It’s not a swear word.
In the native country of Björk, of beautiful volcanic landscapes and auroras borealis -Iceland- takes place a nice tradition celebrated every year.
Jolabokaflod, “Yule Book Flood”, arrives with the winter holidays and is preceded by the arrival of BOKATIDINDI, the official catalog of all the new books published in Iceland, because, eat that!, the Iceland Publishers Association distributes a free catalogue of books to every Icelandic home every year. One more point for Iceland!
OK OK … What is it?
It started supposedly during World War II when foreign imports were rare and restricted, but paper was cheap. The publishers combined efforts in a single annual release of publications at the end of the year, introducing the book as an ideal present in the third more literate country in the world (according to this study)
The books as gift is not unique to Iceland, but the tradition of exchanging books on Christmas Eve and then spending the evening reading has become a cultural habit gaining more audience all around the world every year.
Hear me well, no e-books here, we’re talking about physical books. The Icelanders cherish the book also as an object and have this particular connection with the printed matter.
Offering books? No surprises from a country who counts more writers, books published and books read per head, and where one in ten people will publish at least one book in its lifetime, and another fact : Reykjavík was designated a UNESCO City of Literature in 2011.
Not only the event itself is very pleasing, but think about the swaps and borrowings which follows… It looks like a wonderful tradition, so this year, why not extend the book selection to photobooks category and embrace Iceland folklore with a mug of hot chocolate?