Earlier this month we asked our staff members whether they took part in the Icelandic tradition of 'Jolabokaflod', or Christmas Book Flood, where family members give the gift of a book to be read on Christmas Eve, along with some chocolate to be eaten whilst reading the book. We are delighted to say that some staff members and their families did take part, including Miss Walsh, Head of Canterbury House and Teacher of Science. It is always fascinating to read other people's thoughts on books and read their reviews, so here are details of the book she was gifted and the book she bought for a family member. 

"Souad Mekhennet, is a reporter who has worked for the Washington Post and New York Times," said Miss Walsh. "She was born and educated in Germany, and as such has had to balance the two sides of her upbringing - Muslim and Western, as well as Sunni and Shia traditions from her parents."

"'I Was Told to Come Alone' is a compelling and evocative memoir, we accompany Mekhennet as she journeys behind the lines of jihad, starting in the German neighbourhoods where the 9/11 plotters were radicalised and culminating on the Turkish/Syrian border region where ISIS is a daily presence."

"Covering the familiar news events of the last 20 years it is a fascinating book which made me think about what we hear in the media and the deeper issues that affect the events around us. I don't know if I would have chosen this for myself but I couldn't put it down and will be reading more articles by Souad."

"Technically it was given to me by my nephew, aged 5 but my brother-in-law had heard an interview on Radio 4 and thought the book sounded interesting. He was right."

"For my nephew I selected 'The Polar Express' with the accompanying CD read by Liam Neeson. He's a bit too young to read it on his own this year but I thought it was a classic Christmas tale that he can read for himself in coming years."

"Everyone in the family loved the books that had been selected for them, generally discovering new authors at the same time. We all loved the chocolate too! We will definitely be carrying on the tradition of 'Jolabokaflod' next year."