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Round the Christmas Fire: Festive Stories

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Oh the weather outside is frightful, so draw up a chair to the fire (an electric heater will do), get the chestnuts roasting, and conjure some festive feeling with the help of this seasonal selection. On Christmas Eve it is traditional to scare yourself witless with ghost stories - classics from Edith Wharton and M.R. James should get you started. Diary entries both real and Oh the weather outside is frightful, so draw up a chair to the fire (an electric heater will do), get the chestnuts roasting, and conjure some festive feeling with the help of this seasonal selection. On Christmas Eve it is traditional to scare yourself witless with ghost stories - classics from Edith Wharton and M.R. James should get you started. Diary entries both real and imagined reveal innocent Christmases past, while tales from P.G. Wodehouse and Damon Runyon show the singular workings of the yuletide spirit. Go carolling with Laurie Lee and the animals of The Wind in the Willows, meet some unruly relations courtesy of Stella Gibbons and Nancy Mitford, feast on Christmas geese and puddings zestfully imagined by Dickens and Edith Nesbit, while O. Henry and John Cheever ruminate on the nature of gift-giving. As the fire is slowly dying, bittersweet and comical Christmas memories from Truman Capote and Dylan Thomas draw your seasonal reading to a close.


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Oh the weather outside is frightful, so draw up a chair to the fire (an electric heater will do), get the chestnuts roasting, and conjure some festive feeling with the help of this seasonal selection. On Christmas Eve it is traditional to scare yourself witless with ghost stories - classics from Edith Wharton and M.R. James should get you started. Diary entries both real and Oh the weather outside is frightful, so draw up a chair to the fire (an electric heater will do), get the chestnuts roasting, and conjure some festive feeling with the help of this seasonal selection. On Christmas Eve it is traditional to scare yourself witless with ghost stories - classics from Edith Wharton and M.R. James should get you started. Diary entries both real and imagined reveal innocent Christmases past, while tales from P.G. Wodehouse and Damon Runyon show the singular workings of the yuletide spirit. Go carolling with Laurie Lee and the animals of The Wind in the Willows, meet some unruly relations courtesy of Stella Gibbons and Nancy Mitford, feast on Christmas geese and puddings zestfully imagined by Dickens and Edith Nesbit, while O. Henry and John Cheever ruminate on the nature of gift-giving. As the fire is slowly dying, bittersweet and comical Christmas memories from Truman Capote and Dylan Thomas draw your seasonal reading to a close.

30 review for Round the Christmas Fire: Festive Stories

  1. 4 out of 5

    Noelia Alonso

    OVERALL RATING: 2.5 STARS The rating for each story (those in bold were my favourites): 'Oh, whistle and I'll come to you, my lad' by M. R. James -> 2 stars. 'Afterward' by Edith Wharton —> 2.5 stars. 'Jeeves and the Yule-Tide Spirit' by P. G. Wodehouse —> 3.5 stars. 'Dancing Dan's Christmas' by Damon Runyon —> 1 star. 'Morning Most Brilliant' from the Diary of Rev Francis Kilvert -> 2 stars. 'A Nice Boy' by George & Weedon Grossmith -> 2 stars. 'I Don't Know What's Happened to Christmas Lately' by Sue OVERALL RATING: 2.5 STARS The rating for each story (those in bold were my favourites): 'Oh, whistle and I'll come to you, my lad' by M. R. James -> 2 stars. 'Afterward' by Edith Wharton —> 2.5 stars. 'Jeeves and the Yule-Tide Spirit' by P. G. Wodehouse —> 3.5 stars. 'Dancing Dan's Christmas' by Damon Runyon —> 1 star. 'Morning Most Brilliant' from the Diary of Rev Francis Kilvert -> 2 stars. 'A Nice Boy' by George & Weedon Grossmith -> 2 stars. 'I Don't Know What's Happened to Christmas Lately' by Sue Townsend -> 2 stars. 'Carol Barking' by Laurie Lee —> 2.5 stars. 'Dulce Domun' by Kenneth Grahame —> 2.5 stars. 'Lady Bobbin's Christmas Day' by Nancy Mitford —> 2.5 stars. 'Christmas at Cold Comfort Farm' by Stella Gibbons —> 1.5 stars. 'Christmas is a Sad Season for the Poor' by John Cheever -> 2.5 stars. 'The Gift of the Magi' by O. Henry -> 3 stars. 'There Never Was Such a Goose' by Charles Dickens -> 3 stars. 'A Conscience Pudding' by E. Nesbit -> 2 stars. 'A Child's Christmas in Wales' by Dylan Thomas -> 3 stars. 'A Christmas Memory' by Truman Capote -> 3.5 stars.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Maureen

    A strong collection of stories from all sorts of top-notch writers, including Truman Capote, M. R. James, Edith Wharton, John Cheever and Nancy Mitford. I'm only giving it three stars rather than four because they're so top-notch I'd read quite a few of the stories already. The Truman Capote one was particularly lovely and made me cry a festive tear (on my way home from work. in January.).

  3. 5 out of 5

    Katie

    I really enjoyed almost every single story in this book. Every story is written by well-known authors from classics. The, sometimes even old fashioned, writing style really fits Christmas stories, in my opinion.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Rikke

    What a treasure.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Selah Pike

    A rare short story collection where I enjoyed every single story! Christmas is a Sad Season for the Poor by John Cheever was my favorite.

  6. 5 out of 5

    mpdg

    niecodzienna lektura. większość opowiadań zupełnie do mnie nie trafiła - nie były śmieszne, zaskakujące ani straszne. w większości chodziło jedynie o klimat. kilka też było tak wyranych z kontekstu, że nie bardzo mogłam się w nie wczuć. wybór autorów trochę dziwaczny - jak dla mnie to nieznane, stare dzieła o których nigdy nie słyszałam (oprócz jedynie Dickensa i Adriana Mola - który nie mam pojęcia co robił pośród tej klasycznej mieszanki). wydanie zaś jest absolutnie przepiękne - idealny preze niecodzienna lektura. większość opowiadań zupełnie do mnie nie trafiła - nie były śmieszne, zaskakujące ani straszne. w większości chodziło jedynie o klimat. kilka też było tak wyranych z kontekstu, że nie bardzo mogłam się w nie wczuć. wybór autorów trochę dziwaczny - jak dla mnie to nieznane, stare dzieła o których nigdy nie słyszałam (oprócz jedynie Dickensa i Adriana Mola - który nie mam pojęcia co robił pośród tej klasycznej mieszanki). wydanie zaś jest absolutnie przepiękne - idealny prezent na święta.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Wilson

    A wonderful, diverse collection of short stories and extracts celebrating Christmas. The collection has a bittersweet edge, with the finest story in the collection A Christmas Memory by Truman Capote, almost certain to make you cry. While John Cheever adds his own sense of Christmas misery; leavened by the glorious humour of PG Wodehouse. The collection, bringing Charles Dickens, Nancy Mitford, Laurie Lee together, ends up being celebration of a tradition, of meals and families, even of the mise A wonderful, diverse collection of short stories and extracts celebrating Christmas. The collection has a bittersweet edge, with the finest story in the collection A Christmas Memory by Truman Capote, almost certain to make you cry. While John Cheever adds his own sense of Christmas misery; leavened by the glorious humour of PG Wodehouse. The collection, bringing Charles Dickens, Nancy Mitford, Laurie Lee together, ends up being celebration of a tradition, of meals and families, even of the miseries of Christmas. Quietly wonderful.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Elizabeth

    A lovely collection of Christmases past. Vintage produced a thoughtfully curated sampling of stories, from classics like an excerpt of Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol and the Gift of the Magi by O. Henry to lesser known diary entries and ghost stories. Dancing Dan's Christmas had me laughing out loud. This book was a calm respite that brought other worlds and families into my celebration this year. Recommended for short story and compilations enthusiasts, and for anyone who loves Christmas!

  9. 5 out of 5

    Hannah

    This was a Christmas present. It was a very enjoyable read over the Christmas holidays - a few old favourites like M.R. James'"Oh Whistle and I'll Come to you my Lad" (still scares the living daylights out of me!) and Laurie Lee's recounting of carol singing from "Cider with Rosie" really got me in the Christmas spirit. There were a few laughs too, courtesy of P.G. Wodehouse and Dylan Thomas' " A Child's Christmas" was wonderful. Great Christmas fare!

  10. 4 out of 5

    KristenRose

    This book is full of beautifully written festive stories. Some stories I preferred more than others but they are all worth reading. I kept a dictionary on hand as I came across a few older/unusual words- it is also a good book to read if you wish to expand your vocabulary. I recommend reading this collection of stories sometime leading up to Christmas.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Heather

    What a wonderful book of festive stories. Personal favourites were Dylan Thomas, Nancy Mitford and P.G Wodehouse but there wasn't a bad story in the whole collection. Perfect read for the Christmas season

  12. 4 out of 5

    Hanieh

    fun and entertaining

  13. 4 out of 5

    Evelien

    Brings into a christmas mood within an instan! Not to be read during summertime!

  14. 4 out of 5

    Gemma

    Really enjoyed about 75% of the stories. The remaining 25% weren't my cup of tea. Overall a very enjpyable collection of short stories to read at Christmas.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Ellen

    Liked more than I disliked! My favourites were the O Henry (which I had not read before though I knew the story and I am not sure how!) and the Truman Capote, which made me cry.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Pearl

    That was just the most heartwarming, and amazingly christmassy thing I have ever read…EVER!!

  17. 5 out of 5

    Cecilia

    A very enjoyable read during christmas time, I liked most of the stories very much. I'm looking forward to reading the whole of The Diary of a Nobody and some more P. G. Wodehouse soon!

  18. 4 out of 5

    Lee

    I really enjoyed a few of the stories, but a number were a bit of a drudge.

  19. 5 out of 5

    lauren

    This is another collection of short festive stories by Vintage Classics - they also did one, Dickens at Christmas, which I read last year. It started off really strong - I was enjoying most, if not all, the stories included. I found the writing engaging, interesting and I was eager to read more by the authors. However, towards the end, my interest started to falter. I found the stories difficult to read I don't know whether this was because I got a bad headache half way through and found it diffi This is another collection of short festive stories by Vintage Classics - they also did one, Dickens at Christmas, which I read last year. It started off really strong - I was enjoying most, if not all, the stories included. I found the writing engaging, interesting and I was eager to read more by the authors. However, towards the end, my interest started to falter. I found the stories difficult to read I don't know whether this was because I got a bad headache half way through and found it difficult to concentrate, or whether I actually starting losing interest, but either way I started skipping stories. I haven't really come away feeling festive either, to be honest, which is the sole reason I bought this book (it cost me near £18 as well because it's out of print - that was the cheapest I could find it secondhand). Oh well, glad I read it nonetheless AND I read it all in one day (I mean, I skipped two because I had already read them before and I DNF'd another two but still, all in one day)!

  20. 5 out of 5

    Tisha (IG: Bluestocking629)

    Wow. I love Christmas. I almost love short stories. I however did not love this book. Three stars was actually generous. See, I’m no Scrooge!

  21. 4 out of 5

    Lotte

    Great collection of holiday stories!

  22. 5 out of 5

    Natalie

  23. 5 out of 5

    Rebecca Shipley

  24. 4 out of 5

    Arpita (BagfullofBooks)

  25. 5 out of 5

    Manik Sukoco

  26. 4 out of 5

    Paris Larson

  27. 5 out of 5

    Gina

  28. 5 out of 5

    victoria miller

  29. 5 out of 5

    Malene Nielsen

  30. 4 out of 5

    Anne Meike Tolsma

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