Cover detail of The Penguin Book of Christmas Stories edited by Jessica Harrison

The Penguin Book of Christmas Stories edited by Jessica Harrison

Welcome to Day 9 of #12booksofchristmas. In case you have missed any, below is the list of the ones so far

I'm going to head straight into this one, time is a bit short today and I'm stock full of cold. Bleurgh!

The Plot

This is a collection of the most magical, moving, chilling and surprising Christmas stories from around the world, taking us from frozen Nordic Woods to glittering Paris, a New York speakeasy to an English country house, bustling Lagos to midnight mass in Rio and even outer space.

Here are classic tales from writers including Truman Capote, Shirley Jackson, Dylan Thomas, Saki and Chekhov, as well as little-known treasures such as Italo Calvino's sideways look at Christmas consumerism, Wolf Dietrich Schurre's story of festive ingenuity in Berlin, Selmas Lagerlof's enchanted forest in Sweden and Irene Nemirovsky's dark, family portrait.

Featuring Santa's, Ghosts, Trolls, unexpected guests, curmudgeon and miracles, here is Christmas as imagined by some of the greatest short story writers of all time.

My Thoughts

I spotted this beautifully cloth bound edition of these stories on the shelves of my local Waterstones and it is beautiful. A linen feel with dark blue Christmas Trees. Even better are the delights within.

The books tarts with a classic Hans Christian Anderson story about a fir tree who seems unable to live in the moment and appreciate everything around him. From here we read a carefully selected selection of Christmas stories from around the world and they are a wonderful collection.

We see the magic of Christmas, families, nature, war, the commercialism and greed as well as good deeds to our fellow man. My favourites inclided the magical 'Christmas Eve' by Sophia de Mello Breyner Anderssen and the gentle 'The Prisoners' by Bienvenido Santos. There is something here for everyone.

Crime stands alongside fiction and fantasy, and children's tales. Even better, there is a brief potted history of each author at the back. A beautiful, captivating book.