The cosiest classics to read this winter

Seven wintry books to snuggle up with as the nights draw in.

We can't promise a white Christmas but we can lead you into a literary winter wonderland with these cosy classics.

Little Women

by Louisa May Alcott

Book cover for Little Women

The perfect novel to curl up with through the winter. Who can forget the opening scenes when the March sisters, Beth, Jo, Meg and Amy, face a Christmas with no presents, when they donate their Christmas breakfast to a family living in desperate poverty, and when they’re rewarded with a lavish feast courtesy of their generous and illusive neighbour. Read on to find out how the girls navigate their way through the highs and lows of growing up under the watchful eye of their adoring mother, Marmee.

Classic Christmas Crime Stories

by David Stuart Davies

Book cover for Classic Christmas Crime Stories

Christmas is not always the season of goodwill: it can also be the season of mysterious deaths, hidden poison bottles and blunt instruments. These eleven stories from the Golden Age of British crime feature festive felonies and Christmas whodunnits from the likes of Margery Allingham, Ngaio Marsh and Arthur Conan Doyle. Grab yourself a blanket and settle in for the ultimate in cosy crime.

A Gloveshop in Vienna & Other Winter Stories

by Eva Ibbotson

Book cover for A Gloveshop in Vienna & Other Winter Stories

When winter seems to go on forever we dream of escaping to somewhere new. Here’s the next best thing for those long winter days: a collection of short stories which take you from nineteenth-century Vienna to the snowy streets of St Petersburg via the wild moors of Northumberland. Imbued with drama, romance, comedy and warmth, each story sparkles like sunlight on snow. Between the covers are a wonderful array of characters from Kira the Russian ballet dancer who is rescued from exile by Edwin, a lonely dreamer to wealthy Great Uncle Max and his secret love for Susie, a Viennese glove shop assistant.

The Wind in the Willows

by Kenneth Grahame

Book cover for The Wind in the Willows

The Wind in the Willows is one of the most celebrated children’s books of all time; the adventures of firm friends Ratty and Mole, impulsive Mr Toad and wise Mr Badger never cease to delight. When we think of Christmas, we think of home and nothing captures all those emotions better than when Mole invites Ratty to spend Christmas with him in his old home and they struggle to find their way there through the winter landscape. When they come across carol singing field mice, well – reach for the tissues.

Round About the Christmas Tree

by Becky Brown

Book cover for Round About the Christmas Tree

Get yourself in the mood for Christmas with this wonderful array of stories from the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries that bring the festive season alive. With his famous wit, Thackeray gives us a young family’s Christmas in London in the titular story, Round About the Christmas Tree, in The Adventure of The Blue Carbuncle by Arthur Conan Doyle, a priceless sapphire is swallowed by a Christmas Goose, and in The Little Match Girl and The Fir Tree Hans Christian Andersen gives us two touching Christmas fairy tales. Like a delicious box of Christmas chocolates, there’s so much to choose from in this collection. 

A Christmas Carol

by Charles Dickens

Book cover for A Christmas Carol

Of all the Christmas stories this one has probably stood the test of time longer and better than any. No surprise, because it is first and foremost a terrific read – a gripping, dramatic and moving story about a miserly old man who is persuaded to change his ways. Yes, it might be a bit sentimental, a bit melodramatic but hey, that’s why we love it, and Dickens is undoubtedly a storyteller par excellence. His festive tale carries a powerful message which seems particularly pertinent around Christmas time – that we must recognise inequality and help and support each other.

Poems for Christmas

by Gaby Morgan

Book cover for Poems for Christmas

If you’re rushing around getting ready for Christmas, here’s the perfect little book to dip in and out of for a literary swig of Christmas cheer when you need it. From traditional songs and carols, to celebrations of wintry landscapes and the Christmas story itself, keep this one in your pocket, alongside a warm pair of gloves.