Christmas Book Flood | Recommending reading

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Our Book Bulletin for 2021

Iceland’s ‘Book Bulletin’ for Jolabokaflod at Christmas 2021

Merry Christmas, everyone – and happy Jolabokaflod for 24 December. We hope you received the books you wanted and are already deep in concentration, reading – lost in the worlds created by the writing on the page.

On the surface 2021 has been a second fallow year for Jolabokaflod CIC, due to lockdown caused by the coronavirus pandemic. You will be glad to learn, however, that we have been hard at work at a deeper level out of the necessity to pivot. Here are some of the activities we initiated during the year.

Refuge in Literacy UK

In February 2021, our Founder (Christopher Norris) began to mentor children’s author Anne Stairmand about setting up a social enterprise to build on a generous gift she donated at Christmas 2020 when she gave 50 signed copies of her books to a local refuge centre. The strength of the positive reaction she received inspired her to make this connection more permanent.

We guided Anne on her journey to create a not-for-profit company called Refuge in Literacy UK with two meta goals:

  • Ensuring children in refuge own copies of books signed by their authors
  • Teaching parents how to support their children’s learning how to read successfully

Refuge in Literacy UK soft-launched in November 2021 with an in-person conference-style event to bring the CIC’s stakeholders together for the first time and to share the vision for the future.

At Christmas 2021, the company has a board of 10 people and is working to send more signed books to refuges, with around 30 authors in the scheme already. It is also creating reading prompts that will help parents read the books with their children.

Christopher has agreed to become a non-executive director of Refuge in Literacy UK in the New Year, advising on strategy and fundraising at the company’s biannual board meetings. The social enterprise is set to grow rapidly in 2022.

Theme of the month at Founders and Mentors

In October 2021 we were delighted to publish a month of themed content in The Creative Collective community at Founders and Mentors, the free-to-access platform that supports pre-launch founders, inventors and creatives with free mentoring to launch startups, inventions and creative projects more successfully. This content comprised information, polls, questions and a ‘call to action’ for member s to consider making Jolabokaflod part of the way they celebrate the festive season, whether or not they celebrate Christmas.

The Wisdom of Coffee

The month of promotion was backed up by the Wisdom of Coffee network, both at its eponymous Founders and Mentors community (The Wisdom of Coffee) and at its Meetup group (The Wisdom of Coffee), remaining members to get involved with the Jolabokaflod tradition.

Secret Santa with a twist

We ran a pilot scheme at Founders and Mentors to run a ‘Secret Santa’-style promotion with a Jolabokaflod flavour: Secret Jólasveinn

We invited members of the Founders and Mentors global network to participate in a scheme to buy and send a book of their choice to the person they selected at random ‘out of the Santa hat’. Seven members participated in the pilot.

Although this was a small group of people in the inaugural event, everyone enjoyed the activity as a way of engaging with each other and the wider Founders and Mentors community.

We shall scale up the Secret Jólasveinn project for Christmas 2022, so that everyone who wants to take part can do so, wherever they are in the world.

What’s next?

The Omicron variant of Covid-19 is surging as we post this update. The future is unclear from this vantage point as to when everyone will be able to resume their lives unaffected by protocols imposed as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. There are a few things, however, that we can predict with some degree of certainty:

  • The end of the pandemic is not currently in sight, especially if vaccines and other treatments are not shared globally by countries with the resources to do so
  • Life will be different for all of us once the pandemic is in the rear-view mirror
  • Our collective tastes and preferences may change in the light of our experience of living through a pandemic.

With so much unknown about the future, Jolabokaflod CIC will continue to stay agile in how we promote the ‘Christmas book flood’ tradition around the world. We have plenty of ideas in the pipeline, which we shall reveal and promote at the appropriate time – and as the pandemic allows.

Enough from us – now enjoy the rest of the festive season and go bury your head in a book.

Jolabokaflod CIC

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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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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.


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Book your recommendations with Book Bulletin: Winter 2018

This winter’s opportunity to tell the world about your favourite books, yourself and your projects is now open. By contributing to the Book Bulletin 2018 crowdfunding campaign at CrowdPatch, you are paying for space in the catalogue to display your book recommendations and to promote yourselves and your company, organisation and projects.

Each book recommendation can be purchased from book retailers by clicking through title-specific links in the Book Bulletin catalogue.

The Book Bulletin 2018 campaign started officially on 27 October 2018 (‘The First Day of Winter‘ in the Old Nordic calendar), covers the Christmas holiday period, and concludes on International Book Giving Day (14 February 2018, St Valentine’s Day).

We recommending buying, giving, reading and contributing to Jolabokaflod CIC, to capture a new spirit of Christmas.

Note: For those of you who are native speakers, here is this year’s Bókati∂indi (the original Book Bulletin), the catalogue of newly published Icelandic titles for Jólabókaflóðið in 2018.

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The Advent of #FutureBook17

The Bookseller’s showcase conference – FutureBook 2017 – was held in London, England, today. According to the trade journal of record, ‘FutureBook brings together leading thinkers in publishing, retail, editorial, writing, marketing and tech, along with speakers from other industries.’

What better occasion is there, on this first day of the Advent calendar, to open a window on the Jolabokaflod Book Campaign for 2017?

The Book Bulletin will evolve between today and International Book Giving Day (14 February 2019) into a rich collection of your recommendations and favourite books. Get involved by reading our advice for the book trade and by contributing to our Book Bulletin 2018 crowdfunding campaign.





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Book Bulletin: Hall of Fame

bokati%e2%88%82indi-4-bathtimeWe are marking the start of the crowdfunding phase of the Book Bulletin campaign – to raise money for next year’s Jolabokaflod UK events and marketing – by adding two new features to the website. Here is the second of these new features.

Hall of Fame

We have add a new section – our Hall of Fame pages – to recognise the financial contributions of supporters of Jolabokaflod Book Campaign crowdfunding projects, including the Book Bulletin.

Anyone who purchases a reward valued as £10 or more gets their name, company and/or project details uploaded for display on these pages as our way of saying ‘Thank you’ by way of public recognition.

We value everyone’s contributions and, in return, we are delighted to support you and your companies/projects with links and digital media promotion.

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Book Bulletin: books in other languages

bokati%e2%88%82indi-5-sofaWe are marking the start of the crowdfunding phase of the Book Bulletin campaign – to raise money for next year’s Jolabokaflod UK events and marketing – by adding two new features to the section. Here is the first of these new features.

Books in other languages

Inspired by the book recommendations sent to us by digital marketer and blogger, Dovilė Malachauskaitė (born in Vilnius, Lithuania, but living in London), we realised it would be great to include books not written in English in the Book Bulletin.

Our new Books in other languages section features books not yet translated into English that are the favourite reads of some of our contributors. Dovilé’s choices are published in French and Polish respectively, so we have added pages for these languages, with the potential to add books in any language that are available in the UK and/or the USA via Amazon.

Please send us your recommendations, irrespective of the language in which they are published, and we shall add them to the new section on all occasions when an English translation is not available.





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Last few hours of free…

bokati%e2%88%82indi-2-openThe end of free…

The Futurebook Conference organised by The Bookseller magazine marks the close of the free phase for book recommendations for the Book Bulletin catalogue. Entries for the books you love or wish to promote are free until midnight on 2 December 2016.

Thank you to everyone who has taken part so far. You have helped to get the catalogue off to a rapid start out of the blocks.

bokati%e2%88%82indi-1-cover… and the start of the crowdfunding campaign

From just after the stroke of midnight, the Book Bulletin project becomes a rewards-based crowdfunding campaign at CrowdPatch, to help fund events and promotion for Jolabokaflod UK in 2017. The 2016 campaign has been fully funded as an act of philanthropy by Christopher Norris, Founder and Curator of the Jolabokaflod Book Campaign.

Please contribute as generously as you can to promote books and your own personal and professional interests.