it liked it
This was an interesting collection of poems and novel and diary excerpts all about Christmas. Some of them seemed like slightly odd choices, but it was a fun mix.

Narration note - I enjoyed the two narrators, but the recording is set up so that the next selection starts the absolute second the last one ends. There is barely a breath (and I'm not exaggerating). There were a number of times I couldn't follow the beginning of a selection because I was trying to process the transition.
Neeraja Sankaran
I just finished listening to this anthology last night, and think I might have to "rent" it every December or at least many Decembers and have a good listen. It is a delightful collection, made all the more so by the beautiful renditions from the readers. I may have to make good on my long-held plans (since grade school) to actually read Dickens's Pickwick Papers and perhaps an Audible version might be just the ticket!
Natalie
Jan 12, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: book-nerd-books
This book was fine. I had higher hopes than actually panned out. It is really just snippets from other books, mostly classics, some that I had never even heard of, that dealt with Christmas, winter, snow, or food. Several did make me laugh and I was inspired to pick up a couple of new books. So I guess it was good in the end.
Pat
Jan 16, 2017 rated it liked it
I forgot I had listened to this short anthology of poetry and clips about Christmas from such writers as Alcott, Wadsworth, Dickens, George Eliot, Jane Austen, Wooehouse, etc. A lover of classic literature will so enjoy hearing this read during the holidays. Classic Christmas poetry plus clips beautiful English lit.
Martha
Nov 14, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I enjoyed listening to these holiday vignettes or excerpts from many good classics. Some of the voices were fabulous and I will need to go back to listen to titles. I would really like to identify who read which sharings. It would be nice if there was a pdf file noting the narrator and title for each piece.
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