Saturday, December 31, 2016

Jolabokaflod!

      First off, I'm certain some of you are wondering what the hell that word above is. It's the name for an Icelandic holiday that I have begun celebrating in recent years. It translates roughly as "Christmas Book Flood" and the idea is that on December 24th you give friends and family a new book and chocolate. You are then supposed to spend the rest of the evening, warm in your bed, with chocolate at your side and begin reading your new book. It is a  huge thing over there... all of their new book releases tend to be released from September to December just to make the most of this holiday. Also, when they buy books, they don't go cheap. Hardcovers are the preferred gift here and I assume they get snazzy about their chocolate too, though don't quote me on the last.

      Now I've changed that a bit in my own gift giving. For instance, I tend to give softcovers or hardcovers, and the books aren't always newly released. I do my best to not give books out that I haven't read, though it does happen on occasion. I do that so that we can chat about the books once they're done reading it... it's a guaranteed conversation starter later that year. I am also not hung up on giving chocolate. I prefer caramel or salty snacks to chocolate, so I tend to try and give people their preferred snacks (as an example, I gave out small bags of Kernels Christmas flavour popcorn this year and everyone seemed super pleased). But everyone I know gets a book and snack to enjoy.

      Unfortunately, Jolabokaflod is over this year already, but I figured I'd share with you the books that I was given as gifts or that I picked up for myself as part of my Yule book buying binge. I stress that these are in no particular order.

      Firstly, I received Harry Potter and the Cursed Child. I've read the Harry Potter books and while they aren't favourites of mine (I was already over 20 years old when they were released), I do quite enjoy the series so I'll be looking forward to reading this one later this year.


      Next is a super fun and nerdy book called Wordsmiths & Warriors: The English-Language Tourist's Guide to Britain by David and Hilary Crystal. This book is exactly what it sounds like. A look at Britain through the very specific lens of the Warriors who fought for Britain and its poets, writers, ect that helped shape its culture. As a language buff who loves weapons, I can't image a better book for me. Really looking forward to this one.

      Next are three books I bought myself. I am a big fan of the Log Horizon anime and I love the light novels they're coming out with to accompany them, so when I found out that Log Horizon had a set, I picked them up. Last year, I picked up books 1-3 and quite enjoyed them, but then I didn't hear anything else about them until this Christmas when I found books 4-6 gracing the shelves. Needless to say, I picked up all three for myself. I already re-read the first book in the series to prepare for the new set!

      Monstress Volume 1 is a graphic novel that I picked up earlier this year in digital form, but had never finished reading it. A friend of mine picked it up for me in paper copy and I finished it within a day. It's well-written, it has interesting characters and the art is really nice. If you're looking for a good graphic novel to read, you can't go wrong with this one. I think I gave it 4/5 stars on Goodreads.

      Lastly, there's another gift, The Fox & the Peach by Nick Thaler. A YA novel about a kitsune who is being hunted during the time of Oda Nobunga's reign in Japan, I started this one just a few days ago and am quite enjoying it so far. I was really excited to start this one since its a book about a kitsune that I hadn't heard of yet! That is always a pick me up!

      I'll leave you with my personal New Year tradition. Every year, I head to the bookstore on the 31rst or the 1st and buy myself one book. That book must fit three critia to be bought. One is that I must enjoy the cover art. Two, I must find the idea of the book interesting. Three, I must have never read anything written by that author before. Basically, it's like a blind date with a book and makes sure every year I am giving at least one new (to me) author a go. Sometimes I find authors who aren't my thing, and sometimes I find new favourites. The point is that I'm always trying something new for the new year.

      Do you have any bookish traditions? What do you think of the books I got? Either way, let me know and I hope you have a great New Year!


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