It’s party time, people! And as December dawns here at Chez Thisbe, we’re getting ready to celebrate Jólabókaflóðið! That’s the Christmas Eve tradition of book-giving that will get us through the long winter nights – and spread some cheer as well. (Those of us who celebrate Chanukah can give the books a bit earlier – maybe aim for them to arrive on or before Dec. 18, the holiday’s last night.)

This holiday is perfect for this year. I don’t know about you, but I’ve had enough with the “can’ts” – Can’t gather. Can’t dine. Can’t party the darkest nights of the year away. Let’s focus instead on what we can do – read! This year, we have more time than ever for indulging in the new releases that made up the original “Christmas book flood” that gave Jólabókaflóðið it’s name. But I won’t tell if you instead decide to re-read an old favorite. “Rebecca,” anyone? “Crystal Cave”? The key is to give – and to read, a pleasure we can enjoy together, even while we’re apart. In that spirit, I’m giving books – go to your favorite indie‘s website or the general indie clearinghouse of – and send a book (or a gift certificate)! If you want, add a note that we should all start reading together on Jólabókaflóðið. (In a note, you don’t have to pronounce it – though Read It Forward has  phonetic pronunciation is yo-la-bok-a-flot, or you can listen to it pronounced here.)

I credit Lesa Holstine – the librarian and book blogger – for this great idea. Noting, wisely but sadly, that big family get-togethers aren’t the best idea this year, she announced that she was buying books from independent booksellers for her loved ones near and far and having them delivered. Her sister then suggested they all open – and start reading – on Jolabokaflod. What a brilliant idea! (And, please, check out Lesa’s blog too, now at: )

So what am I going to give? Jon had already decided on the new Richard Ford for his brother, and we think another friend is going to get that too. (Yes, it’s listed as February, but it is available now.) A dear muso buddy is getting David Hajdu‘s Adrianne Geffel for its knowing laughs. A health sciences-loving friend is getting American Contagions, for sure. And, no, my own A Cat on the Case won’t be out until January, but you can start a friend off with the first in the series, A Spell of Murder – last I checked, Porter Square Books still has signed copies. I’m also thinking of doing a deep N.K. Jemisin dive for a fantasy-oriented friend…

The party is already starting!