Skip to main content

Books for Christmas

I love getting books for Christmas and birthday presents. My friends and family know this, which is why, when I was about 10 and still got presents from all my aunts and uncles and cousins, I once got 15 books for Christmas and 7 for my birthday. These days I am lucky to get one book, usually for Christmas.

As a child and young teen I was happy with whatever books I got, but then things developed so that the only people who ever gave me books were the ones who had no clue as to what I liked to read. But that was fine because I realised that unwanted books could be exchanged for books I wanted, or for store credit that could be used later. How I loved store credit!

In Iceland the main season for publishing and buying books is the months before Christmas. At some point, about 10-15 years go, the supermarkets got in the game, selling books at considerably cheaper prices than the book shops, but only the books likely to sell well and only from about mid-November to Christmas. It’s a boon for budget-conscious people, because books are expensive in Iceland, but it’s a nuisance for someone like me, who rarely gets given books I want to keep.

As I already mentioned, I used to be able to take whatever unwanted romance novel* or cookbook I already owned that people usually give me and exchange them for store credit in book shops, but this has been ruined because of people who would buy the cheap supermarket books and then make a profit by returning them to book shops and selling their store credit for cash. To fight this, the book shops first started levying a return fee for books not bought from them, but now they have clamped down and will only accept returns of books that were bought from them. This is done by the buyer requesting that a return sticker be put on the books when they are bought, and the giftee then usually has 2 weeks in which they can return the books for credit.

This is all good and fine and understandable, because who wouldn’t want to be able to give more lavish gifts for less money? The problem is that when people give me supermarket books and I return them, I end up being able to only buy groceries for my credit at the chain that sells the books at the cheapest prices. I ask you: would you give groceries for Christmas to someone who doesn’t need it?


*I'm not dissing romances, but romance translators are badly paid around these parts and it shows in the translations.


Dorte H said…
Hm. I think I would give a person like you an Amazon gift card. They probably have something you haven´t read - yet.

I know the problem as books are also quite expensive in Denmark. But no one has given me supermarket books so far(the usual crime selection is Dan Brown & James Patterson plus a few more of the same kind). And I have sent a wish list to my husband and my children with a top-ten of books I have to read before or later.

Popular posts from this blog

List love: A growing list of recommended books with elderly protagonists or significant elderly characters

I think it's about time I posted this, as I have been working on it for a couple of months.
I feel there isn’t enough fiction written about the elderly, or at least about the elderly as protagonists. The elderly in fiction tend to be supporting characters, often wise elders (such as  Dumbledore in the Harry Potter books) or cranky old neighbour types (e.g. the faculty of Unseen University in the Discworld series) or helpless oldsters (any number of books, especially children’s books) for the protagonist to either help or abuse (depending on whether they’re a hero or not).
Terry Pratchett has written several of my favourite elderly protagonists and they always kick ass in one way or another, so you will see several of his books on this list, either as listed items or ‘also’ mentions.
Without further ado: Here is a list of books with elderly protagonists or significant, important elderly characters. I leave it up to you to decide if you’re interested or not, but I certainly enjoyed…

How to make a simple origami bookmark

Here are some instructions on how to make a simple origami (paper folding) bookmark:

Take a square of paper. It can be patterned origami paper, gift paper or even office paper, just as long as it’s easy to fold. The square should not be much bigger than 10 cm/4 inches across, unless you intend to use the mark for a big book. The images show what the paper should look like after you follow each step of the instructions. The two sides of the paper are shown in different colours to make things easier, and the edges and fold lines are shown as black lines.

Fold the paper in half diagonally (corner to corner), and then unfold. Repeat with the other two corners. This is to find the middle and to make the rest of the folding easier. If the paper is thick or stiff it can help to reverse the folds.

Fold three of the corners in so that they meet in the middle. You now have a piece of paper resembling an open envelope. For the next two steps, ignore the flap.

Fold the square diagonally in two. You…

Short stories 221-230

From Norway:

The Blacksmith Who Could Not Get Into Hell”. Collected by Asbjörnsen and Moe. An amusing folk tale about beating the Devil. Recommended. (A different translation from the one I read.

“The Father” by Björnstene Björnsson. About a proud father and a parish priest.

“Skobelef” by Johan Bojer. A humorous tale about a horse that has a tremendous influence on a small rural community. Beautifully translated. Recommended.

From Sweden:

Love and Bread” by August Strindberg. A rather cynical tale about a man who discovers that one cannot live by love alone. Recommended. (This is such a very different translation that it makes me want to read the original to see which is truer).

“The Eclipse” by Selma Lagerlöf. A heart-warming tale about an old peasant woman who needs an excuse to invite the neighbours over for coffee. Recommended.

“The Falcon” by Per Hallström. A haunting tale about a peasant boy who rescues a hunting falcon. Beautifully translated. Recommended.

Now we turn to the…