Land of the Sagas
Author: David Roberts,Jon Krakauer
Publisher: Villard Books
Photographs exploring the grandeur of Iceland's remarkable geography accompany tales of real-life heroes and supernatural beings
Author: Richard Fidler,Kari Gislason
Publisher: HarperCollins Australia
Category: Biography & Autobiography
'I adored this book - a wondrous compendium of Iceland's best sagas' - Hannah Kent A new friendship. An unforgettable journey. A beautiful and bloody history. This is Iceland as you've never read it before ... Broadcaster Richard Fidler and author Kári Gíslason are good friends. They share a deep attachment to the sagas of Iceland - the true stories of the first Viking families who settled on that remote island in the Middle Ages.These are tales of blood feuds, of dangerous women, and people who are compelled to kill the ones they love the most. The sagas are among the greatest stories ever written, but the identity of their authors is largely unknown. Together, Richard and Kári travel across Iceland, to the places where the sagas unfolded a thousand years ago. They cross fields, streams and fjords to immerse themselves in the folklore of this fiercely beautiful island. And there is another mission: to resolve a longstanding family mystery - a gift from Kari's Icelandic father that might connect him to the greatest of the saga authors.
An American in Iceland
Author: Bill Holm
Publisher: Milkweed Editions
Bill Holm is one of a kind. A Minnesotan of Icelandic ancestry, his travels have taken him all over the world, providing the material for a number of rich and memorable books. In The Windows of Brimnes, Holm travels to Brimnes, his fisherman’s cottage on the shore of a creek in northern Iceland. From there, he considers the fate of America — "my home, my citizenship, my burden" — in these provocative essays.
Strangers in Iceland
Author: Sarah Moss
Sarah Moss had a childhood dream of moving to Iceland, sustained by a wild summer there when she was nineteen. In 2009, she saw an advertisement for a job at the University of Iceland and applied on a whim, despite having two young children and a comfortable life in Kent. The resulting adventure was shaped by Icelands economic collapse, which halved the value of her salary, by the eruption of Eyjafjallajokull and by a collection of new friends, including a poet who saw the only bombs fall on Iceland in 1943, a woman who speaks to elves and a chef who guided Sarahs family around the intricacies of Icelandic cuisine. Moss explored hillsides of boiling mud and volcanic craters and learned to drive like an Icelander on the unsurfaced roads that link remote farms and fishing villages in the far north. She watched the northern lights and the comings and goings of migratory birds, and as the weeks and months went by, she and her family learned new ways to live. Names for the Sea is her compelling, beautiful and very funny account of living in a country poised on the edge of Europe, where modernization clashes with living folklore.
A Social History of Iceland
Author: Sigurður Gylfi Magnússon
Publisher: Reaktion Books
Iceland is an enigmatic island country marked by contradiction: it’s a part of Europe, yet separated from it by the Atlantic Ocean; it’s seemingly inhospitable, yet home to more than 300,000. Wasteland with Words explores these paradoxes to uncover the mystery of Iceland. In Wasteland with Words Sigurdur Gylfi Magnússon presents a wide-ranging and detailed analysis of the island’s history that examines the evolution and transformation of Icelandic culture while investigating the literary and historical factors that created the rich cultural heritage enjoyed by Icelanders today. Magnússon explains how a nineteenth-century economy based on the industries of fishing and agriculture—one of the poorest in Europe—grew to become a disproportionately large economic power in the late twentieth century, while retaining its strong sense of cultural identity. Bringing the story up to the present, he assesses the recent economic and political collapse of the country and how Iceland has coped. Throughout Magnússon seeks to chart the vast changes in this country’s history through the impact and effect on the Icelandic people themselves. Up-to-date and fascinating, Wasteland with Words is a comprehensive study of the island’s cultural and historical development, from tiny fishing settlements to a global economic power.
Author: Einar Mar Jonsson,Guillaume Cannat
Publisher: Harry N. Abrams
A photographic tour of the dramatic landscape of Iceland captures a world of sweeping ocean vistas, active volcanoes, waterfalls, hot springs, lava floes, glaciers, ice fields, and rocky mountains, accompanied by a naturalist's account of the vast forces that have shaped the island nation through geologic time.
Author: Kári Gíslason
Publisher: Univ. of Queensland Press
Category: Biography & Autobiography
Born from a secret liaison between a British mother and an Icelandic father, Kári Gíslason was the subject of a promise: a promise elicited by his father not to reveal his identity in order to spare his wife and five other children. At the age of 27, Kári decides to break the pact between his parents by contacting his father’s family; what follows makes for a riveting journey over landscapes, time, and memory. From the shark net at Sydney’s Balmoral and an unsettled life in the English countryside to the harsh yellow summer of Brisbane and the freezing cold winters of Iceland, the author traces his mother’s steps into the arms of a secret lover. At the culmination of this poignant, painful, and joyous story, Kári’s determination to defy his father’s wishes results in his uniting with his relatives.
Author: Jesse L Byock
Publisher: Penguin UK
Medieval Iceland was unique amongst Western Europe, with no foreign policy, no defence forces, no king, no lords, no peasants and few battles. It should have been a utopia yet its literature is dominated by brutality and killing. The reasons for this, argues Jesse Byock, lie in the underlying structures and cultural codes of the islands' social order. 'Viking Age Iceland' is an engaging, multi-disciplinary work bringing together findings in anthropology and ethnography interwoven with historical fact and masterful insights into the popular Icelandic sagas, this is a brilliant reconstruction of the inner workings of a unique and intriguing society.
Author: Magnus Magnusson
Publisher: The History Press
Magnus Magnusson relates the world-famous Icelandic sagas to the spectacular living landscapes of today, taking the reader on a literary tour of the mountains, valleys, and fjords where the heroes and heroines of the sagas lived out their eventful lives. He also tells the story of the first Viking settler, Ingolfur Anarson.
Author: Barbara A. Somervill
Publisher: Childrens Press
Category: Juvenile Nonfiction
Discusses the history, government, culture, people, climate, wildlife, and plants of this island nation.
A True Story of Impossible Murder in Iceland
Author: Anthony Adeane
Category: True Crime
In 1974, two men vanished without a trace under suspicious circumstances, shocking the people of Iceland, where serious crime is almost non-existent. More than a year later there seemed to be a breakthrough when a small-time crook named Erla Bolladottir described a dream to police that they interpreted as a sign of trauma related to the men’s disappearance. After lengthy interrogations, investigations and courtroom dramas, Erla and five acquaintances confessed to killing both men and were given prison sentences ranging from three years to life. But over the years the case against the convicted six began to disintegrate, and one major question remained unanswered: Why had they all confessed to murder if they hadn’t done it? Out of Thin Air joins Erla in the present day as she pursues her exoneration, exploring the many facets of this bizarre and bewildering case and the social and cultural history of Iceland, a country of vast landscapes, extreme weather and strange folklore, where more than eighty per cent of the population believes that elves might exist.
Author: Stephen Markley,Sigga Rún
Publisher: Giveliveexplore LLC
From drinking late into the night with gorgeous Icelandic blondes to traveling to the farthest reaches of the country; from hiking over glaciers to encountering a drunk, raging Kiefer Sutherland; from interviewing Jón Gnarr, the comedian mayor of Reykjavik (who ran on a platform of having free towels at all the swimming pools), to touring the homes of Iceland's hidden elves; Markley delivers the fastest, funniest memoir of an American experience in Iceland. -- p.  of cover.
Author: Gunnar Karlsson
Publisher: U of Minnesota Press
Iceland is unique among European societies in having been founded as late as the Viking Age and in having copious written and archaeological sources about its origin. Gunnar Karlsson, that country's premier historian, chronicles the age of the Sagas, consulting them to describe an era without a monarch or central authority. Equating this prosperous time with the golden age of antiquity in world history, Karlsson then marks a correspondence between the Dark Ages of Europe and Iceland's "dreary period", which started with the loss of political independence in the late thirteenth century and culminated with an epoch of poverty and humility, especially during the early Modern Age. Iceland's renaissance came about with the successful struggle for independence in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, and with the industrial and technical modernization of the first half of the twentieth century. Karlsson describes the rise of nationalism as Iceland's mostly poor peasants set about breaking with Denmark, and he shows how Iceland in the twentieth century slowly caught up economically with its European neighbors.
The People of the Sagas
Author: William R. Short
The Sagas of Icelanders are enduring stories from Viking-age Iceland filled with love and romance, battles and feuds, tragedy and comedy. Yet these tales are little read today, even by lovers of literature. The culture and history of the people depicted in the Sagas are often unfamiliar to the modern reader, though the audience for whom the tales were intended would have had an intimate understanding of the material. This text introduces the modern reader to the daily lives and material culture of the Vikings. Topics covered include religion, housing, social customs, the settlement of disputes, and the early history of Iceland. Issues of dispute among scholars, such as the nature of settlement and the division of land, are addressed in the text.
From the Settlement to the Present Day
Author: Jón R. Hjálmarsson
History of Iceland for the general reader, from discovery and first settlement, the Commonweath, Saga Age, foreign rule, Reformation of 1550, independence, Home Rule and the Republic, with a summary of economy and society.
Survival on the Edge
Author: Margaret Willson
Publisher: University of Washington Press
The plaque said this was the winter fishing hut of Thur�dur Einarsd�ttir, one of Iceland's greatest fishing captains, and that she lived from 1777 to 1863. "Wait," anthropologist and former seawoman Margaret Willson said. "She??" So began a quest. Were there more Icelandic seawomen? Most Icelanders said no, and, after all, in most parts of the world fishing is considered a male profession. What could she expect in Iceland? She found a surprise. This book is a glimpse into the lives of vibrant women who have braved the sea for centuries. Their accounts include the excitement, accidents, trials, and tribulations of fishing in Iceland from the historic times of small open rowboats to today's high-tech fisheries. Based on extensive historical and field research, Seawomen of Iceland allows the seawomen's voices to speak directly with strength, intelligence, and - above all - a knowledge of how to survive. This engaging ethnographic narrative will intrigue both general and academic readers interested in maritime culture, the anthropology of work, Nordic life, and gender studies.
Author: Oddný Eir
Publisher: Restless Books
“Oddný Eir is an authentic author, philosopher and mystic. She weaves together diaries and fiction. She is the writer I feel can best express the female psyche of now and has bridged the gap between rural Iceland and Western philosophy. A true pioneer!!!!!!!!” —Björk The winner of the Icelandic Women’s Literature Prize in 2012, Land of Love and Ruins is the debut novel by a daring new voice in international fiction: Oddný Eir. Written in the form of a diary but with fantastical linguistic verve, the narrator sets out on a universal quest: to find a place to belong—and a way of being in the world. Paradoxically, her longing to settle down drives her to embark on all kinds of journeys, physical and mental, through time and space, in order to find answers to questions that concern not only her personally, but also the whole of humankind. She explores various modes of living, ponders different types of relationships and contemplates her bond with her family, land and nation; trying to find a balance between companionship and independence, movement and stability, past, present, and future. An enchanting blend of autobiography, diary, philosophical inquiry, and fantasy, Land of Love and Ruins is a richly imagined and utterly unique book about being human in the modern world.
Author: Halldor Laxness
Sometimes grim, sometimes uproarious, and always captivating, Iceland’s Bell by Nobel Laureate Halldór Laxness is at once an updating of the traditional Icelandic saga and a caustic social satire. At the close of the 17th century, Iceland is an oppressed Danish colony, suffering under extreme poverty, famine, and plague. A farmer and accused cord-thief named Jon Hreggvidsson makes a bawdy joke about the Danish king and soon after finds himself a fugitive charged with the murder of the king’s hangman. In the years that follow, the hapless but resilient rogue Hreggvidsson becomes a pawn entangled in political and personal conflicts playing out on a far grander scale. Chief among these is the star-crossed love affair between Snaefridur, known as “Iceland’s Sun,” a beautiful, headstrong young noblewoman, and Arnas Arnaeus, the king’s antiquarian, an aristocrat whose worldly manner conceals a fierce devotion to his downtrodden countrymen. As their personal struggle plays itself out on an international stage, Iceland’s Bell creates a Dickensian canvas of heroism and venality, violence and tragedy, charged with narrative enchantment on every page. From the Trade Paperback edition.
Author: Leifur Eiricksson
Publisher: Penguin UK
Kormak's Saga, The Saga of Hallfred Troublesome-Poet, The Saga of Gunnlaug Serpent-Tongue, The Saga of Bjorn, Champion of the Hitardal People, Viglund's Saga Set in the farmsteads of Viking age Iceland at a time when the old ethos of honour and heroic adventure merged with new ideas of romantic infatuation, each of these sagas features poet heroes, complex love triangles, and travels to foreign lands.
Author: Feodor Pitcairn,Ari Trausti Gundmundsson
Publisher: Power House Books
Primordial Landscapes: Iceland Revealed elegantly explores the diverse and raw beauty of Iceland's extraordinary landscapes through striking images by photographer and naturalist Feodor Pitcairn and the inspired words of geophysicist, author, and poet Ari Trausti Guðmundsson. This collection illuminates topographical phenomenon shaped and crafted by the most powerful natural forces on earth: rain and glacier melt form thunderous waterfalls and rivers that carve at the earth's surface; arctic snow and ice peppering the land and sea with striking shapes and patterns, feeding the climate and water cycles; lava flows from active volcanoes that build vast, textured landforms where life can begin and take hold. These are the beautiful and extraordinary results of our planet's most fundamental geological processes. Pitcairn's passion for photography lies in his desire to convey the truest account possible of the natural environments he explores and strives to protect. Each Primordial Landscapes image was made with a digital Hasselblad camera, delivering superior color, detail, and clarity. A map and index provide intriguing geological and cultural information about the content of the photographs.