About This Blog

Don't get me wrong. It's not that I'm not on board with the whole ebook thing. I enjoy books in all their formats. But there is nothing quite like a bookstore with its neatly arranged shelves of books and artfully created displays of new arrivals, best sellers, and suggested reading. I especially enjoy discovering small, independent bookstores and have made it my mission to visit and report back on as many of these gems as I can. That is my focus, but there is really nothing that is off limits as long as it is about books or reading. Hope you enjoy my blog and come back often.

Friday, January 9, 2015

Books Make Great Traditions

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!!


Racine said...

This program offered on certain Kellogg's cereal boxes is a joke and a waste of time. There aren't any free books- at least not the titles they advertise in their ad. It's not that easy, either. After registering, giving them all your personal info, agreeing to their policies, and to let them use your personal info for their own purposes, etc., you FINALLY get to look at a handful of titles and almost ALL of them are not available! There are about six titles left in all, and they are about bats, slimy creatures, or ho-hum PBS characters. Very disappointing!

M Redd said...

Wow. I had a completely different experience. I found it easy, and it only took me about 10 minutes total to get a totally free book. I will give it to a teacher for her classroom library, and she'll love it.

I'll admit that the selection was limited, but I found the first title in the Gregor The Overlander series by Suzanne Collins, author of the Hunger Games. I appreciate anything free after having been a librarian with an unlimited budget, and by unlimited I mean anything I could scrounge or buy myself.

It is near the end of the promotion and getting harder to find the specially marked boxes of cereal anymore, so that may be why your selection was so limited. I will find out, as I have three more boxes to use to try to get a second book.