anna brones

writer + artist + activist

Posts Tagged ‘reading

Jólabókaflóð

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When it’s cold outside, there’s the gentle call of curling up with a book and a mug of tea or coffee (or even a glass of wine or a beer). Reading is wonderful any time of year, but if I was going to pick a reading season, winter would certainly be it; when it’s cold and dark, we want to curl up with a good story.

Maybe it’s the cold darkness of the north that has led to Iceland’s popular Jólabókaflóð, otherwise known as the “Christmas book flood.” Not only are many new titles released this time of year, but the majority of Icelandic book sales happen at this time, everyone prepping to gift a book come Christmas.

The tradition has its roots in World War II, when many imported items were heavily regulated, but paper remained fairly inexpensive. The book became the holiday gift of choice, and it still is today.

It all kicks off when the Iceland Publishers Association distributes a free copy of Bokatidindi  – the annual catalog of new book releases – to every single Icelandic household. It’s a season of book buying and book giving. “It’s considered a total flop Christmas if you do not get a book,” Icelandic writer Yrsa Sigurðardóttir told Read it Forward. Just imagine if children (and adults for that matter) were upset because they didn’t get a book as opposed to whatever new version of iGadget was on their list.

Having a culture of books and reading comes with many benefits. 93% of Icelanders read at least one book a year, compared with only 73% of Americans. (To put that another way, one of of four Americans isn’t reading at least one book a year.) Iceland publishes more books per capita than any other country in the world, and one out of 10 Icelanders will publish a book in their lifetime.

For those of us who don’t live in Iceland, how about creating our own book flood this holiday?

Start by visiting the library. Find a book you didn’t know you wanted to read.

If you read and feel inspired to write, do so.

And finally, in the spirit of not consuming (although, if you are going to buy presents, books are a pretty good option, and remember to be sure to support your local independent book retailer), here’s one final prompt for today to kick of your own Christmas book flood:

Go to your bookcase. Find a book that you loved reading, but are willing to part with. Think of someone who would enjoy reading it. Package it up, and take it to the post on Monday, or gift it to them in person. If there’s one thing better than reading a good book, it’s sharing one with someone else.

This post originally appeared in my 24 Days of  Making, Doing and Being advent calendar. To receive it, sign up for my newsletter

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Written by Anna Brones

December 12, 2017 at 10:03

For a Love of Bikes and Books

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Bike_Book_Ends

“There are perhaps no days of our childhood we lived so fully as those we spent with a favorite book.”

–Marcel Proust

I would add that many of those magic childhood days were also spent on a bicycle. Books help us explore the world, and bicycles do too. Reading a book is a solitary activity, and while cycling is often done with friends, for me there is a pull to those rides when it is just you, the pedals, the road and your imagination. Your mind can wander to new places, see new things. Just like reading. No wonder those childhood days, full of freedom and exploration were so magical.

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Written by Anna Brones

June 1, 2015 at 19:02

A Few Coffee Books Your Bookshelf Needs

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Macchiato by Anna Brones

In my coffee column this week on The Kitchn I do a round up of coffee books. From how to make coffee, to the history behind our favorite drink, their books that anyone interested in coffee should definitely own.

My personal “handbook” continues to be the The Blue Bottle Craft of Coffee by James Freeman, Caitlin Freeman, and Tara Duggan. It’s the book I go to whenever I have a question about making coffee.

In all honesty, there are a few books on here I haven’t read yet, but are definitely on the To Read list, like Uncommon Grounds by Mark Pendergast. And last but not least, there’s James Hoffman’s The World Atlas of Coffee: From Beans to Brewing, which I can’t wait to get my hands on.

But that’s only three books – there are six more in the article, so hop on over to The Kitchn and read up.

Written by Anna Brones

December 19, 2014 at 09:01