Christmas Book Flood | Recommending reading

20 December

Book of the day

gift-theThe Gift
Louise Jensen
(UK: Bookouture, 2016; USA: Bookouture, 2016)

Jenna is given another shot at life when she receives a donor heart from a girl called Callie. Eternally grateful to Callie and her family, Jenna gets closer to them, but she soon discovers that Callie’s perfect family is hiding some very dark secrets …

Callie’s parents are grieving, yet Jenna knows they’re only telling her half the story. Where is Callie’s sister Sophie? She’s been ‘abroad’ since her sister’s death but something about her absence doesn’t add up. And when Jenna meets Callie’s boyfriend Nathan, she makes a shocking discovery.

Jenna knows that Callie didn’t die in an accident. But how did she die? Jenna is determined to discover the truth but it could cost her everything; her loved ones, her sanity, even her life.

Available in the UK via ‘My Local Bookshop‘ search engine or Amazon (The Gift)
Available in the USA via Amazon (The Gift)

readers-22-sunFacts of the day

20 December

1812 The first volume of the first edition of Children’s and Household Tales by Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm was published, known in English as Grimm’s Fairy Tales. This volume comprised 86 stories.

The first volumes were much criticised at the time as being unsuitable for children, even though the book was called Children’s Tales.  Contemporary critics felt the contents were both too scholarly and too adult in their subject matter.


Because of the inclement weather and short summers, not much grows in Iceland, unless it is cultivated in greenhouses. Potatoes, however, have been farmed in Iceland for centuries; people often have a small potato patch in their garden. Icelanders eat potatoes with almost everything – cooked, barbecued, oven baked, gratinated and pan-fried.

In their back yards, Icelanders also often grow rhubarb, strawberries and other berries, carrots, lettuce and other vegetables.

9-bjugnakraekirNinth Yule Lad

In Iceland, the ninth of the 13 Yule Lads visits every home this evening. Tonight, Bjúgnakrækir (Sausage Swiper) will steal your bangers, especially if you have bought any Bjúga for eating.

Bjúgnakrækir is especially partial to Bjúga: a salty, smoked Icelandic sausage. He is so fond of them that he will even crawl through soot and smoke to take them from your home.


Each year there are approximately 20,000 ‘rent-a-Santas’ across the USA. Wannabe Santas usually undergo seasonal training on how to maintain a jolly attitude under pressure from the public. They also receive practical advice, such as not accepting money from parents whilst children are looking and avoiding garlic, onions, or beans for lunch.


On average, a browser in a bookshop spends 8 seconds looking at the front cover of a book and 15 seconds skim-reading the back cover.

Writers birthdays

1579 John Fletcher (UK, England)
1838 Edwin Abbott Abbott (UK, England)
1875 T F Powys (UK)
1911 Hortense Calisher (USA)
1915 Aziz Nesin (Turkey)
1944 Gernot Wolfgruber (Austria)
1951 Peter May (UK)
1954 Sandra Cisneros (USA)
1960 Nalo Hopkinson (Jamaica, Canada)
1976 Ramon Stoppelenburg (The Netherlands)

Jokes of the day

Q: What does Santa do with fat elves?
A: He sends them to an Elf Farm!

Cartoons: Various, Political seasonal cartoons, The Crises

Quote of the day

Alan Bennett, The History Boys: ‘The best moments in reading are when you come across something – a thought, a feeling, a way of looking at things – which you had thought special and particular to you. Now here it is, set down by someone else, a person you have never met, someone even who is long dead. And it is as if a hand has come out and taken yours.’