Good morning, good morning! Come in out of the cold! What in the world has happened to our nice warm, winter weather? We are used to maybe the 40’s with it warming up at least to the low 60’s, sometime during the week! At least the sun is shining and it looks like it should be warm outside! But, on the walk to the neighborhood’s new postboxes everyday, I have been freezing my fanny off! I even had to look through my closet for a warmer winter coat! Luckily I still had it! You know how I get in my closet frenzy clean-outs and pitch everything out, that I am not wearing currently! I was surprised that I still had the coat! I haven’t had it on since I moved here 10 years ago!
If we were having our morning coffee, make that strong, black and really hot for me, I would tell you it has been a good week to snuggle up and read a good book or two. So, let’s talk about books……..
I read over the holidays about a tradition in Iceland, one of the most literate nation’s in the world, that it is popular to receive a book on Christmas Eve and then take your hot chocolate and new book to bed to read. 93% of Icelanders read at least one book a year! Iceland publishes more books per capita than any other country, with five titles for every 1,000 Icelanders. The majority of the books are sold from late September to early November. This tradition is called Jolabokaflod, or the “Christmas Book Flood.” This tradition got it’s roots after WWII, when imported goods were limited, but cheap paper was not. So they started publishing books………….
So, I looked up what the most popular books to read in Iceland have been, and found that biographies and what I call “Coffee Table” books, (beautiful books of photos) are very popular. Over the years, one book written by 80 year old, Gunmundur Kristinsson, has been sold out over and over. It’s title you ask? Their Death And Reunions In The Afterlife. Kristinsson believes he can talk with the dead…… Probably not my first choice, but hey, what do I know?
Over 50% of the Icelandic people, who always wanted to write a book, actually do! Very impressive! In 2011, Reykjavík was designated a UNESCO City of Literature. I have been to many of the Unesco World Heritage sites and Reykjavik should be added to my list!
Our town has a “Town Book.” Every year, Main Street Books, our own private book shop, selects two or three books for us. Then we vote on one book to be that year’s “Town Book.” The books to choose from are displayed in the window of the shop and also sent out in an email in early November and December. In September of the following year there is a week of festivities featured around the chosen book selection. There are guest speakers and other events to look forward to, all relating to the “Town Book!” It is really something to get excited about!
This year the selection of book choices is between Pachinko, by Min Jin Lee or News of the World: A Novel, by Paulette Jiles. I read both of them and they both were good! Not to spoil anything for you, if you decide to read them, I will give you my general thoughts on each of them.
Pachinko, is about three generations of a Korean family living in Japan, before, during and after WWII. I knew little about the culture or the way of life of Koreans or Japanese, so I thought this book was very interesting. About two-thirds way through the book I was curious about the word Pachinko, so I looked it up. I thought the word would have been mentioned somewhere in the book early on, since that was the title. It took a while to get there, the book is very long, (752 pages), but I learned what Pachinko was and how it related so much to this family! So if you love history, family relationships, studying culture and loooooooong books, select this one! It was captivating, because I wanted to know what happened to this family and what Pachinko was!
News of the World, a Novel, was equally interesting and didn’t take long to read (229 pages) Have you ever wondered how people got their news when they lived on the frontier or couldn’t read? I guess I never really thought about it so this book was very interesting to me. This book reveals that and also includes a story line about a white girl kidnapped by Indians, who is returned to her family. The book is very well written and moves right along! I couldn’t put it down!
As both books were very, very, very good, many people here will probably read both books, like I did. We have 12 large, organized, book clubs in a town of 10,000 people. Everyone belongs to their neighborhood bookclub. But, my choice for the “Town Book” would be News of the World, a Novel. I would like that book to be chosen. I can’t wait for the September events! What kind of guest speakers will we have? Will there be a POWWOW on the Town Lawn? Everyone will show up for that! I’ll write a post in September and let you all know how it turned out!
So get cosy and curl up with your favorite book……..won’t you tell me about your book clubs or interesting things your book club does? I’d love to hear about that! See you next Saturday for WeekendCoffeeShare!
To see what others are talking about over their morning coffees look Here!