That’s right, Jolabokaflod (Yo-la-bo-ka-flood)—or Christmas Book Flood (technically Yule Book Flood, but you get the idea). Yes, this great Icelandic tradition of gifting books for the holiday season is upon us. And how can you NOT love it?
Last year T & I swapped books on Christmas Eve, which (honestly) we enjoyed far more than the familial Christmas celebrations. But maybe that’s an introvert thing. Since she is a music and poetry fan, I gifted her with PJ Harvey’s edgy and rather large tome, The Hollow of the Hand. (and, of course, I got to enjoy it too.)
This year’s wish list includes:
The One Hundred Nights of Hero by Isabel Greenberg
In the tradition of The Arabian Nights, a beautifully illustrated tapestry of folk tales and myths about the secret legacy of female storytellers in an imagined medieval world.
In the Empire of Migdal Bavel, Cherry is married to Jerome, a wicked man who makes a diabolical wager with his friend Manfred: if Manfred can seduce Cherry in one hundred nights, he can have his castle–and Cherry.
But what Jerome doesn’t know is that Cherry is in love with her maid Hero. The two women hatch a plan: Hero, a member of the League of Secret Story Tellers, will distract Manfred by regaling him with a mesmerizing tale each night for 100 nights, keeping him at bay. Those tales are beautifully depicted here, touching on themes of love and betrayal and loyalty and madness.
As intricate and richly imagined as the works of Chris Ware, and leavened with a dry wit that rivals Kate Beaton’s in Hark! A Vagrant, Isabel Greenberg’s One Hundred Nights of Hero will capture readers’ hearts and minds, taking them through a magical medieval world.
Last year I bought her Encyclopedia of Early Earth (which I highly recommend—even if you’re not that into graphic novels. It’s just beautifully done.)
Classic Penguin, Cover to Cover by Paul Buckley
From Drop Caps to Deluxe, Penguin Creative Director Paul Buckley presents a visual overview of the innovative covers that have put Penguin Classics at the forefront of the book design world.
Art for All by Tobias G. Natter (Editor)
At the turn of the 20th century, amid the domed grandeur of Vienna, a group of Secession artists reclaimed the humble woodblock. The gesture, though short-lived, and long overlooked by established art histories, may be seen as a decisive social, as well as aesthetic, moment. Elevating a primarily illustrative, mass-production medium to the status of fine art, the woodblock revival set a formal precedent for Expressionism while democratizing an art for all.