The tradition of Jolabokaflod is relatively new to me, but it’s one I adore. Every year since World War II, when paper was one of the few things not rationed in Iceland, Icelanders have given books for Christmas. On Christmas Eve, they exchange books and then sit in front of the fire with a mug of hot cocoa, or some other similarly comforting beverage, and spend the rest of the evening reading. The rough translation of Jolabokaflod is “Christmas book flood,” and it conjures up so wonderfully the bounty of giving at Christmas.
With all of this in mind, here is this month’s edition of Booknotes.