In Iceland this time of year, tradition calls for the giving of books, a most cherished gift.
There’s even a name for the tradition, Jolabokaflod, or Christmas book flood. Iceland publishes more books per capita than any country — five titles for every 1,000 Icelanders.
Most are sold from September to November, and are given on Christmas Eve, according to “Literary Iceland Revels in Christmas Book Flood,” a December 2015 program on NPR. In that tradition, here are some books to celebrate your Jolabokaflod with garden themes.
Here comes “The Christmas Cottontail” (Gardenangelist Books) a new offering from award-winning author and garden writer Carol Michel of Indianapolis. Ty J. Hayden, Michel’s nephew from Greenwood, Indiana, illustrated the four-color, 34-page book.
The Christmas Cottontail is a rabbit that was rescued by Santa, taken to the North Pole and taught about – what else? – gardening and how to reward good gardeners. Her story is perfect for reading aloud to a favorite child, or an easy read for young readers. It might inspire them to wander outdoors for some Vitamin Nature.
“Heartland Gardening: Celebrating the Seasons” (blurb.com) is like sitting on a garden bench with the three friends from Ohio, talking about gardening. Debra Knapke, Michael Leach and Teresa Woodard, who blog at heartland-gardening.com, share their stories of gardening fun, challenges and successes in the Midwest, their travels and other adventures. This book captures much our heartland spirit in a relaxed style.
John T. Markowski’s “Seed, Grow, Love, Write: One Man’s Unexpected and Slow Journey to Fulfillment” (CreateSpace) takes us on a trek through everyday adventures, but with a poignant sense of humor from a masterful storyteller. You will LOL at this regular contributor to the story aggregator Medium.
You may want to LOL at the thought of growing edible food from, well, garbage, but it’s a serious topic. Former Indianapolis resident and Purdue University alum Katie Elzer-Peters’ “No-Waste Kitchen Gardening: Regrow Your Leftover Greens, Pits, Seeds, and More” (Cool Springs Press) gives you the how-tos. Pineapple, beets and celery are just some of the plants you can grow from trimmings.
Yes, this is a thing. In fact, Indianapolis gardener Lynne Steinhour Habig recently posted a photo of trimmed beet tops on her Facebook page, saying she loved they way they kept “producing yummy leaves.”
On a more serious note is Bobbie Schwartz’s “Garden Renovation” (Timber Press), the perfect tome for those of us want to redo our gardens to reflect what experience has taught us. Garden designer Schwartz from Ohio emboldens us to pull things out to plant something new and create the garden of our dreams.
“The Wellness Lifestyle: A Chef’s Recipe for Real Life” (Red Lightning Books) comes from chef Daniel Orr and fitness expert Kelly Jo Baute from Bloomington, Indiana. They cover growing your own food; recipes for various diets, including gluten free; exercises to build strength and flexibility; and a lengthy food glossary that covers allium to Za’atar. The beautiful photography presents mouth-watering dishes that make a reader want to dive right in.