Jólabókaflóð or “Christmas/Yule Book Flood,” is an Icelandic holiday tradition consisting of exchanging books with friends and loved ones on Christmas Eve, then spending the evening reading them aloud to one another, while gathered in front of the fireplace, or curled up in bed with a partner and perhaps some chocolate and cozy drinks.
The tradition is similar to the Danish philosophy of Hygge.
While giving books as holiday gifts is not unique to Iceland, their tradition of exchanging books on Christmas Eve and then spending the evening reading is becoming a cultural phenomenon and a practice worth passing along.
The tradition derives from a scarcity of Christmas gifts during WWII, making books the most practical gifts, and has evolved to eagerly anticipated catalogs of Jólabókaflóð circulating for advanced ordering.
In the spirit of the Jólabókaflóð (phonetically pronounced yo-la-bok-a-flot.) tradition, the following are some selections for the cannabis curious on Christmas Eve.
The Little Book of Cannabis: How Marijuana Can Improve Your Life is a nonfiction book about cannabis by Canadian journalist Amanda Siebert, published by Greystone Books. It was the bestselling nonfiction book about cannabis in Canada in early 2019.
Written by award-winning cannabis journalist Amanda Siebert, with a foreword by Dr. Rav Ivker, this fun, illuminating book outlines 10 evidence-based ways cannabis can help with everything from decreasing anxiety to increasing one’s libido to motivating weight-loss to improving sleep.
In it, Siebert delves deep into cannabis research, interviewing some of the world’s top researchers, medical professionals, and consultants to separate marijuana fact from fiction.
She also offers practical advice for enjoying its benefits, including easy-to-follow, step-by-step instructions for consumption and dosage, as well as examples of real people who have used this drug to enhance their lives.
Cannabis, it turns out, could be life-changing: it can enrich any diet, slow down aging, and even spice things up in the bedroom. It is a perfect guidebook for the canna-curious person on your Christmas list.
Cannabis and Sustainable Development: Paving the Way for the Next Decade in Cannabis and Hemp Policy, published by FAAAT Editions. by Kenz Riboulet-Zemoulii, Michael Krawitz, et. al. explains how cannabis cultivation aligns with the United Nation’s sustainable development goals.
Two of the most extraordinary things about this well-researched book are 1) It comes in English and Spanish and 2) It is absolutely free; although I recommend that people be kind and make a donation to FAAAT, the non-profit organization of activists who published the book, to at least cover postage and support their excellent mission!
The Sustainable Cannabis Policy Toolkit is a comprehensive report analyzing the opportunities and challenges of cannabis & hemp regulations under the policy framework of the 17 UN Sustainable Development Goals.
It compiles the findings of an international multi-stakeholder working group (2016-2019).
It includes a series of action-oriented recommendations to align cannabis & hemp laws and policies with the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
The work is a significant contribution to post-prohibition studies.
According to one of the authors, Kenzi Riboulet-Zemouli, “The toolkit assists decision-makers, scholars, policy advocates, as well as curious minds and the general public, in adopting a regulatory approach to cannabis & hemp that balances health, profits, peoples, societies, and the environment.”
Oh, the Places You’ll Go Oh Oh! by Nicolle Hodges is a book about the power of pleasure, written in Dr. Seuss style verse.
Hodges says, “I wrote this book because it’s what I wish I had growing up.
I wrote this for anyone who wants to escape The Shaming Place.
I wrote it for mothers and fathers who want to open a conversation with their daughters (and sons) around virginity – a concept that we are collectively rebranding as a sexual debut. Let there be cake!
It’s my hope that this light-hearted book opens up a world of possibility.
I hope that all women today remember their power, and the women who come after us are never made to forget it.
I wrote it for you because you are worthy of pleasure. You ARE pleasure.”
The book features an assortment of original flash – the sheets of designs that tattoo artists draw up – by some of the top names in traditional American tattooing today, including Florian Santus, Ivan Antonyshev, Austin Maples, Nate Hudak, Ryan Cooper Thompson, Joe Tartarotti, Becca Genne-Bacon and many more.
Some of the artwork is cannabis-related, in the traditional style.
WEED: Everything You Want to Know But Are Always Too Stoned to Ask by Michelle Lhooq is bursting with helpful advice and yummy cannabis-infused recipes.
WEED contains smoking, cooking, and cultivation tips, as well as proper stoner etiquette and a guide to must-see destinations around the world.
As legalization sweeps the globe, a whole new generation of younger millennials and Gen Z benefit from the advocacy and revolution enacted by their Boomer, Gen X, and elder millennial forebearers.
Unfortunately, a whitewashed, legal weed bro culture is evolving simultaneously with broccoli heads. WEED is the antidote to that.
Journalist Michelle Lhooq lives in Los Angeles, California, the first state to legalize cannabis via Prop 64.
Through her interviews with weedfluencers and personal experience, she presents a guidebook with valuable tips on smoking joints, vapes, and concentrates; making edibles and infused cocktails, cultivating at home, and locating dispensaries.
It also imparts the genius of renowned, pioneering dub music producer Lee “Scratch” Perry.
Complete with vibrant, kitschy hand-drawn illustrations by the artist Thu Tran, Weed is a cool coffee table book for people who need a book to roll weed on while couch-locked because they are too stoned to find their rolling tray.
The Marijuana Grower’s Handbook, by Tom McCarthy, is written by an off-the-grid outdoorsman under a pseudonym.
This book is a practical growing guide for those curious about learning the art and science of cannabis cultivation.
The Official High Times Cannabis Cookbook: More Than 50 Irresistible Recipes That Will Get You High, by Elise McDonough.
Back in the day when High Times was the leading authority on everything weed before legalization began sweeping the globe, legacy cannabis chef Ms. McDonough wrote the infused version of The Joy of Cooking.
More recently, McDonough created cannabis-infused beverage line Jem + Jane before becoming brand manager at Binske while still cooking up a storm.
This classic, enduring cookbook is always an appropriate gift for edibles aficionados.
The book’s highlight is its chapter on holiday fare, featuring a THC turkey injected with a “magic marinade” that, in conjunction with tryptophan, could mellow out the most dysfunctional family gatherings.
Runner’s High: How a Movement of Cannabis-Fueled Athletes Is Changing the Science of Sports by Josiah Hesse.
Think Michael Pollan’s How to Change Your Mind meets Christopher McDougall’s Born to Run in this immersive, investigative look at the hidden culture of cannabis use among elite athletes (as well as weekend warriors).
The surprising emerging science behind the elusive, exhilarating “runner’s high” they all seek goes beyond endorphins.
The premise of this book is that cannabis makes exercise fun.
The link between performance enhancement and cannabis was used to expel athlete Sha’Carri Richardson from an international competition on the premise that she took a “performance enhancer” on her days off.
If using cannabis enhances one’s athletic performance, why is there still a skewed perception that herb only produces lazy, couch potato stoners?
Scientists have conducted extensive research that uncovers the power of the “runner’s high” – the true holy grail of aerobic activity that was long believed to be caused by endorphins.
In an extraordinary reversal, scientists believe marijuana may actually be the key to getting more Americans off their phones and on to their feet.
However, before you jump-start your new year with a resolution to exercise more, snuggle up with a good cannabis book and hygge the holidays on Christmas Eve’s Jólabókaflóð.
Lead image: Cannabis and Related Books – Suggested Reading for Jólabókaflóð. ©SARA BRITTANY SOMERSET