Here at Common Era, we are enthralled by, enamored with, and inspired by history and literature. We believe that the human condition can be uncovered, turned over and examined, celebrated and honored through written word; in the pages of a book or the arc of a character, there is something for everyone.
This brings us to our 2020 Gift Guide. We were inspired by Jolabokaflod, or “the Yule book flood,” the utterly delightful Icelandic tradition in which friends and family gift each other recently published books on Christmas Eve and spend the evening reading together.
During WWII, paper was one of the few commodities that was not rationed in Iceland. Out of necessity, books became one of the most common holiday gifts, and so they remain even after the island nation gained independence from Denmark in 1944. Today, Iceland is a nation of storytellers, home to numerous brilliant authors and some of the most prolific publishing houses.
To create the perfect holiday gift, we have thoughtfully paired each timeless necklace from the Mythology and Talisman collections with a novel or set of short stories—the kinds of books that you can eat up on a cozy holiday evening.
For the wild woman:
When and where: Massachusetts, 1960s.
In a few words: Mordant, tumultuous, flippant, cold, lilting, blossoming.
For the enigma:
When and where: England and beyond, 2010s.
In a few words: Strange, solemn, memory, cryptic, hazy, otherworldly, bizarre.
For the ardent romantic:
When and where: England, 1930s.
In a few words: Alive, ephemeral, audacious, playful, juxtaposition, satisfaction.
For the tragic romantic:
When and where: France, 1710s, New York, 2010s.
In a few words: Dark, turbulent, tender, palimpsest, surrender, maudlin, ghost.
For an old soul:
When and where: Korea and Japan, 1930s-80s.
In a few words: Pride, violence, womanhood, war, conviction, hope, eternal.
For the witch:
When and where: Mediterranean, Age of Heroes.
In a few words: Freedom, knowledge, irony, compassion, resonant, transformative.
For the self-possessed:
When and where: America, current day.
In a few words: Subtle, human, flawed, clever, forgiveness, justice.
For the giving tree:
When and where: France, 1930s-40s.
In a few words: Invisible, sisterhood, unflinching, shining, tentative, bold.
For the free of spirit:
When and where: Mexico, 1920s.
In a few words: Whimsical, passionate, defiant, magical, headstrong, spicy.
For the naturally curious:
When and where: Europe, 1990s.
In a few words: Intuition, preservation, dedication, resilience, grandeur.
For a little extra luck:
When and where: America and beyond, 1910s.
In a few words: Curious, uncanny, particular, delicate, fluid, fierce, companionship.
Shop small for the holidays! Order online to support independent bookstores, or support your community by buying from local booksellers. Happy gifting!