I had such an overwhelming response on my post last week about Christmas books, prompted by the addition of a beautiful copy of Dicken's Christmas books to my library, that I thought it was probably worth highlighting everyone's responses in a separate post; like me, many of you enjoy festive reading so I thought that the recommendations should be shared. Vivienne over at Serendipity has had a similar idea and has put together a more comprehensive list of recommendations so do pop over and check that out.
This isn't by any means a definitive list, but some of people's favourites that were mentioned in the comments on my last post, and at the end I've added a section on baking!
Several people mentioned The man who invented Christmas, which is apparently a very readable biography of Dickens, by Andrew Billen. I'll definitely be getting that from the library, although I am intrigued to see that it has been classified as a children's book.
Another book I'll be getting out of the library is The Virago Book of Christmas which is an anthology of writings about Christmas by over 50 woman, including many famous names. It sounds like it could be something that I might want to dip into on each day of advent.
Other recommendations included some of my favourite Christmas reads - Miss Read's Country Christmas, The Tailor of Gloucester (Beatrix Potter) and A child's Christmas in Wales (Dylan Thomas). Two other children's book favourites are Jo of the Chalet School which has a lovely description of an Austrian Christmas, and Helen Craig's Angelina's Christmas which has glorious illustrations of the dancing mouse.
Some recommendations I had not heard of:
A Christmas memory (Truman Capote)
Mr Ive's Christmas (Oscar Hijuelos)
A redbird Christmas (Fannie Flagg)
Christmas holiday (Somerset Maugham)
but I had already got my eye on some of Sharon Owen's books - gentle chick-lit. I enjoyed an Amanda Brookfield with a Christmas theme last year, although I can't remember the title, and Alison Penton-Harper's Housewife on top was an amusing read last year.
Of course baking is an important part of Christmas; my favourite Christmas baking book is probably the Nigella Christmas book which I was given last year as a leaving present from my job - my mincemeat and Christmas chutney is Nigella this year, and last year I made wonderful orange and cranberry Christmas morning muffins. I had Delia's Happy Christmas out of the library last week, and it was a bit of a disappointment - to be honest, I could tell that the book was never going to do it for me as soon as I saw all of the comprehensive lists and plans at the front. As someone who comes from a very small family (only ever 3 of us for Christmas), who has spent the last two Christmases away, and will probably be spending Christmas with someone else's family, although I did once cook a Christmas dinner, the main bit of cooking that I do over Christmas is yummy baking. Even if I did have to "do" Christmas it would be all about the baking for me. So my other favourite Christmas book which I had from the library earlier this year but had to purchase is Linda Collister's Christmas treats which I'm sure I'll be sharing creations from soon. I believe the Hairy Bikers have a new book this Christmas and I might be interested to see that as they have done some interesting baking bits in the past.
Thanks for all of your suggestions, and I hope that you find this post interesting! I'll be writing nearer the time about the pile of un-Christmassy books that I hope to indulge myself in over the period.