More Book Reviews:


A False Version Of The Truth

When we meet Einar, a seasoned Reykjavík crime reporter, at the opening of Árni Þórarinsson’s ‘Season of the Witch,’ he—much like the country around him—is in the midst of great change, and he’s not terribly happy about it.

Monster or Martyr

Based on the real story of Agnes Magnúsdóttir, who in 1830 became the last person to be executed for a crime in Iceland, `Burial Rites,’ the debut novel by Australian author Hannah Kent, is the culmination of ten years’ of writing, research, and obsession—what the 26-year-old winner of the Writing Australia Unpublished Manuscript Award describes as her “dark love letter to Iceland.”

Unraveled By Alda Sigmundsdóttir

‘Unraveled,’ the debut novel of seasoned journalist, translator, author, and blogger Alda Sigmundsdóttir, opens on the brink of calamity—the sort of world-changing upheaval whose warning signs, in retrospect, seem so obvious, but which completely elude those involved until it’s much too late.

On The Cold Coasts By Vilborg Daviðsdóttir

The book begins with childbirth and a shipwreck. But cutting far deeper than a simple romantic adventure story, ‘On the Cold Coasts’ transports us back to fifteenth century Iceland where blizzards start in the blink of an eye.

The Return Of Iceland's Bell

Ask Icelanders about the bad old times under Danish rule and they will probably tell you about how the Danes periodically whipped Icelandic farmers if they dared trade with merchants from other countries or how they stole our bell to pay for their incessant warfare on the continent.

Reply To A Letter From Helga

A frank and poetic meditation on nature, relationships, and the choices that define us, Bergsveinn Birgisson’s ‘Reply To A Letter From Helga’ paints an unflinching portrait of Bjarni, an elderly man on the verge of “the Great Relocation congenital to all men” who is ready to finally face the defining decision of his life and respond to a letter left unanswered for so many years.

Fish In The Sky

“To actually cease being a child, that’s probably the greatest experience in life.” So thinks Josh Stephenson, the unusually sensitive and observant teen narrator of Fridrik Erling’s ‘Fish in the Sky.’

An Odd Saga, Indeed

"As the others made small talk, I glanced out the window and wondered how I'd explain things to everyone: 'Why am I back?´" So begins EE Ryan’s first novella ‘The Odd Saga Of The American And A Curious Icelandic Flock.

A Novel, A Translation and Unapologetic Plagiarisms

Who’s not afraid of the big bad wolf of plagiarism? The poet and central character in Bragi Ólafsson’s second novel to come out in English, ‘The Ambassador’, that’s who.

antennae scratch sky by Þórunn Erla Valdimarsdóttir

Divided into sections (‘Intro’, ‘Death and Life’, ‘Cosmic Dreams’, ‘Day to Day’) with colour-coded titles, ‘antennae scratch sky’ touches on life cycles, animal instincts, sexuality, cosmos, fruit and the meaning of the word “motherfucker”.

This Was The Real Iceland

It is a little difficult to decide which of two ways to describe Sigurður Gylfi Magnússon's new book ‘Wasteland With Words’.

Heaven and Hell by Jón Kalman Stefánsson

Jón Kalman Stefánsson’s first work in English translation, ‘Heaven and Hell’ (‘Himnaríki og helvíti’, Bjartur, October 2007), was released on September 2 by MacLehose Press (an imprint of Quercus).

Book Review: 25 Beautiful Walks Walking Trails of the Greater Reykjavik Area

With author Reynir Ingibjartsson’s interest in his subject and sense of humour coming through every entry, 25 Beautiful Walks is a nature-walk-lover’s ode to Reykjavík.

Vikings in America

By now we all know that Scandinavian settlers reached Greenland in the late 900s and built settlements there that endured for more than four hundred years.

Two New Guidebooks To Iceland

Need to buy a guidebook to Iceland? You can choose from Lonely Planet, the Rough Guides, Frommer’s, Insight Guides, and the Bradt Guides.

Absolutely Fable-ous!

Twelve volumes and counting, with no end in sight, Fables by Bill Willingham is probably Vertigo’s finest on-going series.

Dungeon (The Series)

French humour has sometimes been described as “not funny” or “weird”. Lewis Trondheim is both French and funny.

The Far Traveler: Voyages of a Viking Woman

The title and blurb of this book leads you to think it’s about Guðríður Þorbjarnardóttir, the wife of Þorfinnur Karlsefni and mother of Snorri Þorfinnsson, the first European child to be born on the North American continent.

Frank Castle, The Punisher: Six Hours to Kill

Like so many readers and writers of this beloved mag, you're probably a bleeding heart liberal. You're against whale hunting and capital punishment. That's okay, this reviewer is too. Kinda.

Funny, Colourful Filth

The comic strips in “The Trial of Colonel Sweeto” are hilarious and multicoloured and filthy like uhm.... like rainbow poop.

The Blue Fox (Skuggabaldur)

In his 2003 novel, writer/poet Sjón takes the reader on to a journey to provincial Iceland of the 19th century and the life of two men, Pastor Baldur and the farmer Friðrik Friðriksson.

A Traveler's Guide to Icelandic Folk Tales

While traveling around Iceland, tourists will often hear stories of Icelandic folk legends.

Troll's Cathedral

Trolls´Cathedral (original Icelandic title Tröllakirkja) is the first part of an acclaimed trilogy by author Ólafur Gunnarsson

Children's Reykjavík

By the time adults have children, they’re often out of touch with kid culture and need help figuring out what to do all day with their three-foot wonders. Even once things get going reasonably well, it’s easy to get into a rut

Must Love Zombies

There is something very addictive in this ongoing, apparently non-stop series. What can it be?

The Travels of Reverend Ólafur Egilsson

On a summer day in 1627, pirates landed on Heimaey, the largest of the Westmann Islands. They swarmed over the island’s farms and houses, killed thirty-four of its residents and forced 242 men, women, and children onto their ships.

100 Crazy Things (Apparently)

A far cry from Icelandair’s notorious ‘Dirty Weekend in Reykjavík’ ad campaign a few years back and the Bangkok of the North label Iceland has received in the past, this book is sweet and romantic rather than sex-oriented.

100 Crazy Things (Apparently)

50 Crazy Things to Taste in Iceland lists, well, fifty crazy things to taste in Iceland. It is obviously aimed at tourists, and with me being an Icelandic native myself, I didn’t expect to find the foods listed here so crazy.

Two Collections Of Comics By Fletcher

Recently rediscovered and dubbed "the Ed Wood of comics", the late Fletcher Hanks was a cartoonist from the golden age of comic books (late 1930s – late 40s).

European Champions

The only negative thing to say about this book and these series of Tove Janssons's comic strips is that they make you jealous.

Angels of the Universe

This is the story of Paul. He was born in 1949, on the day that Iceland joined the NATO alliance. And he believes that being welcomed into this world by protests and tear gas must mean something.

Stumble, an Icelandic Troll Story

Brian Pilkington, a Liverpool native living in Iceland since 1977, is one of the country's most beloved children books' illustrators.

The Windows of Brimnes

In 1998, Minnesotan writer and teacher Bill Holm bought himself a house called Brimnes in Hofsós, a small village a half-hour's drive from the town of Sauðárkrókur in northern Iceland.

Speechless By The Mountain

This short philosophical essay evokes the question of the existence of the human being and his relations to the outside world. Standing at the foot of the Askja, in awe of its raw and majestic appearance, Páll Skúlason – Icelandic philosopher and writer – searches for his place in the world as an entity.

A (Slightly Outdated) History of Iceland

As the title clearly states, this book is a very brief account of the history of our small nation and country. And the first thing I noticed is that it is in fact very small, making it quite handy for travellers.

“Xenophobe’s guide to the Icelanders”

Here’s a book about the Icelander and his or her true self – told from the foreigner’s point of view. The author, Richard Sale from the UK, mocks Icelanders in every respect. Nothing that foreigners consider odd, special or different about Icelanders remains untouched.

Magic Lore

Legends and Lanscape [Ed. Terry Gunnell, 2009]
A full moon glimmers across snow-laden fields.  Somewhere in the distance a wolf howls.  Noiselessly, through a strange mist, a shadow emerges.  The last thing you see is the flash of two swollen, white canines.  Sound familiar?  Stories of vampires, like all legends, tell us something innate about ourselves: where we have been and where we might go from here.

Focus on Iceland

This travel book from 2008 is built around 600 photographs by Rafn Hafnfjörð, a well-established Icelandic photographer known for his photographs of Icelandic landscape and sceneries. The text is supplied by Ari Trausti, a poet and geophysicist, whose works concern geology and volcanology, as well as environmental science. Therefore, he is certainly an eligible co-author for a travel book about Iceland.

"A promise was made somewhere"

Promising Genomics -  Iceland and deCODE Genetics in a World of Speculation
"Hereby we formally request an answer from the Independence Party and the Centrist Party regarding the truth of the claim that these parties have accepted a large sum of money, a contribution worth as much as half a million US dollars, from deCODE Genetics, the parent company of Íslensk erfðagreining, or from related parties.

Svalbard – A Woman in the Polar Night

By Christiane Ritter (1938)


Ireland – The Island of the White Cow

By Deborah Tall (1986)


Inside Reykjavík: The Grapevine Guide

By Bart Cameron (2006)

Iceland – Ripples from Iceland

By Amalia Líndal (1962)


Faroe Islands - Far Afield

By Susanna Kaysen (1990)

An African in Greenland

By Tété-Michel Kpomassie (1981)


The English Dane

The English Dane By Sarah Bakewell

Dreaming of Iceland: The Lure of a Family Legend

Dreaming of Iceland: The Lure of a Family Legend By Sally Magnusson.

The Killer’s Guide to Iceland

The Killer’s Guide to Iceland By Bane Radcliffe

The Ice Museum: In Search of the Lost Land of Thule

The Ice Museum: In Search of the Lost Land of Thule By Joanna Kavenna

The Xenophobes Guide To The Icelanders

It’s a must read, and a good bit of fun if you are new to the country or otherwise, and it’s at least worth putting in your bathroom.


Waking Up In Iceland

From the picture to the page, this is a more traditional sort of guide.

Reykjavik 64...

Reykjavik 64°08N 21°54W

Northern Delights

This time of the year the bookshops are full of illustrated books directed at the tourist market. In them, the sky is blue, the moss is green, the lava is black and the horses manes trail in the breeze. Not many of us who live here have actually witnessed much of this particlular scene, but the books sell well and do a fine job in promoting the flora and fauna of Iceland to those who see them on the coffe tables of returning visitors.
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