All I wanted for Christmas this year was to recover the ability to read for pleasure, and I found it in Iceland…
The loss of leisurely reading is, paradoxically, an occupational hazard of professional writing. When books are the tools of one’s trade, it becomes difficult to open them without engaging the ‘work-side’ of the brain. At least it is for me. Even with picture books and whimsical children’s stories, a supreme effort is required to keep the author hat off my head.
Of the forty books I read in 2022, only one, The Maid by Nita Prose, was for pleasure, and I think I managed to enjoy it (i.e., get lost in it) because the performance aspect of the audio book format made it feel like entertainment.
The other 39 titles were either historical sources or writing craft or market research, all work-related. There were some OMG-dazzling books in the mix, but I didn’t feel joy reading them.
Bumpy Book Slump
I will admit to having tumbled into a reading slump this year. I was feeling cross with myself for being a slacker, but really, it’s no wonder, when reading feels more like an academic exercise than fun. While I’m reading, I’m often extracting information, analysing style, scrutinising plot, seeking inspiration, and so forth.
And yes, yes, sigh – yes. I’ve allowed the Insidious Internet to splinter my focus, but that’s a woe for another post…
How I long to rekindle the magic of getting lost in a book.
Making Reading Fun Again!
Jolabokaflod to the rescue!
Jola-what-the-heck? Jolabokaflod is Icelandic for “Christmas Book Flood,” a Christmas Eve tradition of giving and reading books – with chocolate. I think it’s a perfectly wonderful custom, sure to reignite the magic of reading. (Read more about Jolabokaflod here. )
So, to get the Jolabokaflod tradition rolling in my family, I nominated myself as this year’s Book Curator Santa. And I am thrilled to report selecting a special book for each person did wonders for how I feel about reading. I rediscovered the fact that there is the right book for the right moment for EVERYONE. What a delightful puzzle to make the perfect match!
You might want to write this down:
A sure-fire remedy for a dreaded reading slump is to matchmake loved ones to beloved or felicitous books.Ali Stegert, Recovering Book Slumpist
For reading accompaniments, I served chocolate “bookies” (crinkle cookies) and a nip of Frangelico. Adding these little treats further enhanced my enjoyment in this wholesome tradition.
Typically, in the hubbub of wrapping and baking, I forgot to procure myself a book, but it didn’t matter because my bedside table is of course straining beneath its towering load of TBRs.
My husband was keen for an entrée to Pratchett’s books, so I picked Wyrd Sisters for him – a wild and wacky ride that will surely whet his appetite for more.
After being awed by Chris Riddell’s sketches, I decided to read Natalie Haynes’s Stone Blind.
Now to dip into my pleasure reading while I can! I have a fun book project in the pipeline…
Here’s to You!
Here’s to you and your reading adventures! May you enjoy a year of bookish magic. Do you celebrate Jolabokaflod? If so, please share your traditions in the comments. And feel free to send me an email if you’d like my recipe for gluten-free chocolate crinkle “bookies!”
- Header Photo by Drew Coffman on Unsplash
- Photo by Samuel Holt on Unsplash
- Cookie image created on Canva with image by Roxiller
- Photo by Ali Stegert
- Santa Image created on Canva with image by Liudmila Chernetska
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