Icelandic Reads, Authors & Bookshops…

Now if all goes to plan then I should be spending a long weekend in Iceland for work this weekend from Friday to Monday, if not then I will be going in a few weeks so it is relevant either way. Those of you who pop by regularly will know that if at all possible I like to read books set in the country I am visiting if I can, or works written by authors from that country. So, which books set in Iceland or written by Icelandic authors would you recommend I read?

I must admit that I do have one series set in Iceland that I really love and that is Yrsa Sigurdardottir’s crime novels which feature lead character, and lawyer which is a bit different, Thóra Gudmundsdóttir. Well when I say I love the series, I loved the first ‘Last Rituals’ and so will be packing the second ‘My Soul To Take’ to have with me on the trip. But what others must I try and get my mitts on?

Oh and if any of you have been or indeed are from Iceland (in which case let me know and lets do coffee), can you recommend a wonderful bookshop or two there I can hunt down for a nosey? Thanks in advance (and if that wasn’t enough I have another set of books on a certain subject I will be asking for you help with tomorrow!)

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27 Comments

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27 responses to “Icelandic Reads, Authors & Bookshops…

  1. I have liked a couple of mysteries by Arnaldur Indriðason, though I usually don’t like Scandinavian crime novels.

    • I took one with me but realised that it wasn’t the start of the series and as many people will know I am super duper anal about that and so I didn’t read it but as soon as I find the first in the series I will.

  2. Haven’t read it yet, but Sarah Moss (Nightwalking, Cold Earth) has a new book out about moving to Iceland. And Betsy Tobin’s Iceland is a lovely mythic soap opera type deal.

    • I ended up managing to get a copy of the Sarah Moss book, sadly it arrived just after I had left but I do have it to read in the future and I don’t think Iceland is ever going to leave me!

  3. Eva

    For nonfiction, Nancy Marie Brown’s The Far Traveller was wonderfully evocative of medieval Icelandic life and one particularly fascinating woman.

    For fiction, you could always read some of the Sagas of the Icelanders! Penguin has a good collection, with a variety of translators. For something more modern, The Blue Fox was interesting (wonderfully lyric writing, a bit fairy tale-esque).

    And while not actually set in/around Iceland, The Long Ships by Frans Bengtsson is one of my favourite Scandinavian reads ever!!! Such fun, so perfect for vacation reading!

    • I tried to get all of these in time, could you believe non of the libraries near me have any Sjon I was shocked, but alas my library could find none of them, I love my local library normally. In fact have you seen the posts that you inspired Eva? You got me vloging!

  4. sjon simon ,but if you look back on my blog he did an interview and suggested a number of icelandic books ,all the best stu

  5. Kim

    Jón Kalman Stefánsson. his prose is wonderful..

  6. Linda

    I thoroughly enjoyed reading Haldor Laxness. Under The Glacier is a good book to start reading before, during and after your trip to Iceland. I’m jealous.

  7. Sjon is very interesting but hard to read quickly. Christina Sunley’s The Tricking of Freya is set between Canada and Iceland. I think you would like that one.

  8. Make sure you read a few of “The Icelandic Sagas” ed. M. Magnusson.

  9. Pingback: The Lives of Servants | Savidge Reads

  10. Bente

    A “must read” if you are going ti Island is the old Islandic sagas. Downloadable here http://sagadb.org/index_az

    • Alas I don’t have an e-reader and couldn’t take my laptop, well I didn’t want to, so I have missed those. If I ever get one of those evil (ha) contraptions I will download this though so thank you.

  11. Joan Hennessey

    I spent a week in Iceland the end of September. Loved it and would like to go back to see places I didn’t have time to see. My husband and I found two good bookshops on the main shopping street in the centre of Reykjavik, Bankastraeti. They both have English books. I have read, I think, all of the books by Yrsa and Arnaldur, and I hope to find more.

    • It really is an amazing place isn’t it Joan? I am so eager to go back, I am going to take The Beard with me next year if that is possible, we will see.

      I found the book shops you mentioned and will be featuring them in a special Icelandic week at the start of January!

  12. Lily Pond

    To understand the modern Icelander, I highly recommend Halldor Laxness’ Independent People. In 1955, Halldor was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature. You will easy stumble upon the many bookstores in Reykjavik. I started reading Independent People on the return flight home from a short visit to Iceland. If you read the book, please let me know what you think. If anyone has read this highly acclaimed novel, please let me know your thoughts. Parts of this story were very funny! Hope you enjoyed your trip.

    • I managed to get Independent People when I got back from Iceland. They had copies there but I kept going into bookshops and getting sidetracked by gorgeous covers of books out there that I couldn’t read hahahaha. I did find a copy in my hotel room, belonging to the hotel and unswappable, which I read a few pages of and then got when I got back.

  13. Another vote for The Tricking of Freya.

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