This holiday, we are offering to you our own Christmas box – filled up to the top with the greatest Christmas novels, magical Christmas tales, legends, most famous carols and the poems dedicated to this one and only holiday: Mr. Pickwick's Christmas (Charles Dickens) The Gift of the Magi (O. Henry) Life and Adventures of Santa Claus (L. Frank Baum) Christmas At Sea (Robert Louis Stevenson) The Savior Must Have Been A Docile Gentleman (Emily Dickinson) The Holy Night (Selma Lagerlöf) A Merry Christmas (Louisa May Alcott) A Letter from Santa Claus (Mark Twain) Shakespeare's Christmas Silent Night The Night After Christmas The Child Born at Bethlehem The Adoration of the Shepherds The Visit of the Wise Men As Joseph Was A-Walking The Tale of Peter Rabbit (Beatrix Potter) Where Love Is, God Is (Leo Tolstoy) The Three Kings (Henry Wadsworth Longfellow) A Christmas Carol (Samuel Taylor Coleridge) The Heavenly Christmas Tree (Fyodor Dostoevsky) The Little City of Hope (F. Marion Crawford) The First Christmas Of New England (Harriet Beecher Stowe) Christmas in the Olden Time (Walter Scott) Christmas In India (Rudyard Kipling) A Christmas Carol (Charles Dickens) The Twelve Days of Christmas The Wonderful Wizard of OZ (L. Frank Baum) Ring Out, Wild Bells (Alfred Lord Tennyson) Little Lord Fauntleroy (Frances Hodgson Burnett) Black Beauty (Anna Sewell) The Christmas Child (Hesba Stretton) Granny's Wonderful Chair (Frances Browne) The Romance of a Christmas Card (Kate Douglas Wiggin) Wind in the Willows (Kenneth Grahame) The Wonderful Life - Story of the life and death of our Lord (Hesba Stretton) The Christmas Angel (A. Brown) Christmas at Thompson Hall (Anthony Trollope) Christmas Every Day (William Dean Howells) The Lost Word (Henry van Dyke) The Nutcracker and the Mouse King (E. T. A. Hoffmann) The Little Match Girl The Elves and the Shoemaker Mother Holle The Star Talers Snow-White The Christmas Hirelings The Blue Carbuncle An Exciting Christmas Eve The Spirit of Christmas…
- General fiction (Children's / Teenage)
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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.
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.
O. Henry (1862-1910) had a short but colourful life. Born William Porter in Greensboro, North Carolina, he initially worked as a pharmacist before moving into journalism. In 1896 he was arrested for embezzling funds while working as a bookkeeper for a bank.
In a moment of madness, he absconded on his way to the courthouse before his trial and fled to Honduras for six months. He returned to face trial after learning that his wife was dying of tuberculosis and served three years in jail. While in prison, he adopted the pen name O. Henry, and after his release he found great fame and popularity as a short story writer.
William Shakespeare was born in Stratford-upon-Avon, Warwickshire, in 1564. The date of his birth is unknown but is celebrated on 23 April, which happens to be St George's Day, and the day in 1616 on which Shakespeare died.
Aged eighteen, he married Anne Hathaway. They had three children. Around 1585 William joined an acting troupe on tour in Stratford from London, and thereafter spent much of his life in the capital. By 1595 he had written five of his history plays, six comedies and his first tragedy, Romeo and Juliet. In all, he wrote thirty-seven plays and much poetry, and earned enormous fame in his own lifetime in prelude to his immortality.
Emily Dickinson (1830 - 1886) lived in almost complete isolation from the outside world, but maintained many correspondences and read widely.
Upon her death, Dickinson's family discovered 40 handbound volumes of her poems, which she had assembled herself.
Robert Louis Stevenson (1850-94) was born in Edinburgh, Scotland. He studied law but preferred writing and in 1881 was inspired by his stepson to write Treasure Island.
Other famous adventure stories followed including Kidnapped, as well as the famous collection of poems for children, A Child's Garden of Verses. Robert Louis Stevenson is buried on the island of Samoa.
Willa Cather was born in Virginia in 1873 and moved to Nebraska, with its wide open plains and immigrant farming communities, at the age of nine.
This landscape would deeply affect her later writing. She attended university and became a journalist and teacher in Pittsburgh, and then a magazine editor in New York.
Her first major novel, O Pioneers!, appeared in 1913, and was followed by two more in her prairie trilogy: The Song of the Lark and My Antonia. She lived with the editor Edith Lewis for thirty-nine years until her death in 1947.
Sir Arthur Conan Doyle was born in Edinburgh in 1859 and died in 1930. Within those years was crowded a variety of activity and creative work that made him an international figure and inspired the French to give him the epithet 'the good giant'.
He was the nephew of 'Dickie Doyle' the artist, and was educated at Stonyhurst, and later studied medicine at Edinburgh University, where the methods of diagnosis of one of the professors provided the idea for the methods of deduction used by Sherlock Holmes. He set up as a doctor at Southsea and it was while waiting for patients that he began to write.
His growing success as an author enabled him to give up his practice and turn his attention to other subjects. His greatest achievement was, of course, his creation of Sherlock Holmes, who soon attained international status and constantly distracted him from his other work; at one time Conan Doyle killed him but was obliged by public protest to restore him to life.
And in his creation of Dr Watson, Holmes's companion in adventure and chronicler, Conan Doyle produced not only a perfect foil for Holmes but also one of the most famous narrators in fiction.
Nathaniel Hawthorne was born in Salem, Massachusetts, where he wrote the bulk of his masterful tales of American colonial history.
His career as a novelist began with The Scarlet Letter (1850) and also includes The house of the Seven Gables, The Blithedale Romance, and The Marble Faun.
Washington Irving was born in 1783 in New York City. In addition to writing fiction, Irving studied law, worked for his family's business in England and wrote essays for periodicals.
Some of his most famous tales, including Rip Van Winkle and The Legend of Sleepy Hollow, were first published under the pseudonym Geoffrey Crayon.
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.
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.
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.
William Wordsworth was born on 7 April 1770 at Cockermouth, in the English Lake District, the son of a lawyer. He was one of five children and developed a close bond with his only sister, Dorothy, whom he lived with for most of his life. At the age of 17, shortly after the deaths of his parents, Wordsworth went to St John’s College, Cambridge, and after graduating travelled to Revolutionary France.
Upon returning to England he published his first poem and devoted himself wholly to writing. He became great friends with other Romantic poets and collaborated with Samuel Taylor Coleridge on Lyrical Ballads. In 1843, he succeeded Robert Southey as Poet Laureate and died in the year ‘Prelude’ was finally published, 1850.
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