Ho, Ho, Ho! Merry Christmas to you all! This festive season, we are playing the Santa, and offering you our own Christmas basket of holiday goodies: the greatest Christmas novels and magical Christmas Tales: Life and Adventures of Santa Claus (L. Frank Baum) The Little City of Hope (F. Marion Crawford) Little Women (Louisa May Alcott) The Wonderful Wizard of OZ (L. Frank Baum) Little Lord Fauntleroy (Frances Hodgson Burnett) Christmas with Grandma Elsie (Martha Finley) Anne of Green Gables (Lucy Maud Montgomery) The Christmas Angel (Abbie Farwell Brown) At the Back of the North Wind (George MacDonald) Black Beauty (Anna Sewell) The Christmas Child (Hesba Stretton) The Wonderful Life - Story of the life and death of our Lord (Hesba Stretton) The Tailor of Gloucester (Beatrix Potter) The Ice Queen (Ernest Ingersoll) A Merry Christmas (Louisa May Alcott) The Gift of the Magi (O. Henry) The Fir Tree (Hans Christian Andersen) The Little Match Girl (Hans Christian Andersen) The Holy Night (Selma Lagerlöf) Little Gretchen and the Wooden Shoe (Elizabeth Harrison) A Letter from Santa Claus (Mark Twain) The Elves and the Shoemaker (Brothers Grimm) Mother Holle (Brothers Grimm) A Kidnapped Santa Claus (L. Frank Baum) The Shepherds and the Angels (Bible) The Heavenly Christmas Tree (Fyodor Dostoevsky) A Russian Christmas Party (Leo Tolstoy) Vanka (Anton Chekhov) The Nutcracker and the Mouse King (E. T. A. Hoffmann) A Christmas Carol (Charles Dickens) The Chimes (Charles Dickens) The Sleeping Beauty in the Wood (Robinson Perrault) The Blue Bird (Madame d'Aulnoy) Christmas Every Day (William Dean Howells) The Pony Engine and the Pacific Express (William Dean Howells) The Pumpkin Glory (William Dean Howells) Christmas Eve & Christmas Day (Edward Everett Hale) A Visit From Saint Nicholas (Clement Moore) Christmas - A Story (Zona Gale) The Story of the Other Wise Man (Henry van Dyke) Where Love Is, God Is (Leo Tolstoy) Christmas Roses (Anne Douglas Sedgwick)....
As Julian Barnes writes in the introduction to his superb translation of Alphonse Daudet’s La Doulou, the mostly forgotten writer nowadays “ate at the top literary table” during his lifetime (1840–1897). Henry James described him as “the happiest novelist” and “the most charming story-teller” of his day. Yet if Daudet dined in the highest company, he was also “a member of a less enviable nineteenth-century French club: that of literary syphilitics.” In the Land of Pain—notes toward a book never written—is his timelessly resonant response to the disease.

In quick, sharp, unflinching strokes of his pen, Daudet wrote about his symptoms (“This is me: the one-man-band of pain”) and his treatments (“Mor-phine nights . . . thick black waves, sleepless on the surface of life, the void beneath”); about his fears and reflections (“Pain, you must be everything for me. Let me find in you all those foreign lands you will not let me visit. Be my philosophy, be my science”); his impressions of the patients, himself included, and their strange life at curative baths and spas (“Russians, both men and women, go into the baths naked . . . Alarm among the Southerners”); and about the “clever way in which death cuts us down, but makes it look like just a thinning-out.”

Given Barnes’s crystalline translation, these notes comprise a record—at once shattering and lighthearted, haunting and beguiling—of both the banal and the transformative experience of physical suffering, and a testament to the complex resiliency of the human spirit.
Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle all the way… Christmas is here, and so are we with our biggest ever Christmas basket. There's something for everyone - novels, short stories, poems, and carols - for a cozy and wonderful holiday enjoyment. So grab a cup of coffee and soak into the spirit of festive cheer with our "The Big Christmas Basket": Novels: Life and Adventures of Santa Claus (L. Frank Baum) Little Women (Louisa May Alcott) The Wonderful Wizard of OZ (L. Frank Baum) Little Lord Fauntleroy (Frances Hodgson Burnett) Anne of Green Gables (Lucy Maud Montgomery) Black Beauty (Anna Sewell) Christmas-Tree Land (M.L. Molesworth) Wind in the Willows (Kenneth Grahame) Peter Pan and Wendy (J. M. Barrie) Oliver Twist Pollyanna (Eleanor H. Porter) At the Back of the North Wind (George MacDonald) A Versailles Christmas-Tide (A. S. Boyd) The Man Who Forgot Christmas (Max Brand)... Short Stories: A Merry Christmas & Other Christmas Stories (Louisa May Alcott) The Gift of the Magi (O. Henry) Papa Panov's Special Christmas (Leo Tolstoy) Doctor Marigold's Prescriptions (Charles Dickens) The Tailor of Gloucester (Beatrix Potter) The Tale of Peter Rabbit (Beatrix Potter) The Christmas Guest (Selma Lagerlöf) At Christmas Time (Anton Chekhov) Little Gretchen and the Wooden Shoe Toinette and the Elves (Susan Coolidge) The Heavenly Christmas Tree (Dostoevsky) The Princess and the Goblin The Nutcracker and the Mouse King The Little Match Girl Little Jean (Francois Coppe) How the Fir Tree Became the Christmas Tree The Magi in the West and Their Search for the Christ The Little Shepherd... Poems & Carols: Silent Night The Three Kings (H. W. Longfellow) Christmas Bells (Longfellow) Christmas at Sea (Stevenson) Christmas in the Olden Time (Walter Scott) Old Santa Claus (Clement Clarke Moore) The Twelve Days of Christmas Minstrels (Wordsworth) Ring Out, Wild Bells (Tennyson) Hymn on the Morning of Christ's Nativity (John Milton) A Christmas Carol (Coleridge)…
Tout comme Alphonse Daudet, rendez visite à la bibliothèque des Cigales, allongez-vous au milieu des senteurs de lavande, et laissez-vous raconter ce joli conte provençal.
"De tous les jolis dictons, proverbes ou adages, dont nos paysans de Provence passementent leurs discours, je n'en sais pas un plus pittoresque ni plus singulier que celui-ci. A quinze lieues autour de mon moulin, quand on parle d'un homme rancunier, vindicatif, on dit : "Cet homme-là ! méfiez-vous !... il est comme la mule du Pape, qui garde sept ans son coup de pied."
J'ai cherché bien longtemps d'où ce proverbe pouvait venir, ce que c'était que cette mule papale et ce coup de pied gardé pendant sept ans. Personne ici n'a pu me renseigner à ce sujet, pas même Francet Mamaï, mon joueur de fifre, qui connaît pourtant son légendaire provençal sur le bout du doigt. Francet pense comme moi qu'il y a là-dessous quelque ancienne chronique du pays d'Avignon ; mais il n'en a jamais entendu parler autrement que par leproverbe...
Vous ne trouverez cela qu'à la bibliothèque des Cigales, m'a dit le vieux fifre en riant.L'idée m'a paru bonne, et comme la bibliothèque des Cigales est à ma porte, je suis allé m'y enfermer pendant huit jours."
L'auteur
Né à Nîmes en 1840, Alphonse Daudet a connu une enfance difficile en Provence avant de devenir maître d'études à Alès, épisode qu'il évoquera dans Le Petit Chose (1868). Venu à Paris, il est remarqué dès sa première œuvre, Les Amoureuses (1858), un recueil de poèmes. Devenu célèbre grâce à ses contes, Les Lettres de mon moulin (1866), il reste fidèle à sa Provence natale en composant la trilogie de Tartarin (Tartarin de Tarascon en 1872, Tartarin sur les Alpes en 1885 et Port-Tarascon en 1890). Pour le théâtre, il tire des Lettres de mon moulin un drame, L'Arlésienne que Georges Bizet mettra en musique. Romancier réaliste, Alphonse Daudet va aussi dépeindre les mœurs de son temps dans Jack (1876) ou Sapho (1884) et évoquer la chute de l'Empire et la guerre de 1870 dans Les Contes du lundi (1873). Alphonse Daudet est décédé à Paris en 1897.
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