Christmas Book Flood | Recommending reading

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What Jólabókaflóð means to me: Hallgrímur Helgason

hallgriemur-helgason-2016-ljosm-gassiHere is the second in our Icelandic Perspectives series of reflections by famous writers and prominent public figures on their memories, thoughts, opinions  and anecdotes about the long-standing national tradition of Jólabókaflóð.

The second writer to feature in the series is award-winning novelist, playwright, columnist and painter, Hallgrímur Helgason.

Read Hallgrímur’s personal take on the Christmas Book Flood – ‘Book lives matter‘ – and compare his thoughts with his compatriots’ reflections as they are published in the Icelandic Perspectives section of this website.

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If you love Jolabokaflod, please like us at Facebook

readers-12-sunAs Jolabokaflod hits its stride this Christmas in Iceland, the UK and beyond, please “Like” its Community page at Facebook to boost the profile of our campaign to encourage people to buy books as gifts for loved one to read this Christmas.

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What Jólabókaflóð means to me: Gerður Kristný

gerdur-kristny-1Here is the first article in our Icelandic Perspectives series of reflections by famous writers and prominent public figures on their memories, thoughts, opinions  and anecdotes about the long-standing national tradition of Jólabókaflóð.

The first writer to feature in the series is award-winning poet, playwright, biographer and novelist, Gerður Kristný.

Read Gerður’s personal take on the Christmas Book Flood – ‘Deck the Halls with Books‘ – and compare her thoughts with her compatriots’ reflections as they are published in the Icelandic Perspectives section of this website.

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Hygge and Jolabokaflod

story-tellingAt this time of doom, gloom and austerity, we are all in need of learning about what makes us happy. With nifty commercial nous, publishers have spotted an opportunity to haul us out of our malaise and depression: the Danish concept of hygge.

What is hygge?

The reason books have been written on the subject is because hygge does not have a direct translation equivalent in English. As Winnie-th-Pooh tells Piglet. ‘You don’t spell it [love], you feel it’. Here are some approximations, suggested by Meik Wiking in his recent book, The Little Book of Hygge: The Danish Way to Live Well:

  • red-bk-mid-left‘the art of creating intimacy’
  • ‘cosiness of the soul’
  • ‘the absence of annoyance’
  • ‘taking pleasure from the presence of soothing things’
  • ‘cocoa by candlelight’

He gives by example an idyllic scene, to describe the experience. Imagine a group of friends, retired to the lounge of a ski chalet after an excellent meal, sipping hot, percolated coffee and liqueurs in comfy armchairs next to a roaring log fire – oblivious to the snow blizzard doing its worst outside. Hygge suggests a sense of warmth and comfort in the throes of the worst the world can throw at us.

Iceland int; woman readingIs Jolabokaflod hygge?

In the Utopic scene above, imagine that the friends are on holiday in Iceland and it is Christmas Eve. The friends have just eaten an amazing Christmas meal to mark the festive season and are settling into their armchairs to open their presents, some of which are books. The friends spend the rest of the evening – Christmas Eve – exchanging intelligent conversation, drinking mulled wine and reading.

This is Jokabokaflod in action: a prime example of a hygge tradition.

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Let’s get the Icelanders to come for World Book Night

Map; IslandiaLet’s do this!

You have until World Book Night to get stuck into The Icelanders Cometh and help to make it happen.

We need to raise at least £2304.16 by 23 April 2016 as a gift to UK libraries to spend on books by Icelandic authors published in English.

Here’s how you can get involved …


Give us your money in exchange for a range of rewards, that range from virtual hugs to advertising opportunities.

If you have a project or company to publicise, or you would simply like to get your name out there (e.g. to a future employer), there are plenty of digital marketing perks as reward for your financial contribution.

Donating to The Icelanders Cometh could be your breakthrough, a change to get yourself or your project to the next level.

Simply click on the ‘Contribute’ button at The Icelanders Cometh page at CrowdPatch, choose a reward and send your money via PayPal.

All the money you contribute – 100 per cent – will be spent on books for libraries. Neither Jolabokaflod nor CrowdPatch receives any fees for running the crowdfunding campaign

Thank you in advance for your contribution!


We’d love you you to help in practical ways to enthuse people about being a part of making The Icelanders Cometh happen.

We’d be delighted for you to do any of the following – and anything else that comes to mind – to help us to raise as much money as we can and to get the buzz going:

  • write a few emails
  • make some suggestions
  • use your skills and talents
  • develop your experience

We’d love to hear from you. Simply click on the ‘Volunteer’ button at The Icelanders Cometh page at CrowdPatch and tell us what you would like to do.

Get stuck in!


We hope you love The Icelanders Cometh enough to spread the news about the project via social media.

Simply click on the ‘Share’ button at The Icelanders Cometh page at CrowdPatch and then tell your world.

Like to learn more?

Read full details about The Icelanders Cometh in this press release written for the London Book Fair 2016.

If you’re a journalist, blogger, teacher or researcher, please check out the Press area to find what you need.

If you have any questions, please get in touch:


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New ‘Authors’ menu tab supports The Icelanders Cometh

A writer for every taste

Whether you’re into reading crime fiction, award-winning literary fiction or medieval myths and histories, will tickle your tastebuds.

Experience the best that Nordic noir can offer by reading novels by Arnaldur IndriðasonYrsa Sigurðardóttir and Ragnar Jónasson. Enter the worlds created by comic genius Halldór Laxness, the 1955 Nobel Laureate. Or, immerse yourself in heroic tales of life in Iceland from 1000 years ago, featuring Gods, monsters, heroes and villains.

Better still, make sure you help all readers in the UK enjoy these authors’ work by contributing money to The Icelanders Cometh crowdfunding campaign for libraries, as well as volunteering your help and sharing the project by word-of-mouth and digital media.

Let’s raise £2304.16 by World Book Night (23 April 2016), to introduce these great writers to readers new to their work for their delight and appreciation.

Featured authors

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The Icelanders Cometh

Call to action for Jolabokaflod Book Campaign’s first crowdfunding project

Iceland is a land in love with books and literature. Ever since the country gained independence from Denmark at the end of World War II, the Icelandic tradition of Jólabókaflóð (Christmas Book Flood) has encouraged citizens to buy books to give to family and friends for reading at Christmas.

Endorsed by senior Icelandic diplomats and by literature organisations in Iceland and the UK, I launched Jolabokaflod Book Campaign at the RSA in November 2015, to extend the reach of the Icelandic literary tradition to the UK and the rest of the world. The Jolabokaflod Book Campaign encourages people everywhere to Buy books to Give as gifts to be Read at or after festive occasions.

The Icelanders Cometh at CrowdPatch

The Jolabokaflod Book Campaign has teamed up with CrowdPatch, the social enterprise crowdfunding platform, to offer anyone in the world with a great idea for championing the buying, giving and reading of books the chance to manage a book-related project to benefit their local and/or online communities.

In order to get the ball rolling, as an example of how you could run a project, I am launching the first Jolabokaflod Book Campaign crowdfunding project on 24 March 2016 to finish at midnight on World Book Night (23 April 2016). Called The Icelanders Cometh, this project is raising money for UK librarians to purchase books in English by chosen Icelandic authors to add to their lending stock.

The Icelanders Cometh is live already, but will launch to the world on Maundy Thursday. The target figure is GBP £2304.16 (the date of World Book Night), but the more money raised, the more books can be bought for library collections. Every penny raised will be spent by UK libraries on the featured books; CrowdPatch does not take a percentage fee.

The Icelanders Cometh is an opportunity for everyone to get involved right now in the following ways:

  • Contribute By donating to the project, you will receive a reward that will benefit you and/or your projects and businesses (e.g. many types of digital marketing promotion are on offer)
  • Volunteer You can help the project to reach its goals by committing to spread the word face-to-face and online with people in your networks (e.g. engage with schools, libraries, friends, family, bloggers, avid book readers)
  • Share Following this option allows you to tell the friends and followers in your social media networks
  • Thunderclap I need as many of you as possible – 100 or more – to sign up to The Icelanders Cometh Thunderclap campaign – register here – so that a burst of social media messages about the project are sent at 8.00 am on 24 March to get the project off with a bang.

Get in touch

The Icelanders Cometh is just the beginning; starting from now, the Jolabokaflod Book Campaign will champion many crowdfunding projects and will publicise as many book-related marketing and reading initiatives as possible.

If you would like to contact me with ideas, suggestions, questions and/or contact leads, please do so in one of the following ways:

New content will be uploaded regularly at the websites supported by an integrated digital marketing campaign.

You can also subscribe to a regular Jolabokaflod Book Campaign newsletter comprising news, opinions, events, training opportunities and job vacancies: register here.

Welcome aboard!

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