Book tree redIn Norway, they do Christmas trees rather well.  One of these comes every year to Trafalgar Square as a gift from the people of Oslo to express their nation’s gratitude for Britain’s support during WWII.  The tree is obviously symbolic and reminds me of other trees with mythological associations, such as Yggdrasil, the great holy ash tree of Norse myth, and the yew and the oak, with their capacity to live for centuries and to link peoples and places with their ancestral roots.

I was delighted to come across two pictures posted on the Facebook page of a friend, a librarian in the Norwegian city of Tromsø, who has given me permission to use them.  She tells me that these trees are very useful, since they do not shed needles and, as a bonus, people with allergic reactions to real spruce trees can come fearlessly into the library!  As I admired the efforts of the tree-makers, it occurred to me that books, being Book treemade of paper, were an appropriate material for turning into trees!  That thought led to another, that it might be a trifle tricky to make a Christmas tree out of Kindles and that, in spite of the obvious advantages of the latter (especially when travelling), I still love the look and feel of a ‘proper’ book when I am reading.  Our household collection of real books has the power of myth for us: the books are touched with memories and associations which could never be replicated by anything electronic.  We are lucky to be able to take advantage of both real and e books; lucky that our literary ancestry is happily available in both.  The symbolic significance of books is undeniable.

I hope that your Christmas book wish list is fulfilled!  Have a lovely day tomorrow!