Jolabokaflod

Christmas Book Flood | Recommending reading


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‘Reading for Pleasure’ cash prize competition announced

Here is our press release about a new competition to promote Jolabokaflod (Christmas book flood), the 75-year-old Icelandic literary tradition: Jolabokaflod launches ‘Reading for Pleasure’ competition at 12R Prizes.

Jolabokaflod CIC’s £500 cash prize contest opened on 26 October 2019 (First Day of Winter in Iceland) for entries in less than 500 words to be submitted until Christmas Eve (the culmination of Jolabokaflod in Iceland). The competition is open to everyone in the book trade and in the general public beyond (as long as they not involved with the judging process): the application for the ‘Reading for Pleasure Prize’ is hosted on the 12R Prizes platform: Reading for Pleasure Prize.

We are looking for entries that have the following characteristics:

  • ORIGINALITY: Innovative solutions that have the power to capture people’s imaginations.
  • IMPACT: Disruptive ideas that have the potential to break through into the book trade and the public sphere via the press and media.
  • FEASIBILITY: Practical ideas that can be implemented with reasonable allocation of time, money and other resources and that have the potential to be replicated easily elsewhere.
  • PUBLIC INTEREST: Compelling ideas that can re-engage people with the idea that reading for pleasure is an enjoyable and valuable entertainment choice at any time of year.

An international panel of book-trade experts will judge the eligible entries. A shortlist of potential winners will be announced on New Year’s Day with the winner revealed on 6 January 2020 (Twelfth Night).

From 7 January to 14 February 2020 (International Book Giving Day), Jolabokaflod CIC will run a crowdfunding campaign at CrowdPatch to put the winning entry into action by raising money, awareness and engagement.

We invite everyone reading this announcement to submit your entries for the ‘Reading for Pleasure Prize’ competition. Good luck!


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Happy Fyrsti Vetrardagur

Iceland celebrates the First Day of Winter every year (Fyrsti Vetrardagur), marking the beginning of Gor, the first winter month in the Old Norse calendar. Viking culture recognised two seasons – summer and winter – that matched changing daylight hours giving a rhythm to farming. In the Arctic Circle, the cycle of the seasons leads to long summer days and long winter nights.

The First Day of Winter always falls on the first Saturday after the 26th week of summer: this year the date is today, 26 October 2019.

In Reykjavík, the occasion is marked by restaurants on one of the main shopping streets, Skólavörðustígur, offering around 1500 litres of free meat soup (kjötsúpa) to the public. The traditional broth is a soup-cum-stew made with mutton and seasonal winter vegetables, like potatoes, parsnips and swedes. By tradition, the restaurants started the afternoon ritual by first feeding prisoners at a reception jail on the street, but the 19th-century stone building was decommissioned in 2016. City residents then queue in long lines to get their share of the soup.

At Jolabokaflod CIC, the First Day of Winter also marks the launch of our Book Bulletin 2019 campaign at CrowdPatch. This crowdfunding project rewards people with entries in the online catalogue for books of their choice plus classified ads to promote the contributors, their work and their personal projects and enthusiasms. The Book Bulletin is hosted on this website, to give you great ideas for Christmas presents – and for any other special occasion – for your friends and family.

Why not browse the catalogue to find ideas for early seasonal gifts?


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Books of the Day: one recommendation per time zone

The Spring Bank Holiday Monday is drawing to a close in the UK, traditionally a time when people first venture to the seaside in the knowledge that summer is just around the corner. National days leave in Britain are so called due to the tradition that banks are closed for business on these days, a custom harking back to the late 19th century when clerks needed branch closure time to update accounts and tally bookkeeping. Nowadays bank holidays are retained to give tired workers a decent break to relax and recover from the stress of life over long weekends and the opportunity to enjoy extra leisure time.

In the holiday spirit of today’s day off work, we are drawing attention to Jolabokaflod’s Book of the Day feature.

Every day of our campaign to celebrate the Sumarbokaflod season (from 25 April to 8 September 2019), we are publishing one recommendation suggestion from either an A-list celebrity reader or a crowdfunding contributor who has purchased a GBP £50.00 reward from our live Book Bulletin project.

Today, at a rate of one per hour, we are tweeting the first 12 books in the Book of the Day sequence, one title per time zone. From tomorrow onwards, we shall reveal each Book of the Day title on the day in which it features.

We hope you get inspired to read some of the Book of the Day titles recommended for you in the coming weeks and months, especially when you take a relaxing evening, a lazy weekend mini-break or a chilled-out vacation in order to read for pleasure.


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There’s 4.19 books born every minute

Never one to miss an opportunity to make analogies, today – 5 May – is International Day of the Midwife. Whilst the medical world of baby sherpas have their awareness day in the sunshine – this year the emphasis is on defending women’s rights – here at Jolabokaflod Towers we can extend the metaphor to include authors giving birth to their work (all 2,200,000 per year around the world). Once you suspend disbelief to compare and contrast the process, there are similarities:

  • The decision to write a book can be years in the making
  • Aspiring authors can attend ante-natal classes to learn about the publishing process
  • Research is a key factor in planning for a new arrival
  • The act of consummation involves love, foreplay, mind games and active imagination
  • The foetus moves through many evolutionary drafts
  • Authors often don’t know how their work will turn out until it is completed
  • Gestation of a manuscript in an author’s room often takes around nine months
  • The birthing process is often painful and may need to be induced with coffee and/or alcohol, depending on the time of day and the severity of the discomfort
  • There is often a room in the house that needs painting, even if this is only a displacement activity
  • Delivery of a manuscript via an agent is usually a joyous occasion
  • Finding a place for a moulding the future of a manuscript, taught by publishing tutors, can involve moving house
  • Some authors prefer their offspring to be home-schooled
  • The growth of a book is part nature, part nurture
  • In the genetic make up of successful books, X marks the spot and Y gets an answer
  • The First Day at School is celebrated in the company of friends and colleagues with free-flowing, warm white wine, liberal helpings of cake, copious tears of pride and a few congratulatory speeches

So, please be up-standing – and raise your glass of flat Prosecco with us – to toast the author-parents of the world and their publisher-midwives, as well as – obvs – the unsung heroines (and heroes) that help to bring our real-world babies into the universe.


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The reading of business (and vice versa)

According to Ananthanarayanan V (Founder and CEO: Techdivine Creative Services) in Entrepreneur India magazine ‘books are a great source of learning for entrepreneurs’. Why would this be so? The article argues that this comes as a result of ‘wisdom from industry leaders who have brought forth their decades of rich valuable experiences and learnings in the form of a book.’

The article identifies nine sub-genres of business that benefit from the slow release of information over the chapters of a book. The links provide recommendations for great books on each subject:

Entrepreneurs will always seek out the wisdom in books – and will seek to impact their own wisdom by writing books of their own. This is a never-ending positive spiral of creativity, flair and the opportunity to start businesses and make money.


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Freedoms to report and prosper

Another day, another international occasion to commemorate: today is World Press Freedom Day (3 May), hot on the heels of World Intellectual Property Day (26 April); both United Nation’s designated awareness days

World Press Freedom Day is an opportunity to celebrate the fundamental principles of press freedom; assess the state of press freedom throughout the world; defend the media from attacks on their independence; and pay tribute to journalists who have lost their lives in the line of duty.

In parallel World Intellectual Property Day creates the chance to learn about the role that intellectual property (IP) rights play in encouraging innovation and creativity.

The two concepts are linked: freedom to investigate and report news stories that impact society is fuelled by the opportunity for authors to benefit financially from their work, including books that build on the findings on investigative journalists.

When these human rights are denied, the likes of Amnesty International, PEN International, Reporters Without Borders, Witness, and Prisoners Abroad step in to highlight bad behaviour by leaders and regimes that exclude dissenting voices from public conversations.

When the press has the freedom to investigate and when intellectual property laws give writers an income to support their work, we all benefit and have the chance to live in a better world.

 


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The First Days of Summer: Sumarbokaflod campaign launch

Today – 1 May – is May Day, a celebration of the seasons changing, especially in Celtic festivals like Beltane as well in modern times as International Workers’ Day, an occasion to celebrate workers’ rights, and International Day of the Icelandic Horse.

In Iceland, this seasonal tradition is slightly earlier: the First Day of Summer (sumardagurinn fyrsti) is an annual public holiday held on the first Thursday after 18 April. This year, the First Day of Summer was marked on 25 April 2019. The occasion is marked around the country with parades, outdoor entertainment (including sporting events and children’s games) and free access to museums and exhibitions. This custom derives from the nation’s former use of the Old Norse calendar, which divided the year into two seasons: winter and summer. Years were considered less important than seasons: people saw their age in terms of the number of winters they had lived.

Here at Jolabokaflod CIC, we are celebrating these First Days of Summer by promoting our current Book Bulletin catalogue, full of book recommendation ideas for taking on holiday over the next few months, and to highlight our crowdfunding campaign for you to get your book title suggestions into the Book Bulletin – along with information about you and any project or issue you would like to promote – at a starting contribution of £10.00.

We shall be active online over the summer publicising all things book-related of interest to readers and book-trade professions. We call this campaign Sumarbokaflod (Sumarbókaflóðið, the summer book flood) to both name-check the long-standing Jólabókaflóðið Christmas tradition and to remind everyone that books make for great gifts at any time of year, especially for taking on vacation during our summer breaks.