What really shines about this collection is the informative introductions to each and every one of the stories.
Any anthology usually ends up being a mixed bag in terms of content. There will be things you like and things you don’t. When a famous artist, writer, or illustrator that you admire is asked to select stories for an anthology it can be an extra special experience.
There’s nothing quite comparable to the experience of reading transcripts and re-printings of primary documents. To read a trial transcript from two hundred years ago and hear the echoes of words spoken so long ago by innocent women accused of crimes that are literally impossible to commit is something powerful and weighty.
The Penguin Book of Christmas Stories sticks to a formula that’s pretty hard to get wrong. They take a theme and collect a bunch of stories from classic authors to compose an anthology.
The collection isn’t exactly Christmas-y per se, but all the same the holiday spirit is there in the sense that this book is truly meant to be shared. It’s meant to be read aloud or in tandem and laughed over. It’s meant to bring book people onto the same page, and bring them together.
Before reading this, I had the idea that most exorcisms across time were performed because of a lack of understanding concerning mental illness and — of course — rampant sexism, racism, and other prejudice.