Of all the months, December is probably the one with the most traditions. One you may not have heard of gets my vote for the best possible holiday tradition of all: in Iceland, people celebrate Christmas with a tradition called Jolabokaflod, which translates to “Christmas book flood” in English.
Jolabokaflod began in World War II, when almost everything was rationed. However, paper was not rationed. Since there were no limits on books, that became the go-to gift. Giving each other books has become an essential part of the Christmas season for Icelanders. And, because gifts are traditionally opened on Christmas Eve night, people tend to spend that evening reading.
For over 70 years, every household in Iceland has gotten a book bulletin from the publishers of books in their country. This catalog helps people choose books for their friends and family.
If you’re looking for ideas for your own gift giving, I suggest you pick up a copy of this month’s edition of BookPage, available free at the library. While you’re here, ask the staff for their recommendations too! We are always happy to share our favorites with you.
Here’s a few we enjoyed this year:
Life on the Mississippi: An Epic American Adventure, by Rinker Buck. History.
Travelling the Mississippi in a wooden flatboat like those used in the 1800s, Rinker Buck encounters danger and adventure.
The High Sierra: A Love Story, by Kim Stanley Robinson. History, Americana, Nature.
Best known for his science fiction, in this book Robinson shares his love of the Sierra Nevada mountains and tells the history of its exploration and those who lived there.
Long Overdue at the Lakeside Library, by Holly Danvers. Mystery.
Second in the Lakeside Library series by Wisconsin author Danvers (aka Holly Quinn), this book is perfect for those who prefer cozy mysteries.
The Runaway, by Nick Petrie. Thriller/Suspense.
The latest in local author Petrie’s Peter Ash series, this title is sure to please the suspense lover on your list.
Adult Services Librarian