I was reminded again this year of the Jólabókaflóð: Iceland’s Christmas Book Flood. Iceland publishes more books per capita than any other country, and new books are typically published only during the Christmas season. The frenzy is called Jólabókaflóð, which directly translates as Christmas Book Flood.
Apparently, in Iceland books are exchanged on Christmas Eve, and you spend the rest of the night reading. (Already I am liking the sound of this.) Then people generally take their books to bed along with some chocolate. (Now I’m taken completely. My Christmas Eve normally involves last minute wrapping and food preparation and a longing to be in bed about four hours earlier than I can make.)
This year hasn’t been a great year for me for books. Beware the Falling Avocados is still in a stage of editing. My novel is largely non-existent. My reading habits have slackened, partly because I’ve had to go to work on the day I used to go to a reading group. I’m ashamed of my failings. And yet? Yet I love books. I relish a really good novel that I can lose myself in. The image of a roaring log fire, a cosy chair, a large mug of tea, an endless supply of biscuits and/or chocolate and a big book glued to my hand remains a perfect dream.
Is there any reason it can’t happen? All the family like books, though we usually find a screen to hide behind instead. We have a wood-burning stove (and even a few logs to put in it). We also have chairs, just in case you were concerned that the dream might fall flat (!) there. There is never a dearth of chocolate or biscuits. Never.
So my Christmas Book Flood will start with shopping for some extra gifts (books!) and switching off the internet. The children will hate me and I’ll feel frustrated at my inability to receive Christmas greetings on Facebook; but a few gallons of hot chocolate, no restraints on the biscuit tin and lighting the fire in the living room should do the trick.
To everyone, a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.