If you follow TBTP on a regular basis you are well aware of my tremendous affection for Iceland and all things Icelandic. One of the most surprising things about the island nation is the love of books and reading. In fact, Iceland prints more books per capita than any other country in the world, with over 50% of Icelanders reading more than eight books per year. One of the country’s most popular Christmas traditions focuses on books as gifts. Jólabókaflóð – loosely translated as ‘Christmas flood of books’ – is a literary Christmas celebration that begins with the printing of the Bókatíðindi book catalog by the Icelandic Publisher’s Association in mid-November and ends with the giving, receiving, and reading of new books on Christmas Eve.
If you are intrigued by Iceland and its traditions, and you’d like to learn more about the magical island and its traditions, check out the marvelous series of books on the country’s culture, traditions, history, and travel by my friend Alda Sigmundsdóttir . Her recent title The Little Book of Tourists in Iceland is a must if you’re thinking of a visit when the pandemic finally ends and The Little Book of Icelanders at Christmas will explain local holiday lore, such as the Yule Lads and the wonderful Jólabókaflóð.