Reading List: Iceland

512KGZ548AL._SY300_Iceland: Land of the Sagas by David Roberts and Jon Krakauer. An examination of the rich Icelandic heritage through its literary tradition. Introduces sagas amidst the country’s dramatic landscapes. Encounter horses, monks, outlaws, trolls and witches in a tale blending evocative narrative and photography.

  The Windows of Brimnes: An American in Iceland by Bill Holm. The personal account of an Icelandic-American who decided to visit the island of his ancestors. He eventually bought a house called Brimnes in the northern fjord village of Hofsos. Holm writes: “When Americans ask me to describe my little house, I tell then, not entirely disingenuously, that it a series of magical windows with a few simple boards to hold them up, to protect your head from rain while you stare out at the sea.”

 The Far Traveler: Voyages of a Viking Woman by Nancy Marie Brown. Brown chronicles the history of Gudrid, a Viking woman who sailed to the New World five centuries before Columbus. In 2001, a team of archaeologists discovered her possible last house, located where the sagas suggested. Discover this incredible millennium-old mystery of one of the most legendary North American expeditions ever made.

Good Horse Has No Color A Good Horse Has No Color by Nancy Marie Brown. Brown returns to Iceland, finding inspiration in Iceland horses. She visits horse farms, meets skillful writers, and discovers what makes these animals so unique among the race.

Moon Country by Simon Armitage. A collection of poems on Iceland’s history and topography from a Professor of Poetry.

Egil’s Saga by Anonymous. Even if medieval literature is not your thing, Iceland culture is rampant with tales of heroes, mythological creatures and mischievous outlaws. If you do read one, read Egil’s Saga—a colorful saga of an ugly skald (poet/warrior) and his struggles with the law.

Angels of the Universe by Einar Mar Gudmundsson. A beautifully written, humorous tale of one man’s dark descent into madness.

laxness-independent-peopleIndependent People by Halldor Laxness. Dubbed the father of modern Icelandic literature, Laxness won the Nobel Prize for Literature for this stark tale of the sheep farmer Bjartur.

Letters from Iceland By WH Auden and Louis MacNeice. Two poets partnered up in 1936 and traversed this landscape.

Gunnloth’s Tale. Svava Jakobsdottir. A compelling novel that mixes Norse mythology with modern mystery.

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