Outside Reading — Jólabókaflóð edition

Iceland’s Christmas Book Flood Is a Force of Nature by Lauren Oster

For Smithsonian magazine, Lauren Oster writes about the Icelandic tradition called Jólabókaflóð, which amounts to a holiday season celebration of books. The articles traces the long reverence for literature in the country and details how the post–World War II years cemented books as treasured holiday gifts for a culture already immersed in reading. It all sounds downright wondrous to me, so much so that I now can’t help but pine for a Christmas in Reykjavík.

From Behind Bars, Inmates Award France’s Latest Book Prize by Aurelien Breeden

Aurelien reports on a unique literary prize bestowed in France. The Goncourt des détenus, a companion to the nation’s most prestigious fiction award, is voted on by incarcerated individuals. Giving that opportunity to the men and women behind bars is a fundamental acceptance of their humanity and a very basic commitment to rehabilitation. It’s dismaying that these concepts are so unique. This piece is published by The New York Times.

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