If one of your New Year’s resolutions is to read more, but you don’t know where to begin, our New Year’s reading list is full of recommendations that are sure to get you off to a flying start. This list of classic literature, fantastic fairy tales, and myths and legends has something for everyone. All these books feature beautiful illustrations from some of the greatest artists of the Golden Age, including Arthur Rackham, John D. Batten, and more. Make sure you stick to one of your resolutions and get the ball rolling with our New Year, New You, New Book reading list.
Starting our New Year reading list off strong, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland is a world-famous tale of a young girl with a bright, curious mind who tumbles down a rabbit hole and finds herself in Wonderland. In this mysterious fantasy world, she explores many wondrous places and meets many puzzling characters. The lesser-known sequel, Through the Looking-Glass and What Alice Found There, sees Alice return to Wonderland by passing through a mirror where she finds herself in a world where everything is backwards. Both stories feature the original illustrations by John Tenniel and are full of whimsical magic.
In this children’s fairy tale, Tom, a chimney sweep, falls into a river and metamorphoses into a ‘water baby’. The story follows his adventures and experiences after his transformation and the moral and spiritual lessons he learns throughout his ‘evolution’. This edition features reproductions of the artwork and colour plates, as originally illustrated by A. E. Jackson, an immensely talented illustrator who utilised a delicate yet colourful technique.
Made famous from the animated Disney film in 1967, the original tale is a collection of short fables. Written by Rudyard Kipling in 1894, this collection of stories features much-adored characters, including Mowgli, Shere Khan, and Bagheera. It also features famous stories such as ‘Rikki-Tikki-Tavi’, the tale of a brave mongoose, and ‘Toomai of the Elephants’, the story of a young elephant handler. Accompanied by brilliant illustrations from the author’s father John Lockwood Kipling.
Kenneth Grahame’s charming children’s classic follows the timeless adventures of Ratty, Mole, Badger, and Toad as they romp around the British countryside. The Wind in the Willows is the enchanting story of four animal friends and their glorious adventures around the Wild Wood and the Thames Riverbank. With themes of unceasing camaraderie, mysticism, morality, and nature, our New Year reading list wouldn’t be complete without mentioning this novel. Featuring Arthur Rackham’s magical illustrations, this edition brings Kenneth Grahame’s whimsical story to life.
From the Fairy Tales & Folklore Collection
Tales of the Punjab is a stunning collection of 43 Eastern folktales to rival The Arabian Nights, brought to life by John Lockwood Kipling’s intricate black-and-white illustrations. Collected by English writer Flora Annie Steel who lived in India for over 20 years and is best remembered for her books set on or about the sub-continent. A perfect read for lovers of Aladdin and The Arabian Nights.
For lovers of Myths and Legends
The Talking Thrush and Other Tales from India, originally published in 1899, is a wonderful collection of 43 Indian folk tales superbly illustrated by W. Heath Robinson. These tales were originally collected by William Crooke but are retold here by W. H. D. Rouse. Rouse has chosen to keep this selection confined to the Beast stories, which are particularly interesting as being mostly indigenous and little affected by so-called Aryan influence. Any changes made by Rouse have been included in a notes section that also includes the sources of each tale, alongside a few obvious parallels or references to the literature of the subject.