The culture of Iceland is unlike any other country. They have the reputation for being not only one of the world’s most-read countries but also having more writers as a percentage than anywhere else in proportion to their population (Facts about Iceland). We spent winter in Iceland when it was cold and the nights started at 3 pm and finished at 11 am. So we had plenty of time to read various books about Iceland. Check what you should read before visiting Iceland – a country with the most unique landscape.

books about iceland
Books set in Iceland

How Iceland Changed the World: The Big History of a Small Island by Egill Bjarnason

“How Iceland Changed the World” is a great and very engaging book about Iceland and its contributions to the rest of our world. Egill Bjarnason made the book a page-turner, you want to read further just to learn more interesting facts about Iceland.
Each chapter refers to different time in the world history and Iceland involment in it.

The Little Book of the Icelanders by Alda Sigmundsdottir

Alda Sigmundsdottir is an Icelander raised abroad so giving a unique perspective on Icelandic culture, language or customs. It’s another book which is a must to read before visiting Iceland if you want to understand Icelanders and their custom and habits.

The Little Book of Tourists in Iceland by Alda Sigmundsdottir

The Little Book of Tourists in Iceland: Tips, tricks, and what the Icelanders really think of you

Iceland is not just a geographical location; it’s also the people, culture and history that make up this beautiful country. In her new book “Insight Guides: Iceland,” author Sandra Hempel brings readers on an in-depth journey into what makes Iceland so special – its natural beauty, rich cultural heritage of Viking traditions and ancient folklore, as well as some significant recent changes brought about by tourism growth.

Wild Horses of the Summer Sun: A Memoir of Iceland

The author’s love for horses is evident in her adventures to Iceland. She falls head over heels with the country and icelandin horses, admiring its unique and beautiful landscape as she rides through fields, along trails and near fjords on horseback. She forms a long-term friendship with other female riders; their ponies carry them across lakes shrouded in fog or past mountains covered by snow while they ride into blizzards at night. Her experiences make it clear just how much exploring Iceland has changed her life.

“Heida -A Shepherd at the Edge of the World” Steinunn Sigurdardóttir

Heida is an inspiring and true story of Icelandic sheep farmer, former model and feminist heroine Heida Asgeirsdottir. Heida quit her model carier and become a solitary sheep farmer in remote part of Iceland.

Before being a novelist, Steinunn Sigurdardóttir (b.1950) was a poet.

“101 Reykjavík” Hallgrímur Helgason

It sounds like a cliché, yet it’s true: Hallgrímur Helgason is the enfant terrible of Icelandic letters, the one who seems to have embarked on writing in order to shake up all together the revered language of his country and the conscience . In 101 Reykjavík, Helgason the iconoclast plunges his reader into the mind of a lazy, immature, flippant thirty-something who is suddenly ejected from his lovable I-don’t care when he learns that his mother is a lesbian. It’s funny, stinging, irreverent – Icelandic readers didn’t like it, but Helgason’s novel has been translated into about 15 languages.

Burial Rites: A Novel by Hannah Kent

The novel is set in rural Iceland in 1829. Agnes awaits execution for the murder on the local farm as there is no prison around. Agnes is requesting a priest visit to whom she confessed her story of abandonment, mistreatment and more. This multilayer story is showing the harshness of living in XIX century Iceland.

“The Bell of Iceland”, by Halldor Laxness 

Halldor Laxness (1902-1998), a powerful and prolific writer, with protean talent and work, crowned in 1955 by the Nobel Prize for literature. His itinerary marries the history of the great aesthetic and intellectual European currents of the 20th century, to which he familiarized himself by willingly traveling far from his dear native island – to which however he always returned. Poet, playwright, essayist, he gave, in the 1940s, with The Bell of Iceland, a picaresque and political novel anchored in 18th century Iceland, a classic of Scandinavian letters – a portrait of the soul of his country .

Names for the Sea: Strangers in Iceland by Sarah Moss

“Names for the Sea” is a family (2 adults+2 young children) memoir of living in Reykjavik. Sarah Moss arrived in Iceland with her family to teach on the University, just after Iceland financial collapse. Moss cannot understand Icelanders mentality in respect of money and bringing up children. book is perfectly showing difference between British and Icelanders. Its a great read if you planning to live in Iceland.

A Kid’s Guide to Iceland

A Kid’s Guide to Iceland is a great book to introduce children to Iceland’s culture, wildlife and geography. It includes fascinating history from Viking times. geography, culture, wildlife and more. Even book is designed for children (the large format with big pictures) its a fascinating read for the whole family rising curiosity in children and parents to explore Iceland.

Books about Iceland – Pin it for later

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