The Penguin Book of Christmas Stories

The Penguin Book of Christmas Stories: From Hans Christian Andersen to Angela Carter edited by Jessica Harrison

Title:  The Penguin Book of Christmas Stories: From Hans Christian Andersen to Angela Carter
Editor: Jessica Harrison
Publisher:  Penguin Classics
Genre: General Fiction (Adult)
Format:  Kindle
No. of Pages: 288
Date of US Publication: 8 November, 2022
My Rating:  2 Stars

My Thoughts 

I will happily read a Christmas anthology of most varieties and was thrilled to receive an early copy of this one; however, I soon found that this anthology is definitely heavier on the downcast tales, and unfortunately, much less so on the joyous stories I tend to look for during the holidays. I wouldn’t want to read this if I were looking to increase my holiday spirit or mental health levels. 

This one was too depressing for me. Others may appreciate a more melancholy collection, but for me, this is a detour I prefer not to often take. 

I wouldn’t recommend this as a read-aloud with children / family. 

eARC kindly provided by Penguin Classics and NetGalley. Opinions shared are my own.


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 to 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 wry, sideways look at Christmas consumerism, Wolfdietrich Schnurre’s story of festive ingenuity in Berlin, Selma Lagerlöf's enchanted forest in Sweden, and Irène Némirovsky’s dark family portrait. Featuring Santas, ghosts, trolls, unexpected guests, curmudgeons, and miracles, here is Christmas as imagined by some of the greatest short story writers of all time..


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