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What our fans read over Christmas

We put out the word on social media around the festive season that we were keen to find out which books our friends and followers were reading on Christmas Eve – and beyond – in the spirit of Jolabokaflod. Here is a review of the responses we received. As always, all the books we mention can be purchased in the UK via the Booksellers’ Association’s My Local Bookshop search engine.

161225-books-asThe avid-reader Mum

Alyson Shipley in East Yorkshire was feeling optimist. Christmas for her was a read-fest of the titles in the picture opposite, which she sent us via Facebook. Hopefully her whole family joined in. Alyson says she is already into the seventh book in her haul of books. Here is a list, from top to bottom, for everyone unable to enlarge the photo.

  • Akram’s War, Nadim Safdar (Amazon: UK | USA)
  • Then She Was Gone, Luca Veste (Amazon: UK | USA)
  • Sweet Home, Cathy Bray (Amazon: UK | USA kindle)
  • Far From True (Promise Falls: book 2), Linwood Barclay (Amazon: UK | USA)
  • The Travelers, Chris Pavone (Amazon: UK | USA)
  • Slow Horses (Jackson Lamb: book 1), Mick Herron (Amazon: UK | USA)
  • Dead Lions (Jackson Lamb: book 2), Mick Herron (Amazon: UK | USA)
  • My Name is Leon, Kit de Waal (Amazon: UK | USA)
  • Long Way Home (DI Zigic and DS Ferreira: book 1), Eva Dolan (Amazon: UK | USA)
  • The Museum of You, Carys Bray (Amazon: UK | USA kindle)
  • Cold Earth (Shetland: book 7), Anne Cleeves (Amazon: UK | USA)
  • The Blood Card (Stephens and Mephisto: book 3), Elly Griffiths (Amazon: UK | USA)
  • The Twenty-Three (Promise Falls: book 3), Linwood Barclay (Amazon: UK | USA)
  • A Divided Spy (Thomas Kill: book 3), Charles Cumming (Amazon: UK | USA)

ln-linkedin The booktuber

Meanwhile, Leena Normington at Just Kiss My Frog posted her thoughts via YouTube. These are the books she was thinking about buying family and friends for Christmas. Maybe Leena will share which titles she actually gave as presents this year and how her loved ones are getting on with reading them. Here’s a list of the books she mentions in the order in which she talks about them

  • How to be Parisian, Anne Berest, Audrey Diwan, Caroline de Maigret and Sophie Mas (Amazon: UK | USA)
  • Feral, George Monbiot (Amazon: UK | USA)
  • War and Peace, Leo Tolstoy (Amazon: UK | USA)
  • How to Survive the End of the World as we Know It, James Wesley Rawlesa (Amazon: UK | USA)
  • Introducing George The Poet: Search Party, A Collection of Poems, George the Poet (Amazon: UK | USA)
  • Wildflower, Drew Barrymore (Amazon: UK | USA)
  • Zayn: The Official Autobiography, ZAYN [Zayn Malik] (Amazon: UK)
  • The Descent of Man, Grayson Perry (Amazon: UK | USA)
  • Bitten by Witch Fever: Wallpaper and Arsenic in the Nineteenth-Century Home, Lucinda Hawksley (Amazon: UK | USA)
  • Feminist Fight Club: An Office Survival Manual (For a Sexist Workplace), Jessica Bennett (Amazon: UK | USA)
  • Bridget Jones’s Baby: The Diaries, Helen Fielding (Amazon: UK | USA)
  • Sofia Khan is Not Obliged, Alisha Malik (Amazon: UK | USA)
  • Eat Sweat Play: How Sport Can Change Our Lives, Anna Kessel (Amazon: UK | USA kindle)
  • Let Them Eat Chaos, Kate Tempest (Amazon: UK | USA)
  • The Elements of Eloquence, Mark Forsyth (Amazon: UK | USA)
  • The Myth of Meritocracy, James Bloodworth (Amazon: UK | USA)

161225-books-abThe book blogger

Adele Blair writes the Kraftireader blog, which shares her ‘love of reading, crafting, recipes, music and shopping bargains. Adele tweeted that she had bought ten books this year as present and was, in return, enjoying reading books she had received as gifts:

  • The Phantom Tree, Nicola Cornick (Amazon: UK)
  • The Liberation, Kate Furnivall (Amazon: UK | USA kindle)
  • a treasured child’s picture-book
  • a prized cookbook

The main photo on her blog’s home page shows a haul of favourite books. Adele must get through many cups of tea and have a generally sunny disposition. Here are the books she has highlighted:

  • Me Before You, JoJo Moyes (Amazon: UK | USA)
  • Fudge Berries and Frog’s Knickers, Lynda Renham (Amazon: UK | USA kindle)
  • The Teashop on the Corner, Milly Johnson (Amazon: UK | USA kindle))
  • Just for Christmas, Scarlett Bailey (Amazon: UK | USA kindle)

lc-twitterThe tweeter

Luke Conboye announced on Christmas Day via Twitter – his handle is @Someronrebel – that he was reading Nightblind by Ragnar Jónasson. Excellent choice, sir.

  • Nightblind (Dark Iceland: book 2), Ragnar Jónasson (Amazon: UK | USA kindle)

The authors

Valerie Galantevg-twitter is a licensed psychologist who tweeted via @ValGalantePhD to tell us that she was reading The Untethered Soul: The Journey Beyond Yourself by Michael A Singer over Christmas:

  • The Untethered Soul: The Journey Beyond Yourself, Michael A Singer (Amazon: UK | USA)

Valerie is a self-published author. Here are the books she has written:

  • Finding Your Way, Valerie Galante (Amazon: UK | USA)
  • Spirit Manifested: Poetic Reflections on Life, Valerie Galante (Amazon: UK | USA)
  • The Way of Yeshua, Valerie Galante (Amazon: UK | USA)

le-twitterLynne E Blackwood is an as-yet unpublished novelist (RINGS OF CHALK) and a prize-winning writer of short stories and poetry. She began writing in April 2012 after illness terminated her professional activity as a community project development consultant working with women asylum seekers and ethnic minorities.

Lynne told us she was reading Marlon James novel A Brief History of Seven Killings and spending part of the holiday season revising her thriller set in the Caucasus, RINGS OF CHALK

  • A Brief History of Seven Killings, Marlon James (Amazon: UK | USA)


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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 celebrate Jolabokaflod

Today is the last shopping Saturday before Christmas and tomorrow is the last day for making purchases at online retailers for delivery before the holiday period begins. In preparation for the inaugural Jolabokaflod book campaign in 2016, let’s get alongside our Icelandic friends and celebrate Jolabokaflod this year, too.

Here is what you can do in the coming week:

✶  Buy  Books are high in emotional value. Buy books for your friends and family to build relationships and create positive memories.

✶  Give  Give books to your loved ones to celebrate the festive season, whatever your faith or belief. Download the Jolabokaflof bookplate to show your friend or family member how much you love and value them.

✶  Read  Encourage your loved ones to find time over the holidays to read the books you have given them

Also, commit to asking your friends and family how the are getting on with reading the books you give them. Are they enjoying the book? How does the book make them feel?

Use Jolabokaflod in 2015 as a way of strengthening bonds and showing how much you care about books and about your loved ones having great reading experiences.

This blog will publish items to keep you informed about Jolabokaflod news and about how you can get actively involved in the grassroots, interactive book campaign next year.

Merry Jolabokaflod.

Bauble; gold; red