- File Size: 223 KB
- Print Length: 66 pages
- Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
- Publisher: Enska textasmidjan (November 8, 2014)
- Publication Date: November 8, 2014
- Sold by: Amazon Digital Services LLC
- Language: English
- ASIN: B00PEXI6YU
- Text-to-Speech: Enabled
- Word Wise: Enabled
- Lending: Enabled
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #286,816 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
The Little Book of the Icelanders: 50 miniature essays on the quirks and foibles of the Icelandic people Kindle Edition
|Length: 66 pages||Word Wise: Enabled||
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Being an Icelander raised mainly abroad, the author is in a unique position to explain the country to non-Icelanders. Of course, as she is careful to make very clear, this is Iceland seen through one person's filter. Because it's so openly a personal perspective I'd have liked to have had more of an extended author bio upfront, explaining why her family left, where she has lived, where she studied, jobs, whom she is married to, number of children, other family still in Iceland? etc. in order for me to put her viewpoints into context. I get the feeling she is well-known and perhaps she assumes people know her back story already, but I don't. However, not knowing that stuff doesn't keep this from being a well-written and fascinating read!
This book is an excellent brief introduction to contemporary Icelandic society. I highly recommend it as a starting place to anyone who, like me, is ignorant but sincerely interested. I'd love to see a "for further reading" list of books (fiction and non-fiction) by other authors or even movies that the author recommends, for more Icelandic perspectives. Of course, I definitely plan to read more by Alda Sigmundsdóttir!
Alda Sigmundsdottir does an excellent job of identifying, explaining, and commenting on some of Iceland's major cultural idiosyncrasies and the influences that contribute to them. She bridges a gap between outsider and native because she is an Icelander by name and genes but was raised abroad and thus has experienced both sides. And, despite accurate (or at least it sounds accurate but we'll see when I visit) analysis of the country's culture and traditions, Alda keeps the whole thing light and casual and funny. I read this in spurts over the course of about a week, but it could be completed within a few hours. Each essay only takes a few minutes to read.
Overall, this provides insight into a country that I don't think the globe really knows what to do with. It's such a unique little island that nowhere else on earth is similar. It's definitely worth the read and provides a good base to start from when you're visiting and looking to experience Iceland with a deeper understanding. Plus it was short and fun.
The introduction of a book contains a warning that it lacks any structure. Well, the book may not be divided into sections or whatever, but it is very easy to read and once you start reading it goes unnoticed, as the style is very spontaneous and the essays follow a logical order.
The essays are just what you hope they are - informative and entertaining. The author has a great sense of humour, although some of her essays are merciless if necessary (which it sometimes is).
The book not just explains the oddities of the Icelanders, in some occassions I only recognized certain behaviour as typical Icelandic only after I read the book. I haven't recognized all the "quirks" of the Icelanders that are mentioned in the book yet - but I'm sure that will come.
During my stay in Iceland the book has been very helpful. The book has answered all of my remaining questions and has been proven useful during conversations with my fellow hostellers. Someone tells me the phone number of the Prime Minister is in the phonebook, and I tell that person that in the Icelandic phone book you can make up your own profession (you won't hear this from your tourguide!). There's a lot to say about Icelandic names and addressing - and it's all in the book. You want to know more about Icelandic family life? Or if you should take your coat to the bar? Or how to be "flott"? Read the book, there's is no way you'll regret it.
I don't want to leave the great illustrations unmentioned - they capture some of the essays in a perfectly and comically. The one about the shower police is forever impressed in my memory and I can't go to the swimming pool without thinking about it and laughing.
All in all, the book is greatly recommended if you want to get to know the Icelandic people, or if you already like them and would like to know more, or if you don't like them and would like to do something about it.