Just in time for Jólabókaflóð* (which I am told by an actual Icelandic person, “is sort of a thing, but not really a thing”–but whatever, who needs excuses to read books on Christmas!) our Haute Macabre staff reads for the past month!
I may have read more nonfiction in the past two months than I have in my entire life, and though I’m never going to adore the true life telling of a thing as much as I do a rousing tale of high fantasy, I have come to realize its vast importance, and it is a practice I hope to keep up with in 2019 and beyond.
* RE: Jólabókaflóð. I first began seeing mention of this in 2013 or 2014; it’s purportedly the beloved Icelandic tradition of the “Yule book flood”, wherein everyone retires to their separate corners of the home on Christmas eve to read the books they’d just gotten for Christmas. RIGHT ON. Except not so much, in my (admittedly limited) experience. My partner is Icelandic, and his mother and brothers and Icelandic; I have spent every Christmas with them for the past seven years and not once have I experienced this phenomena. We all just sit around and socialize for about 48 hours straight. I feel terribly cheated, because in that time frame, I could use a moment or two with a quiet book! My partner, as I mentioned above, says, “..well, it. s sort of a thing, but not really a thing. Sort of like how at Thanksgiving people talk about how they are going to eat so much that they will fall into a “food coma” but that’s not really a proper tradition. It’s just the way people talk about it.
However, I just read this NPR article from 2012 where they talk about the concept of Jólabókaflóð having to do with the surge in book sales from late September to November, or most likely, the purchasing of books as gifts. This explanation sits better with me, because I can see evidence of it. Everyone disappearing with their books on Christmas eve and leaving me the hell alone? Not so much.
Image by Caitlin McCarthy