Top Christmas books for all ages

Reblogged from BookLikes:

 

#1. Clive Staples Lewis

The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe

In the never-ending war between good and evil, The Chronicles of Narnia set the stage for battles of epic proportions. Some take place in vast fields, where the forces of light and darkness clash. But other battles occur within the small chambers of the heart and are equally decisive.

Review on Booklikes:

I cannot explain my reading preferences or my childhood as a whole without including this book. I can't tell you when my first reading of this book took place, as I cannot remember a time when I didn't know the four Pevensies, that 'once a king or queen in Narnia...always a king or queen of Narnia', and the 'not safe, but good' Aslan. I must have read this book at least three dozen times, listened to the radio drama multiple times, and watched BBC's mini-series of this so much I can hear the actors' voice and diction of nearly every line of the book. This book is woven intricately into my life.

#2. Charles Dickens

A Christmas Carol

It is the twenty-fourth of December. Mean old Ebenezer Scrooge sits in his freezing cold office shouting 'Bah! Humbug!' at anyone who dares wish him a Merry Christmas. But that night the miser has a terrifying visitor. Marley, his dead business partner who must wander the earth for ever to pay for his sins, comes with a warning. Scrooge will be haunted by three more spirits. The ghosts of Christmas past, present and future arrive to show Scrooge the hardship he has caused...

Review on Booklikes:

My first experience with Dickens and it was very pleasurable. A Christmas Carol is very short, but how much it packs in! I think this is a story that we all think we know, having seen TV versions, theatrical productions and even advertising based on it [very ironic, yes?]. Scrooge has become synonymous with grasping selfishness and we forget that he undergoes a significant transformation during the course of the story.

#3. O. Henry

The Gift of the Magi

In a shabby New York flat, Della sobs as she counts the few coins she has saved to buy a Christmas present for her husband, Jim. A gift worthy of her devotion will require a great sacrifice: selling her long, beautiful hair. Jim, meanwhile, has made a sacrifice for Della that is no less difficult. As they exchange gifts on Christmas Eve, the discovery of what each has done fills them with despair, until they realize that the true gifts of Christmas can be found more readily in their humble apartment than in any fine store. O. Henry paints a masterly portrait of unfaltering love, a haven from the harsh world outside. The poignancy of his story is captured in P.J. Lynch's eloquent art, wherein every glance, every gesture, tells a subtle truth.

Review on Booklikes:

A really inspirational Christmas story with a moral to keep in your heart all year through.

#4. Ernst Theodor Amadeus Hoffmann

The Nutcracker and the Mouse King

The Nutcracker is a Christmas story about a little girl named Maria and her wooden doll, the Nutcracker, who became alive to fight the evil seven-headed Mouse King. This edition includes 20 illustrations by Artus Scheiner and Ludwig Willem Reymert Wenckebach.

Review on Booklikes:

It's always fascinating to find the true story behind a tradition. I've always wondered where the nutcrackers story came from and why the ballet was always so popular. I never in my mind thought that it originated from a fairy tale, nor that one of my favorite authors, Dumas, had written his own take on it not too many years later after. E.T.A. Hoffman wrote the original and overall I thought it was not too hard to follow, but in the end I was happy to know the story but wasn't overly impressed to see how this had inspired a tradition.

#5 Hans Christian Andersen

The Snow Queen

Hans Christian Andersen's The Snow Queen, the classic tale of friendship, love, and bravery, is beautifully retold with lavish illustrations by master artist Bagram Ibatoulline.

Best friends Kai and Gerda would do anything for each other. When Kai starts to behave cruelly and disappears, Gerda sets out on an epic quest to save Kai from the evil Snow Queen. But can Gerda break the Snow Queen's enchantment and complete the final task?

Review on Booklikes:

Kay and Gerda's stories start quite similarly. Both are carried off, partly as a result of their own actions, though they are taken far further than they thought. Both are trapped by magical beings who cause them to lose their memory and give them impossible or meaningless occupations. The difference is, Gerda escapes...The story is really about her journey, as for what it all means, I'm still trying to figure that out.

#6 Tove Jansson

Moominland Midwinter

Everyone knows the Moomins sleep through the winter. But this year, Moomintroll has woken up early. So while the rest of the family slumber, he decides to visit his favorite summer haunts. But all he finds is this strange white stuff. Even the sun is gone! Moomintroll is angry: whoever Winter is, she has some nerve. Determined to discover the truth about this most mysterious of all seasons, Moomintroll goes where no Moomin has gone before.

Review on Booklikes:

I ran across this book and I supposed that the Gods were telling me to read it again.  It is generally considered one of the best Moomin books, although I would only rank it myself somewhere in the middle.  However, as I think Tove Jansson is a genius that means that the book is still an excellent book. This time around the beauty of the writing struck me in a way that it had not before.

#7 Nikolai Gogol

The Night Before Christmas

It is the night before Christmas and devilry is afoot. The devil steals the moon and hides it in his pocket. He is thus free to run amok and inflicts all sorts of wicked mischief upon the village of Dikanka by unleashing a snowstorm. But the one he’d really like to torment is the town blacksmith, Vakula, who creates paintings of the devil being vanquished. Vakula is in love with Oksana, but she will have nothing to do with him. Vakula, however, is determined to win her over, even if it means battling the devil.

Review on Booklikes:

This is a very early work by Gogol'.
He was just 22 and already very brilliant when wrote these two books of Ukrainian tales now recollected in a single edition. Apparently these "Village Evenings Near Dikanka and Mirgorod" don't have that much to share with most of the following production by this author, but still they show several characteristics of his talent and genius. Gogol' sense of humour here was more direct and popularesque, tied to the tradition of oral tales while later became bitter and melancholic with the combination of daily life and sophisticated influences. The sense of fantastic, supernatural, the counterposition (and the intersections) between evil and faith make these tales extremely enjoyable and worth of being re-read many times.