I love the idea of Jólabókaflóð. It’s an Icelandic tradition (roughly translated as ‘Yule book flood’), in which people give one another books on 24th December and then curl up in cosy places to read them whilst drinking hot chocolate or jólabland. The practice began during World War II; paper was one of the few commodities that wasn’t rationed, which meant that books became a popular gift choice.
I’d like to do a bit of Jólabókaflóðið-ing myself this year, so I’ve been thinking about the books I’d like to give (and, if lucky, receive).
As a big fan of physical books, I can’t help but notice that there are only so many one can physically accommodate and/or afford to buy. (Big sigh……..) As a result, I’ve been looking for ways to sift through the extraordinary number of books out there to decide which ones to choose.
Here are a few of the resources I’m finding helpful:
Blinkist is an app and a website where you can get “key ideas from bestselling nonfiction distilled by experts into bitesize text and audio”. I use it to help me understand what a given book is about and whether or not it’s of interest. Sometimes just reading the ‘blinks’ is enough information. Often it inspires me to get the book itself and read it thoroughly. A useful selection tool. There’s a 7-day free trial available via the website if you’d like to try it out.
Scribd is a library of audiobooks, ebooks, magazines and documents. In return for a monthly subscription (similar to the cost of buying one new paperback a month) you can access unlimited books and articles. Great if you like to read widely and dip into lots of sources without having to buy them all. There’s a 30-day free trial available here if you’d like to find out more.
I love this list. Each month, Ryan shares information about the best fiction and non-fiction books he’s read over the last few weeks. He covers a huge range of subjects and has switched me on to all sorts of gems over the last year or two. Free to subscribe – just follow this link.
Each year in Iceland, newly published books are listed in a catalogue that is sent to every household in the country in mid-November during the Reykjavik Book Fair. People use the catalogue to order books to give friends and family for Christmas. Not living in Iceland myself, I was grateful to come across this list from the lovely people at the Do Lectures. Would recommend a look.