Happy Jólabókaflód

I think I’ve got the accents about right, but there might be a cross on that final d. In any case, we’re talking about an Icelandic book flood that occurs this time of year. A friend reminded me with this graphic:


There’s a sweet article about the tradition here, on Treehugger. I especially liked this quote: “The small Nordic island, with a population of only 329,000 people, is extraordinarily literary. They love to read and write. According to a BBC article, “The country has more writers, more books published and more books read, per head, than anywhere else in the world… One in 10 Icelanders will publish [a book].”

If you’d like to know more, visit this NPR story from 2012.

With so many stories on the internet, I’m surprised this one has so few articles from news sources. I suppose that’s a very good reason to go to Iceland this time of year. To read books with the wholehearted encouragement of a nation of readers.


Outta Here! – A Friendly How-to Guide

With good cell phone service and a robust Internet connection, we’d like to think we can live, and work, pretty much anywhere. True enough, if the term is days, weeks or months, but what about years? What about (gasp!) forever?

Why leave? You’ll find lots of good reasons (good stories, too) in the newly revised second edition of Getting Out: Your Guide to Leaving America by Mark Ehrman:

The US had become unbearable after 9/11…We purchased 1.25 acres of land about 20 minutes south of Oaxaca…There is nothing like living, immersing oneself entirely, in another country, culture, language, etc.” — Cara Smiley, 40

I have been leaving the US all my life–starting with study abroad and then the Peace Corps…” — Kerry Kittel, age 49

Life here in Copenhagen is just so much more livable than any place I’ve experienced in the US. I take a train and boat to work. I ride my bicycle to buy groceries…” — Bill Agee, 50

You might think of this as the ultimate traveler’s book (no tourists allowed). Pages of (fascinating) personal stories are followed by advice about visas, second passports, and citizenship. There are many ways to gain citizenship, or at least, residency… marry in, play your ethnic race card, buy your way in, teach English, etc.

Fantasizing about where you might go…and stay? If you’re looking for the world’s highest rate of Internet penetration, try Greenland, Iceland, Norway, or Finland. Best infrastructure? Switzerland, Hong King, Singapore, France, Iceland, or Sweden. Fastest Internet? South Korea. Safest? Germany, or Canada. Growing job market? China, India, Taiwan. Best place to start a new business? New Zealand, Australia or Canada.

Need a more in-depth analysis? That’s the second half of the book. Sixty-one countries, each considered in terms of governance, Internet, healthcare, working there, taxes, women’s issues, life expectancy, moving there, and more.

If i was among the 300,000 who left home, where would I like to go? In fact, I would love to spend a month, maybe several, in every one of those sixty countries–but I suppose that answer evades the question. If I had to choose today, my starter list would probably include:

  • Bahamas
  • Canada
  • Denmark
  • France
  • Italy
  • Japan
  • Sweden
  • United Kingdom

Where would you go? And stay?


And, from the same publisher, the real dirt on living in the country. The book is called (of course!) Get Your Pitchfork On!

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