I’ve always found great comfort in reading for pleasure. Just curling up with a book . . . makes me relax and breathe a little easier. I’ve never found that I prefer reading in one season of the year to another, but I have discovered I like reading certain types of books in the different seasons. (I tend to read classics and memoirs in the summer, for example. Not exclusively, but I’ve discovered that’s a tendency I have. In the winter months, I prefer comfort-books or mysteries for some reason.)

I’ve also always loved receiving books as gifts. When I was a little girl, we didn’t own a lot of books in our family (we were big on weekly trips to the library instead). Books-of-my-own were prized, and very special to me. 

So imagine my delight when I learned about the Icelandic Christmas Eve tradition of Jólabókaflóð, or “Christmas Eve Book Flood.” This lovely cultural practice officially started in 1944, and is deeply rooted in Iceland’s love of literature and storytelling. Here’s what happens: On Christmas Eve, Icelanders exchange books as gifts and then spend the evening in the company of their loved ones, reading together and sharing stories. (I hear the book exchange is accompanied by special treats like hot cocoa, Icelandic chocolates, and special beer, too!)

Wouldn’t it be fun . . . to celebrate the dark days of winter with a “Book Flood”?

When the days are busy and . . . short, I really do enjoy some comfort-reading. Nothing too heavy, and definitely not a  “chewy”  choice. Something . . . a little bit fun. Or adventurous. Maybe even a thriller! 

Last December, I listened to Rosamunde Pilcher’s lovely book, Winter Solstice, and found it to be the perfect book to light up a busy month. It’s a gentle read – comforting and comfortable. Sure, I could see the ending coming from a mile away . . . but I just didn’t care! It was a fun ride to get there. The characters are delightful, the setting is charming, and there is plenty of the hope, love, and connection we all crave — especially during the dark days of December. Maybe you would enjoy it, too?

Reading is wonderful anytime . . . but there’s something extra-special about reading in the dark days of winter!
(I wish we could all celebrate a “Book Flood” together.)

“Books are a uniquely portable magic.”
  — Stephen King

If you’re wondering what this “advent calendar” is all about, you can read my “intro” post here.