Happy Jolabokaflod!

Our family tradition is to give and receive and read books for Christmas.

I remember feeling a flood of relief when I realized I could be the "Book Auntie" and give my nieblings books—because while I might not relate to what's popular with little kids—books I know. Books I love.

It was only recently that I learned that everyone in Iceland is just like me!

They celebrate Jólabókaflóðið.

Let's break that word down:

Jól a = Jul or Yule, Christmas.

bók a = book

flóðið. = the flood

Jólabókaflóðið roughly translates as "The Christmas Book Flood."

Every year in Iceland, a big catalog of books comes out before Christmas. Everyone places their orders for book gifts. These presents are opened on Christmas Eve, and then you retire to bed with hot chocolate and your stack of books. How wonderful!!

An Icelandic book catalog called Bokatidindi 2022. The cover features Santa looking at the catalog (he is on the catalog he is reading - it is a recursive image). In the back his wife is smiling and cooking.
Recursive Book Santa is the best Santa

Not everyone celebrates Christmas, of course, but at Socratica we always celebrate reading and literacy. So I hope you will join us every year for this tradition!

Here's what's in my Jólabókaflóðið book stack!

  1. The Spare Man by Mary Robinette Kowal
    I'm so danged lucky. I received a copy of this book from Mary Robinette herself! Along with a special host of goodies including a dog named Gimlet and a boarding pass for the ISS Lindgren. I peeked and there's a map of the ship in the start of the book, and it's a truth universally acknowledged that all wonderful books have a map in the front. I'm such a fan of MRK (do you know her Lady Astronaut series or the Glamourist Histories series?) and I feel a special kinship since we are both launchies.

An out-of-this-world care package!

  1. She Made Me Laugh: My Friend Nora Ephron by Richard Cohen
    I've run out of Nora Ephron essays to read. Gods could she write—to say nothing of her movies. She was taken from us way too soon. I'm hoping a little of her magic rubbed off on the people around her, her friends, coworkers, the people who were lucky enough to be in her magic circle.

The Dorothy Parker of her generation

  1. Firmament: The Hidden Science of Weather, Climate Change, and the Air The Surrounds Us by Simon Clark
    I've been saving this one since it came out (and was named one of Waterstone's best popular science books of the year). I'm so proud of Simon—not only has he earned his PhD in Physics, he found a way to share it with so many people as an EduTuber and now as an author. So much of research hides away on a shelf, unread except by a select few. It's an astounding thing that has happened in our lifetime—great teachers can reach the whole world.

Look! Up in the sky!

  1. Blake, Jung, and the Collective Unconscious by June Singer
    I love Blake, and I love Jung. Put the two together? Sounds like a marriage made in heaven (no hell this time, William). Blake was certainly tapping into something extra. Primordial. Was it the Collective Unconscious? Maybe I'll find out! 
"For man has closed himself up, till he sees all things thro' narrow chinks of his cavern."

  1. The Owl Service by Alan Garner
    Have you ever come across a book that everyone has read and you've never even heard of? How does that even happen? So apparently this is a classic (A Carnegie Medal winner, even) and I know nothing about it except it involves owls and Welsh folklore and that's good enough for me.

Look, Philip Pullman even wrote an intro—how have I slept on this?

Wishing you a peaceful Winter Break with many good books for company,


My first book HOW TO BE A GREAT STUDENT is available for purchase as an e-book, a paperback, or if you sign up for Kindle Unlimited, you can read it for free.

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