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Publisher's Summary

Read by Juliet Stevenson and Simon Callow, A Literary Christmas is a seasonal anthology that collects together poems, short stories, and prose extracts by some of the greatest poets and writers in the English language.

Like Charles Dickens’ ghosts of Christmas Past and Present, they are representative of times old and new - from John Donne’s Elizabethan hymn over the baby Jesus to Rudyard Kipling’s "Christmas in India", from Thomas Tusser counting the cost of a Tudor feast to Laurie Lee’s "Cider with Rosie".

Enjoy a convivial Christmas Day as described by Samuel Pepys, Anthony Trollope, George Eliot, or Nancy Mitford. Venture out into the snow in the company of Jane Austen, Henry James, and Dickens’ ever-popular Mr Pickwick. Entertain the children with the seasonal tales of Dylan Thomas, Kenneth Grahame, Louisa May Alcott, and George Mackay Brown.

©2013 The British Library Board (P)2013 The British Library Board

Critic Reviews

"[a] beautifully presented cornucopia" (Rachel Redford, The Oldie)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

Overall

  • 3.8 out of 5.0
  • 5 Stars
    99
  • 4 Stars
    88
  • 3 Stars
    68
  • 2 Stars
    27
  • 1 Stars
    10

Performance

  • 4.2 out of 5.0
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    135
  • 4 Stars
    77
  • 3 Stars
    33
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    13
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    8

Story

  • 3.9 out of 5.0
  • 5 Stars
    104
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    70
  • 3 Stars
    50
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    22
  • 1 Stars
    14
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  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

Wonderful Christmas stories and excerpts!

This is a wonderful Christmas story collection! I have already listened to it several times. AND BOTH readers are fabulous. I highly recommend it. It will really raise your Christmas spirits to new heights. I have found several other Christmas story collections on Audible, and plan to buy several of them.

14 of 14 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

Marvelous, with one very avoidable flaw

Would you listen to A Literary Christmas again? Why?

Yes, it's a cozy and thoroughly enjoyable recording, with two of England's finest actor voices.

What was one of the most memorable moments of A Literary Christmas?

Simon Callow's reading of the passage describing the Christmas Eve ball in Fezziwig's warehouse absolutely brims with enthusiasm and perfectly brings to life all of Dickens' descriptive powers.

What does Juliet Stevenson and Simon Callow bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

The right voice brings out all the humor or pathos or excitement that the author intended.

Any additional comments?

For some reason, there is NO pause between selections. Three seconds to allow the sound of the previous story to fade in your mind's ear, and anticipate the next story, would have earned this an overall 5 stars instead of 4.

58 of 61 people found this review helpful

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  • Performance
  • Story

Beautiful collection of "The Best of Christmas"

Excellent British narrators make this vast collection of Christmas stories and poems a pleasure to listen to and go back to each holiday season. I really enjoyed the stories read with the British emphasis on these English classics.

6 of 6 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

Good compilation

It would have been nice to have a break between chapters. Some stories were hard to follow and seemed to be read too fast.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

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  • Performance
  • Story

Great voices terrible sound levels

As others have said; please rebalance the sound levels for the whole recording. Add a few seconds quiet between the excellently read performances. Once fixed reissue to all of us!!

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

Excellent short stories and excerpts

What did you love best about A Literary Christmas?

This is delightful. I was laid up at home on Christmas and bought this for Simon Callow's wonderful voice, he's a longtime favorite actor. Chapters listed by name instead of 40 numbers can be found by hitting "Amazon Reviews". Putting "'Twas the night before Christmas" first was a stroke of genius as that is the first go-to from my childhood. Others have mentioned the lack of gaps between story excerpts which is particularly awful for the Christmastime war stories. I either stopped the play when a new story began and/or watched the min. remaining countdown. Looks like this is Simon's only Audible presentation, hope he does many more. Juliet Stevenson is equally good.

What other book might you compare A Literary Christmas to and why?

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What about Juliet Stevenson and Simon Callow ’s performance did you like?

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If you were to make a film of this book, what would the tag line be?

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Any additional comments?

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4 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story
  • Judith
  • RIVERSIDE, CA, United States
  • 12-26-16

Mixed feelings

Ms. Stevenson's performance was good, Mr. Callow spoke too quickly especially when using heavy accents. The volume of each chapter varies so I had to keep turning my volume up and down which was annoying.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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  • Performance
  • Story
  • Heidy
  • Beaverton, OR
  • 12-25-16

delightful

this was a great joy to my family and a refreshed enthusiasm for the classics

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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  • Performance
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excellent poetry

this collection of excerpts from Victorian English literature and poetry through the 1920s just sets up the mood. curiously, there are a hand ful of world war one poems (published in the 1920s, that focuses on the Christmas truce (i.e. g k. Chesterton).

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • Performance
  • Story

sad and cheerful at the same time

the collection of writings is at times funny and silly and at other moments cold and sad. it reminds me of the Christmas season is in real life, filled with both joy and sorrow. I enjoyed this much.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful