Jolaboka... What?!? aka The Christmas Book Flood

Time for one of my favorite book-casions: Jolabokaflod. What's that, you say? It's the Christmas Book Flood and originated in Iceland. It's the tradition in this book-loving country to purchase books for one another which are given on Christmas Eve along with chocolate. Then the long winter's night is spent devouring stories and candy. Sounds like the PERFECT way to spend any winter evening whether you celebrate the Christmas holiday or not.

If you're planning to give books this season but your giftee hasn't specified titles, we've got some suggestions for you. If you stop into the library, help yourself to a copy of BookPage, a free-to-you publication we keep at the check-out desk. This month's theme, 'Best Books of 2022' with a special feature on 'Gifts for the Holidays,' can alert you to some good titles for all ages and interests of readers. For more suggestions, page through some of our magazine subscriptions, including 'Bookmarks' and the 'New York Review of Books.' (Both can be checked out, FYI). Each contains plenty of book reviews and suggestions. I like 'Bookmarks' for its book rankings and brief descriptions of popular reads, while the Review of Books raises my awareness of books that haven't necessarily hit the bestseller list.

Still stumped? Ask a librarian! We're professionally trained in matching books with their potential readers based on clues you give us. (No, really: we go to school for this stuff). And since we work in the book world every day, we see a LOT of titles and tend to dip into them ourselves. So if your mom is looking for yet another WWII historical, or your dad is pining away for puppy knowledge, we've got you covered with the perfect picks. Don't forget to peep our ongoing Foundation book sale before you leave. We sell most hardcovers for $2, paperbacks and children's books for $1, so you may find a bargain that fits the bill.

Unable to stop into the physical building? No worries. Click on 'Resources' on our website, then at the drop-down, click on 'All Learning Resources.' Scroll down to the bottom of the page and click 'Next.' On the second page, look for 'Novelist' then click on 'View resource.' You'll be promoted for your library card number (starts with D0...) and your pin. Everyone's default pin is 1234. Enter this information, and you'll step into an Aladdin's cave of sparkling book recommendations. You can use the search blank on top to describe a potential book by keywords like "science fiction" and "cozy," or you can explore the 'Recommended Reads' lists at left. Notice that there's an age level for recommendations, so click on the age level first (Teen, say) then the reading list that looks interesting. You'll find plenty of titles for various ages and stages. Still need help? Call the library at 309-452-1757 to ask a librarian for some bonus recommendations.

Whether you're in the building or at home in a comfy chair, give the gift of reading this December. And as any Icelander will tell you, a book pairs oh-so-nicely with chocolate or other candy, too. Happy Jolabokaflod!


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