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SMITHSONIAN JOURNEYS

Adventure in Iceland

READING AND TRAVEL GUIDE

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Books for

Enrich your travels with reading! Here's a hand-picked list prepared for your journey in conjunction with the book experts at Longitude.

Essential Reading

Item EXICL63. Buy these 5 items as a set for $90 including shipping, 15% off the retail price.
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Ring of Seasons, Iceland, Its Culture and History

Ring of Seasons, Iceland, Its Culture and History

by Terry G. Lacy

  • HISTORY
  • 1998
  • PAPER
  • 332 PAGES

A longtime resident of Reykjavik, Lacy weaves tales of family life, anecdote, lore and history into this illuminating personal portrait of Iceland. (ICL03, $27.95)

Independent People, An Epic

Independent People, An Epic

by Halldor Laxness

  • LITERATURE
  • 1997
  • PAPER
  • 480 PAGES
  • FAVORITE

Rich in local color, this great mock-epic by the Icelandic Nobel Prize-winner features the indelible Bjartur of Summerhouses, a hard-headed, independent-minded sheep farmer. (ICL01, $17.00)

Island on Fire: The Extraordinary Story of a Forgotten Volcano That Changed the World

Island on Fire: The Extraordinary Story of a Forgotten Volcano That Changed the World

by Jeff Kanipe | Alexandra Witze

  • NATURAL HISTORY
  • 2015
  • PAPER
  • 224 PAGES

Two science writers discuss the political and natural ramifications of the 1783 eruption of Iceland's largest volcano, Laki, which led to global death, famine and even revolution. Great for the geologically minded but accessible to all with an interest in volcanoes. (ICL73, $16.95)

Insight Guide Iceland

Insight Guide Iceland

by Insight Guides

  • GUIDEBOOK
  • 2014
  • PAPER
  • 352 PAGES

This guide emphasizes culture and history, with wonderful photographs, maps and essays from experts. (ICL04, $23.99)

Iceland Adventure Map

Iceland Adventure Map

by National Geographic

  • 2011
  • MAP

A detailed map at a scale of 1:465,000, printed on handy tear- and water-resistant paper. (ICL05, $11.95)

 
North: The New Nordic Cuisine of Iceland

North: The New Nordic Cuisine of Iceland


by Evan Sung | Jody Eddy | Gunnar Gislason

  • FOOD
  • 2014
  • HARD COVER
  • 352 PAGES

Catering to a rising interest in Nordic cuisine, this cookbook celebrates Iceland's food alongside its haunting landscapes, portrayed in starkly beautiful, full-color photos. (ICL67, $40.00)

Epic, Strassen Islands, Roads of Iceland

Epic, Strassen Islands, Roads of Iceland


by Stefan Bogner

  • CULTURAL PORTRAIT
  • 2014
  • HARD COVER
  • 224 PAGES

This collection of photographs captures the sweeping roads of Iceland hewn in a landscape of extremes both volcanic and arctic. (ICL78, $54.99)

Iceland Imagined

Iceland Imagined


by Karen Oslund

  • HISTORY
  • 2013
  • PAPER
  • 260 PAGES

This cultural and environmental history explores the geography, literature, language, culture, politics and symbolism of Iceland, Greenland, northern Norway and the Faroe Islands. (ICL57, $24.95)

Penguin Historical Atlas of the Vikings

Penguin Historical Atlas of the Vikings


by John Haywood

  • HISTORY
  • 1995
  • PAPER
  • 144 PAGES

This history of the Vikings tells their story through a series of innovative maps and excellent photographs. It traces the routes of 9th-century Viking merchants and explorers throughout Europe and the New World. (VIK02, $22.00)

The Almost Nearly Perfect People, Behind the Myth of the Scandinavian Utopia

The Almost Nearly Perfect People, Behind the Myth of the Scandinavian Utopia


by Michael Booth

  • CULTURAL PORTRAIT
  • 2016
  • PAPER
  • 400 PAGES

Guardian journalist Booth writes with laugh-out-loud humor and brutal candor about the Scandinavians, mixing history and his own experiences in Nordic regions in this searing cultural portrait. (SCN83, $17.00)

The History of Iceland

The History of Iceland


by Gunnar Karlsson

  • HISTORY
  • 2000
  • PAPER
  • 418 PAGES

A history of Iceland from the Viking-era through colonization, independence and the 20th century. Karlsson draws on the sagas and rich literature of Iceland in presenting this comprehensive history. (ICL17, $25.50)

The Vikings, Lords of the Seas

The Vikings, Lords of the Seas


by Yves Cohat

  • HISTORY
  • 2010
  • PAPER
  • 175 PAGES

An indispensable reference that fits in your pocket, this slim volume is packed with maps, archival photographs and illustrations. (VIK01, $15.95)

Vikings, The North Atlantic Saga

Vikings, The North Atlantic Saga


by William Fitzhugh | Elisabeth Ward

  • HISTORY
  • 2000
  • PAPER
  • 432 PAGES

An extensively illustrated volume of Viking culture, history and exploration that focuses especially on voyages to North America. Published in conjunction with a Smithsonian exhibit, it features essays and 400 color photographs. (VIK11, $34.95)

The Far Traveler, Voyages of a Viking Woman

The Far Traveler, Voyages of a Viking Woman


by Nancy Marie Brown

  • EXPLORATION
  • 2008
  • PAPER
  • 320 PAGES

Brown's intriguing account of the life of the young Viking woman Gudrid sheds light on early Norse settlements in Iceland, Newfoundland and beyond. It's an archaeological mystery, a history of ancient seamanship and a biography all rolled into one. (VIK26, $16.95)

Iceland, Land of the Sagas

Iceland, Land of the Sagas


by Jon Krakauer | David Roberts

  • TRAVEL NARRATIVE
  • 1998
  • PAPER
  • 160 PAGES

Krakauer and colleague Roberts hike and climb around Iceland in this classic travel narrative, reissued as a paperback and featuring Krakauer's color photographs. The book interweaves the natural and cultural history of the island with the authors' own adventures. (ICL07, $28.00)

Last Places, A Journey in the North

Last Places, A Journey in the North


by Lawrence Millman | Paul Theroux

  • TRAVEL NARRATIVE
  • 2000
  • PAPER
  • 242 PAGES

Millman explores the culture and history of the Faroes, Iceland and Greenland in this hilarious account of his travels in the wake of the ancient Vikings. (ARC54, $15.95)

Names for the Sea, Strangers in Iceland

Names for the Sea, Strangers in Iceland


by Sarah Moss

  • BIOGRAPHY/MEMOIR
  • 2013
  • PAPER
  • 358 PAGES

A stranger in a strange land, British novelist Sarah Moss captures the spirit of Iceland in this tale of a year in the Reykjavik with her husband and two children. (ICL61, $17.95)

The Windows of Brimnes, An American in Iceland

The Windows of Brimnes, An American in Iceland


by Bill Holm

  • TRAVEL NARRATIVE
  • 2008
  • PAPER
  • 216 PAGES

In these provocative essays, Minnesotan Bill Holm writes about the fate of America from his fisherman's cottage on the shore of a creek in northern Iceland. (ICL63, $15.00)

Jar City

Jar City


by Arnaldur Indridason

  • MYSTERY
  • 2006
  • PAPER
  • 288 PAGES

Indridason's first moody police procedural finds Reykjavik detective Erlendur Sveinsson investigating the brutal murder of a lonely pensioner and the man's connection to the deaths of a number of young women. Made into a darkly superb film. (ICL27, $17.00)

The Prose Edda

The Prose Edda


by Snorri Sturluson | Jesse Byock

  • LITERATURE
  • 2006
  • PAPER
  • 304 PAGES

A new translation of one of the most influential and entertaining medieval Icelandic sagas, the source for much of what we know of Norse mythology. (ICL26, $17.00)

The Sagas of Icelanders

The Sagas of Icelanders


by Jane Smiley | Robert Kellog

  • LITERATURE
  • 2001
  • PAPER
  • 848 PAGES

Nine sagas and six tales composed between the years 1000 and 1500, including an account of Leif Eriksson's voyage to North America, all newly translated. (ICL13, $27.00)

A Naturalist's Guide to the Arctic

A Naturalist's Guide to the Arctic


by E.C. Pielou

  • NATURAL HISTORY
  • 1994
  • PAPER
  • 327 PAGES

A primer on Arctic climate, geography, plants, birds, mammals and insects in a single nicely written book. It's a highly recommended, enthusiastic guide to natural history throughout the Circumpolar North. (ARC03, $22.00)

The Control of Nature

The Control of Nature


by John McPhee

  • NATURAL HISTORY
  • 1989
  • PAPER
  • 272 PAGES

In the classic McPhee tradition, these sparkling essays explore our generally feeble attempts to combat all-powerful nature, including valiant efforts by Icelanders to control the flow of a volcano across the harbor at Heimaey in the Westman Islands. (NAT01, $16.00)

Volcanoes, Crucibles of Change

Volcanoes, Crucibles of Change


by Richard Fisher

  • NATURAL HISTORY
  • 1998
  • PAPER
  • 344 PAGES

A complete primer for the volcano lover, this heavily illustrated book covers types of volcanoes and eruptions, worldwide distribution and the physics of their formation. (GEO02, $36.95)

Winged Sentinels, Birds and Climate Change

Winged Sentinels, Birds and Climate Change


by Cagan H. Sekercioglu

  • NATURAL HISTORY
  • 2011
  • HARD COVER
  • 262 PAGES

From penguins and puffins, to bowerbirds and bar-tailed godwits, the authors argue persuasively that birds are the bellwether of climate change. (BRD103, $54.99)

Marine Mammals of the North Atlantic

Marine Mammals of the North Atlantic


by Carl Christian Kinze

  • FIELD GUIDE
  • 2003
  • PAPER
  • 192 PAGES

A guide to the marine mammals of the North Atlantic featuring 250 color illustrations. (FG60, $31.95)

More Recommendations

Here are some other groups of books that might be of interest

Longitude provides recommended reading for travelers in partnership with the leading tour operators and travel programs for hundreds of destinations worldwide. We've got the classic, new and hard-to-find books and maps to help you get the most out of your adventures.