I love books. Obviously. That shouldn't come as any surprise. Show me a librarian who doesn't love books, and I'll show you a fraud. But what may be a surprise is the fact that I rarely check books out of a library. "Blasphemy," you say? Quite the contrary. I love libraries as much as I love books. My love for books is precisely why I don't check them out of the library. I want to own them. I want to discover them in bookstores, buy them, and add them to my huge to-read pile. I want to look at them lined up on my bookshelves, piled on my night table, and stacked on top of almost any available surface. And I want to be able to loan them to friends. Recommending a good book to someone that you hope will like it as much as you do is so much easier when you can actually hand over a personal copy.
I also like to buy books as gifts. To quote Barnes and Noble, "A book is a gift like no other." Apparently I am not alone in this endeavor. During this past Christmas season, I was made aware of two wonderful book-sharing traditions. Thanks to friend, Henry Czerwick, for sending me a Detroit Free Press article about a "Book on Every Bed." This Christmas activity aims specifically to gift children with books, and it's a beautiful way to help instill a love for reading in kids. Here's how it works:
1. Select a book, new or one of your own favorites.
2. Wrap the book in pretty paper.
3. On Christmas Eve, or whatever holiday you celebrate, leave it at the foot of the child's bed so it will be the first thing she sees in the morning.
What a great way to start a child down the path toward a love of reading and books. You can read more about this campaign and how it works at the Family Reading Partnership website where you'll also see a brief video by Amy Dickinson, the author of the Free Press article. I love this idea. It's too late for this Christmas, but there are always birthdays, Valentine's Day, last day of school, first day of school. Invent your own tradition.
|A shopper browses at Icelandic book chain, Penninn-Eymundsson.|
While in this country we endure Black Friday and all it entails, in Iceland they have a far cooler tradition. My son Culver enlightened me on the spectacular Icelandic Christmas Book Flood. The holiday season in Iceland begins, not with a feverish shopping ordeal, but with the publication of a catalog that features all the books available for purchase during the holidays. Over 80 percent of books published come out during this time, and not surprisingly, the greatest sales of books happen then too. It is customary in Iceland for every person to receive at least one book for Christmas. The release of the catalog is highly anticipated, and television commercials are full of ads for books.
What a country!!
NPR did a great piece about the annual Book Flood. Read about it at: Literary Iceland. And here's another article about this great tradition: Iceland Will Make You Happy.
I may have to add some Icelandic bookstores to my bucket list.
Have a Happy Literary New Year!!