For the days leading up to Christmas I did not want to start any complicated book that would need the devotion of a couple of weeks to read, I wanted something that would not matter if I abandoned half-way through after getting Christmas presents. Therefore, I decided to read the short stories of Hans Christain Andersen which I bought two copies of in Hay-On-Wye in 2010.
This is a lovely book of short fairy tales. The stories are often very sad (completely different to the versions that you may have heard of) yet romantic and beautifully written. Themes run through the stories, such as certain numbers, death and royalty.
I bought my two editions of Andersen's fairy tales from the Town Of Books, Hay-On-Wye, they are second-hand, however, their wearing adds to the charm of them.
The first book contains all of Andersen's stories and has beautiful drawings by Mabel Lucie Atwell, however, their are only about five illustrations throughout the whole book.
The other edition does not have as many stories but have A4 colour and black and white illustrated pages and the first letter of each story is decorated.
My favourite stories are "The Steadfast Tin Soldier" and "The Little Mermaid" (which I cried at the first time I read). I adore the fact that the Little Mermaid is a completely different plot from the Disneyfied version about unknown love, sacrifice and death.
I would really recommend getting some Hans Andersen's fairy tales, whether they are old or new as they are beautiful tales for people of any age. Please don't feel like you are being childish reading children's books, many of them are actually very sad and grown up.