Best Christmas Books To Read This Festive Season
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Best Christmas Books To Read This Festive Season

Festive thrillers and cosy classics

How is your 2023 reading challenge going? Did you set the bar too high, and you’re scrambling through novellas to hit your goal? Or are you lazily perusing through lengthy tomes having smashed your target months ago? Whichever books you plan to read in the rest of 2023, end your year on a festive note with these Christmas books, from cosy crime to lyrical meditations on the holiday season.

Best Christmas Books

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Village Christmas by Laurie Lee

Village Christmas by Laurie Lee

£9.99

waterstones.com

For the perfect depiction of English countryside Christmas, look no further than Laurie Lee’s Village Christmas, a moving portrait of England through changing years and seasons. Collecting the sights, sounds, landscapes and traditions that inspired Lee throughout his life – from growing up in the Cotswolds to returning there for good later in life – readers can expect a lyrical meditation on the simple beauty of life in Britain.

A Merry Christmas and Other Christmas Stories by Louisa May Alcott

A Merry Christmas and Other Christmas Stories by Louisa May Alcott

£14.99

dauntbooks.co.uk

If you can’t quite face the devastating subsequent events of Louisa May Alcott’s seminal classic, Little Women, pick up this cute collection of her Christmassy stories, starting with the famed festive chapter illustrating Marmee and her daughters’ yuletide festivities. The rest evoke the authentic festive spirit of 19th century America, with personal texture and heartwarming details.

A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens

A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens

£9.99

shop.nspcc.org.uk

Relive Dickens’ classic festive tale with a reading of A Christmas Carol. Brimming with cosy details that have become the Christmas ideal – think frosty nights, flickering candles, banquets of food and a dose of goodwill – the story follows Ebenezer Scrooge, a miserable man who is visited by the ghost of his former work partner along with three spirits on Christmas eve: the ghosts of Christmas past, present and future.

Hercule Poirot's Christmas by Agatha Christie

Hercule Poirot’s Christmas by Agatha Christie

£14.99

waterstones.com

Agatha Christie fans will enjoy this festive twist on the classic Poirot novels. A whodunnit murder mystery, Poirot is staying in a village for the holidays when the tyrannical Simeon Lee is found dead in a pool of blood. Naturally, our favourite detective lends a hand in figuring out who the killer is.

Murder on the Christmas Express by Alexandra Benedict

Murder on the Christmas Express by Alexandra Benedict

£8.49

waterstones.com

Speaking of Agatha Christie, Alexandra Benedict’s festive retelling of her Murder on the Orient Express is the perfect Christmas book for cosy crime vibes. Set aboard a sleeper train traveling from London to the Scottish Highlands on Christmas Eve, a group of passengers become embroiled in a puzzling murder mystery when a body is discovered in a locked sleeping compartment.

Midnight at the Christmas Bookshop by Jenny Colgan

Midnight at the Christmas Bookshop by Jenny Colgan

£14.99

theportobellobookshop.com

If a heartwarming read is more what you’re looking for, this brand new Christmas book might do the trick. Carmen must buckle down to save her gorgeous bookshop from closure – and, while fending off a shady businessman, she discovers wonders to the store she could have never imagined.

Christmas is Murder by Val McDermid

Christmas is Murder by Val McDermid

£8.99

waterstones.com

Val McDermid is best known for her grizzly, Tartan Noir tales, not her festive streak – but this collection of short stories is the perfect chilling read for crime lovers. From an irresponsible baron discovered dead beneath a birch tree to a deadly killer preparing to strike on Christmas day, expect to be shocked and delighted in equal measure.

Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone by J.K. Rowling

Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone by J.K. Rowling

£16.99

shop.scholastic.co.uk

Do you rewatch the Harry Potter films every festive season, despite the fact that the Christmas scenes last all of five minutes? You’re not alone. To relive the magic in a different way, pick up the gorgeous illustrated editions of the beloved novels, featuring stunningly beautiful festive scenes. It makes the perfect gift, too.

The Penguin Book Of Christmas Stories

The Penguin Book Of Christmas Stories

£14.99

waterstones.com

This gorgeous clothbound collection gathers some of the greatest festive stories of all time, selected by Jessica Harrison. Pulling readers from frozen Nordic woods to the English countryside, midnight mass in Rio to outer space, a vast span of writers feature, including Truman Capote, Shirley Jackson, Dylan Thomas, Saki, Chekhov, Italo Calvino and Wolfdietrich Schunurre.

The White Priory Murders by John Dickinson Carr

The White Priory Murders by John Dickinson Carr

£7.30

wob.com

Why does Christmas make the perfect backdrop for cosy crime novels? Snow, of course. When Hollywood star Marcia Tait is discovered dead in a 17th-century pavilion surrounded by newfallen snow, there is only one set of footprints leading to her body and none leading away. Detective Sir Henry Merrivale sets to solving the mystery with Inspector Humphrey Masters, with suspects including an unknown husband and a man who thought he was set to marry Marcia. But, with a second murder, everything gets even more perplexing…

The Adventure of the Christmas Pudding by Agatha Christie

The Adventure of the Christmas Pudding by Agatha Christie

£9.99

waterstones.com

Fancy a Christmas treat? Agatha Christie’s package of six festive Poirot stories is just that. Covering a missing ruby, a corpse discovered in a chest, an overheard quarrel, and a dead man who dreamt his own suicide, Christie’s signature detective work shines against a festive backdrop.

A Christmas Memory by Truman Capote

A Christmas Memory by Truman Capote

£9.99

blackwells.co.uk

This poignant short story (which can be read online free of charge here) draws on the author’s childhood memories of the festive season, capturing the essence of Christmastime in Depression-era Alabama. The narrative follows a young boy and his elderly cousin, known as Sook, in their preparations for Christmas. Expect a bittersweet rumination on love, loss, friendship, nostalgia and the simple joys of the holiday season.