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  • Hilde Huus


The New York Times recently published an article on what to read when planning to visit Reykjavik. This is one of an ongoing series of suggested readings when visiting various world cities. The Reykjavik article’s author, Olaf Olafsson, is an Icelandic businessman and himself an author. He suggests starting with the Icelandic Sagas since, he says, “to Icelanders, the characters from the Sagas are still very much alive and referred to in daily speech as if they were close relatives.”

Of the other books he recommends, I have only read “The Greenhouse” by Auður Ava Ólafsdóttir, but I liked it so much I have read it twice. I also enjoyed her more recent novel “Miss Iceland.”

Here are the rest of the books from Olaf Olafsson’s list. I don’t have any immediate plans to travel to Iceland, but I will definitely be checking some of these out. I would love to hear from anyone else who reads any books from this list! (You can email me at

  • “Independent People,” Halldór Laxness

  • “The Good Shepherd,” Gunnar Gunnarsson

  • “Angels of the Universe,” Einar Már Guðmundsson

  • “The Greenhouse,” Auður Ava Ólafsdóttir

  • “The Blue Fox,” Sjón and Victoria Cribb

  • “The Woman at 1000 Degrees,” Hallgrímur Helgason

  • “Quake,” Auður Jónsdóttir

  • “The Sorrow of Angels,” Jón Kalman Stefánsson

  • “Storm Birds,” Einar Kárason

  • Crime fiction by Yrsa Sigurðardóttir, Arnaldur Indriðason and Ragnar Jónasson

  • “Icelandic Poetry,” translated by Bernard Scudder

  • “Pastor Böðvar’s Letter,” Ólafur Jóhann Sigurðsson

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