Jólabókaflóðið or Jolabokaflod (Christmas book flood) is the Icelandic tradition of giving books (and reading) during Christmastime, due to the fact that most books in Iceland (Reykjavík is a UNESCO City of Literature) are published during the autumn months. Our family adopted this tradition early on, since not only do we buy lots of books anyway, but it seemed like a good way to spend part of Christmas Eve anyway by stopping into a bookstore as part of our hygge-like celebration of the season. We’ve hit a variety of shops over the years from the local Barnes & Noble, to last year’s visit to the amazing Strand and this year to Politics & Prose.
Books are the backbone of this home – stacks are often found well outside any shelf, and really there are never enough shelves no matter which home we’ve lived in for any length of time. There are books in storage, in the basement, under beds and in closets. We also have three working Kindles (great for travel, audio books and music). If books decorate our home, a trip to the bookstore is a serotonin boost for us — to be near all of those words, with their stories (albeit some better than others), and to get a coffee and cake after perusing and buying the next treasure? Best days ever. No matter how we’ve often lived on academic salaries, lay-offs and what seems like an unending tide of medical bills — for books, while we may pace ourselves, we’ll find a way to buy what we consider friends and bring them home to be members of this otherwise small family of three. There is no such thing as too many books for us and here’s why — because these are our friends, we can always go for a visit — a favorite passage, or an entire round-trip visit, a quick view or an afternoon, doesn’t matter; like our human friends, some days we have more time to chit-chat than others. We love libraries too, more on that later.
Merry Book Flood one and all!