Christmas without the corn
Here are three holiday books that go light on the sticky sentimentality.
Christmas Days: 12 Stories and 12 Feasts for 12 Days (Grove Atlantic) by Jeanette Winterson is a collection of witty short stories with recipes by the acclaimed novelist and memoirist, in which dogs fly and a Christmas fairy grants wishes with an iPad.
Christmas Ghost Stories (Biblioasis), selected and illustrated by Seth, is a series of five little books that revive a 19th century tradition of telling ghost stories at Christmas, including Charles Dickens' The Signalman, left, and Edith Wharton's Afterward.
The Mistletoe Murder and Other Stories (Knopf) by P.D. James collects four clever holiday-themed stories by the late, beloved mystery writer, including two with her series character, the poet-detective Adam Dalgliesh.
Colette Bancroft, Times book editor