Happy Jolabokaflod! Or, Giving Books for the Holidays

JOLABOKAFLOO
Meme from Lit Lovers Facebook Page.

There’s a meme floating around Facebook right now that I first saw linked on LitLovers, which is a great Facebook page to follow by the way.  It talks about Jolabokaflod, or the Icelandic tradition of giving books on Christmas Eve.  Most new books are published during the Christmas season in Iceland, apparently, and therefore Jolabokaflod means ‘Christmas Book Flood.’  The tradition in Iceland is that everyone spends the rest of the evening reading.  I first heard of this tradition long ago, and to me, this sounds like heaven.

Every year I always ask people to give books.  They aren’t just presents for kids, they are presents that, hopefully, anyone of any age can enjoy.  I know not everyone likes to read as much as I do.  But most everyone I know reads something, and if you can choose a book that speaks to the person, that says something about who they are, or where they have been in life, or might be going in life, then I think you have given a tangible object that can still be unwrapped, and that carries a far weightier meaning.

That’s why I’ve appreciated some of the great posts from other book bloggers out there.  I found this one, from Books on the Table, to be very well thought out, and speaks to the idea that you don’t just pull a bestseller off the shelf and call it a gift.  I’ve actually purchased two of the cocktail books mentioned as gifts.  I was also inspired by this post from River City Reading, that talks about giving some love to some smaller presses.  Since I run one of those, and have enjoyed at least one title in the list she gives, I’m all for this.  And over at Book Riot, they’ve just put up a post about some great recent releases in fantasy in 2015.

If I were to add something, I might suggest the mystery series by Robert Galbraith, aka JK Rowling, for fans of mystery and suspense.  For the history lover, and the literature lover, and I would suggest NO Lit, which, I will explicitly say is compiled by friends of mine, but is what I consider a pretty great book for perusing on Christmas Eve or Day.  There’s lots of gorgeous tidbits about New Orleans writers (think beyond Tennessee Williams) that you can share with friends and family over coffee, cocktails, and canapes.  For the nonfiction lover, or the fashionista, perhaps a biography of the fascinating life of Coco Chanel?  My point is, there is a book out there for every interest.

I would tell you what books I’ve selected for my family this year, but I don’t want to ruin the surprise.  I can give you a hint, though – they all involve food!  But what books will you give this holiday season?  What books do you recommend as gifts?

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