Ho, Ho, Ho! Merry Christmas to you all! This festive season, we are playing the Santa, and offering you our own Christmas basket of holiday goodies: the greatest Christmas novels and magical Christmas Tales: Life and Adventures of Santa Claus (L. Frank Baum) The Little City of Hope (F. Marion Crawford) Little Women (Louisa May Alcott) The Wonderful Wizard of OZ (L. Frank Baum) Little Lord Fauntleroy (Frances Hodgson Burnett) Christmas with Grandma Elsie (Martha Finley) Anne of Green Gables (Lucy Maud Montgomery) The Christmas Angel (Abbie Farwell Brown) At the Back of the North Wind (George MacDonald) Black Beauty (Anna Sewell) The Christmas Child (Hesba Stretton) The Wonderful Life - Story of the life and death of our Lord (Hesba Stretton) The Tailor of Gloucester (Beatrix Potter) The Ice Queen (Ernest Ingersoll) A Merry Christmas (Louisa May Alcott) The Gift of the Magi (O. Henry) The Fir Tree (Hans Christian Andersen) The Little Match Girl (Hans Christian Andersen) The Holy Night (Selma Lagerlöf) Little Gretchen and the Wooden Shoe (Elizabeth Harrison) A Letter from Santa Claus (Mark Twain) The Elves and the Shoemaker (Brothers Grimm) Mother Holle (Brothers Grimm) A Kidnapped Santa Claus (L. Frank Baum) The Shepherds and the Angels (Bible) The Heavenly Christmas Tree (Fyodor Dostoevsky) A Russian Christmas Party (Leo Tolstoy) Vanka (Anton Chekhov) The Nutcracker and the Mouse King (E. T. A. Hoffmann) A Christmas Carol (Charles Dickens) The Chimes (Charles Dickens) The Sleeping Beauty in the Wood (Robinson Perrault) The Blue Bird (Madame d'Aulnoy) Christmas Every Day (William Dean Howells) The Pony Engine and the Pacific Express (William Dean Howells) The Pumpkin Glory (William Dean Howells) Christmas Eve & Christmas Day (Edward Everett Hale) A Visit From Saint Nicholas (Clement Moore) Christmas - A Story (Zona Gale) The Story of the Other Wise Man (Henry van Dyke) Where Love Is, God Is (Leo Tolstoy) Christmas Roses (Anne Douglas Sedgwick)....
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Hector Hugh Munro (1870 1916) was a British author best known by his pen name Saki.
Although he wrote two novels and several political sketches most notably The Westminster Alice, a parody authorized by Carroll's publishers it is his large output of satirical short stories for which he is remembered, and is still considered one of the masters of the genre.
Samuel Langhorne Clemens, better known by his pen name, Mark Twain, was born on November 30, 1835, in the tiny village of Florida, Missouri.
Writing grand tales about Tom Sawyer, Huckleberry Finn and the mighty Mississippi River, Mark Twain explored the American soul with wit, buoyancy, and a sharp eye for truth. He became nothing less than a national treasure.
Anton Chekhov (1860-1904), Russian physician, dramatist and author, is considered to be one of the greatest writers of short stories and modern drama. Born in Taganrog, a port town near the Black Sea, he attended medical school at Moscow University.
He began writing to supplement his income, writing short humorous sketches of contemporary Russian life. A successful literary careered followed, before his premature death of TB at the age of 44. He is best-remembered for his four dramatic masterpieces: The Seagull (1896), Uncle Vanya (1899), Three Sisters (1901) and The Cherry Orchard (1904).
Ernst Theodor Amadeus Hoffmann (1776–1822) replaced his third name, Wilhelm, with Amadeus in homage to Mozart. A towering figure of German Romanticism, Hoffmann was a composer, music critic, theater director, draftsman, and caricaturist as well as a writer. Although his stories challenged readers to free their minds from the conventions of reality, Hoffmann accepted the practical constraints of everyday life, training as a lawyer and serving as a judge.
Lyman Frank Baum, born May 15 1856, was an American author of children's books, best known for writing The Wonderful Wizard of Oz. He wrote thirteen novel sequels, nine other fantasy novels, and a host of other works (55 novels in total, plus four "lost" novels, 83 short stories, over 200 poems, an unknown number of scripts, and many miscellaneous writings), and made numerous attempts to bring his works to the stage and screen.
His works anticipated such century-later commonplaces as television, augmented reality, laptop computers (The Master Key), wireless telephones (Tik-Tok of Oz), women in high risk, action-heavy occupations (Mary Louise in the Country), and the ubiquity of advertising on clothing (Aunt Jane's Nieces at Work).
On May 5, 1919, Baum suffered from a stroke. He died quietly the next day, nine days short of his 63rd birthday.His final Oz book, Glinda of Oz, was published on July 10, 1920, a year after his death. The Oz series was continued long after his death by other authors, notably Ruth Plumly Thompson, who wrote an additional nineteen Oz books.
Alphonse Daudet was born in Nimes in 1840. He made his name with gentle stories and novels portraying life in the French provinces, notably Lettres de mon Moulin (1869).
He died in 1897. His extraordinary notebooks detailing the effects of syphilis on his life were first published under the title In the Land of Pain by Daudet's widow in 1931.
The first English translation by Julian Barnes was published by Cape in 2002.
Russian author, a master of realistic fiction and one of the world's greatest novelists.
Tolstoy is best known for his two longest works, War and Peace and Anna Karenina, which are commonly regarded as among the finest novels ever written. War and Peace in particular seems virtually to define this form for many readers and critics. Among Tolstoy's shorter works, The Death of Ivan Ilyich is usually classed among the best examples of the novella. Especially during his last three decades Tolstoy also achieved world renown as a moral and religious teacher. His doctrine of nonresistance to evil had an important influence on Gandhi. Although Tolstoy's religious ideas no longer command the respect they once did, interest in his life and personality has, if anything, increased over the years.
Most readers will agree with the assessment of the 19th-century British poet and critic Matthew Arnold that a novel by Tolstoy is not a work of art but a piece of life; the 20th-century Russian author Isaak Babel commented that, if the world could write by itself, it would write like Tolstoy. Critics of diverse schools have agreed that somehow Tolstoy's works seem to elude all artifice. Most have stressed his ability to observe the smallest changes of consciousness and to record the slightest movements of the body. What another novelist would describe as a single act of consciousness, Tolstoy convincingly breaks down into a series of infinitesimally small steps. According to the English writer Virginia Woolf, who took for granted that Tolstoy was “the greatest of all novelists,” these observational powers elicited a kind of fear in readers, who “wish to escape from the gaze which Tolstoy fixes on us.”
Those who visited Tolstoy as an old man also reported feelings of great discomfort when he appeared to understand their unspoken thoughts. It was commonplace to describe him as godlike in his powers and titanic in his struggles to escape the limitations of the human condition. Some viewed Tolstoy as the embodiment of nature and pure vitality, others saw him as the incarnation of the world's conscience, but for almost all who knew him or read his works, he was not just one of the greatest writers who ever lived but a living symbol of the search for life's meaning.
Lucy Maud Montgomery was born on Prince Edward Island, Canada, in 1874. Anne of Green Gables, published in 1908, was her first novel and has remained in print across the world ever since. Montgomery died in Toronto in 1942.
Harriet Beecher Stowe was born in Litchfield, Connecticut, in 1811, the seventh child of a well-known Congregational minister, Lyman Beecher. The family moved to Cincinnati, Ohio, where she met and married Calvin Stowe, a professor of theology, in 1836.
Living just across the Ohio River from the slave-holding state of Kentucky, and becoming aware of the plight of escaping slaves, led her to write Uncle Tom’s Cabin, published in book form in 1842. She wrote the novel amidst the difficulties of bringing up a large family of six children.
The runaway success of Uncle Tom’s Cabin made its author a well-known publish figure. Stowe died in 1896.
Hans Christian Andersen was born in Odense, Denmark, in 1805. His Fairy Tales, the first children's stories of their kind, which were published in instalments from 1835 until his death in 1875, have been translated into more than a hundred languages and adapted for every kind of media.
Eleanor H. Porter was an American novelist from New Hampshire, born in 1868.
Although trained as a singer, she later turned to writing stories for children and romance and adventure novels for adults.
Her most famous novel is Pollyanna, written in 1913. She wrote 15 novels and many short stories during her career. Porter died in 1920.
J. M. Barrie (1860-1937) was fascinated by stories of his mother's life. He was determined to write, and worked on the Nottingham Journal after graduating from Edinburgh University.
In 1885 he successfully sold the Auld Licht Idylls, which were based on his mother's tales. By the time Peter Pan opened on the London stage in 1904, Barrie had written more than thirty novels and plays, such as Quality Street and The Admirable Crichton. He was created a baronet in 1913 and awarded the Order of Merit in 1922.
Guy de Maupassant was born in Normandy in 1850. In addition to his six novels, which include Bel-Ami (1885) and Pierre et Jean (1888), he wrote hundreds of short stories, the most famous of which is 'Boule de suif'.
By the late 1870s, he began to develop the first signs of syphilis, and in 1891 he was committed to an asylum in Paris, having tried to commit suicide. He died there two years later.
Louisa May Alcott was born on 29 November 1832 in Pennsylvania, and she grew up with plenty of books to read but seldom enough to eat. Louisa went to work when she was very young as a paid companion and teacher, but she loved writing most of all, and like Jo March she started selling sensational stories in order to help provide financial support for her family.
She worked as a nurse during the American Civil War but the experience made her extremely ill. Little Women was published in 1868 and was based on her life growing up with her three sisters. She followed it with three sequels, Good Wives (1869), Little Men (1871) and Jo's Boys (1886) and she also wrote other books for both children and adults. Louisa was also a campaigner for women's rights and the abolition of the slave trade. She died on 6 March 1888.
Charles Dickens was born in 1812 and became the most popular novelist of the Victorian era.
A prolific writer, he published more than a dozen novels in his lifetime, including Oliver Twist, Great Expectations and Hard Times, most of which have been adapted many times over for radio, stage and screen.
Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm were born in 1785 and 1786 near Frankfurt, Germany. Their collections of folk and fairy tales have stood the test of time and still influence literature today.
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