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Chapter 51 - Jolabokaflod

I wrote a blog about this Icelandic Christmas tradition a few years back but because I love the idea of it so much, I am sharing it again.

During World War II imports to Iceland were limited but paper was very cheap so people began giving each other books as gifts for Christmas. The tradition continued after the war as friends and family gave each other books to read on Christmas Eve. Icelanders sit, presumably, before a roaring fire with book in hand and relax before Christmas festivities begin. Oh wait, I forgot to mention, this book reading bonanza is almost always accompanied by chocolate and well, maybe a glass of wine or two.

So to celebrate our Scandinavian friends, here is a list of Scandinavian books you might consider giving or reading on your own Christmas Eve!

Anxious People by Fredrik Backman - As I've mentioned before I am a big fan of most anything Backman and I very much enjoyed his latest. A bank robber muddles a heist and ends up taking a group of people hostage during a real estate open house. Filled with whimsy, humor, and wonderful insight, I recommend this book highly.

Faceless Killers by Henning Mankell - Sadly, Mankell died a few years ago but Faceless Killers was the first of his Kurt Wallender series. The series is a typical Nordic detective series - dark, wintry, and more than a little gruesome but a good series nonetheless.

The 100 Year Old Man Who Climbed Out of the Window and Disappeared by Jonas Jonasson - After a long life Allan Karlsson ends up in a nursing home with staff and residents getting ready to celebrate his 100th birthday. Not happy with the big event planned he decides to escape and embarks on an unexpected journey.

The Keeper of Lost Causes by Jussi Adler-Olsen - After his police colleagues have been killed in a operation where Carl Morck didn't draw his gun, he has lost his confidence. Carl is put in charge of Department Q, the cold case department where, as a department of one, he finally gets his chance to redeem himself.

Pippi Longstocking by Astrid Lindgren - I put this in here for all the parents and grandparents out there. This is a book every child should read. Pippi lives by herself in a beautiful Victorian house with her pet monkey and her horse while her sea captain father is lost at sea. Pippi is a precocious redhead who has superhuman strength. With her friends, Tommy and Annika, she has many adventures and this is the first book in a series of four.

Do you have a favorite Scandinavian author? Do you celebrate Jolabokaflod at your house?


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