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Are you planning to visit Iceland? Why not prepare for your trip to Iceland by reading some of the fantastic novels set in this stunningly beautiful country!
In this selection, I include some of the best books on Iceland – fiction and non-fiction – about Iceland to help prepare you for your visit. Elf stories, Viking dramas, and murder mysteries.
Iceland has a very strong literary and storytelling culture. It is traditional to give books as gifts at Christmas and every Icelander receives at least one book under the Christmas tree.
Iceland also publishes more books per capita than any other country in the world. The majority of books are published and sold in the 2 months running up to Christmas. This is called the jólabókaflóð or the Christmas book flood!
This love of storytelling is reflected in Icelandic culture. The famous Icelandic Sagas appeared in written form in the 13th century. During the long dark winters in Iceland, a tradition built of communal reading and storytelling.
What better way to get through the harsh cold conditions than sitting around a warm fire listening to tales, poetry and stories? So not only are they amazing storytellers but they also have a beautiful yet brooding landscape to set them in!
Why not purchase a selection of these Icelandic novels and books to take with you on your trip! Looking for itinerary suggestions? This 10 day Iceland ring road trip is the perfect way to enjoy your visit.
Best books on Iceland
THE BEST ICELAND BOOKS - FICTION
A selection of the best fiction books set in Iceland.
A fantastic literary debut from Hannah Kent. This book is inspired by a true story about the final days of a woman accused of murder in Iceland in 1829.
The Sagas of Icelanders: (Penguin Classics Deluxe Edition)
This volume includes ten sagas and seven shorter tales set around the turn of the last millennium. If your interest is in Viking Sagas this book is for you!
Snowblind: A Thriller (The Dark Iceland Series)
Set in a quiet fishing village in northern Iceland this brilliant debut novel from Ragnar Jonasson will keep you enthralled until the very last terrifying page. Introducing Ari Thor the central character across The Dark Iceland Series this novel typifies the murder mystery genre in which the Nordic countries excel.
Names for the Sea: Strangers in Iceland
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, England.
The resulting adventure was shaped by Iceland’s economic collapse, which halved the value of her salary; by the eruption of the volcano Eyjafjallajokull; and by a collection of new friends
The Girl with the Raven Tongue
When a girl’s shoes are found beside a dead raven, and the search for her body is called off, it is left to Police Constable Petra Jensen to close the case and allow the parents to grieve. But when another young woman disappears, Petra must face an Arctic winter in pursuit of a killer who leaves no trace. And she has only her own intuition to guide her…
A Greenland Missing Persons Novella set in the harsh, unpredictable Arctic with its rich tradition of storytelling.
A true masterpiece of Icelandic fiction Independent People is a deeply rewarding novel. Written by Nobel prize winning author Halldor Laxness Iceland’s most prolific author.
Wild Horses of the Summer Sun: A Memoir of Iceland
Wild Horses of the Summer Sun: A Memoir of Iceland is a wondrous story about Tory Bilski and her friends’ adventures during their annual riding trip to northern Iceland. These women meet up once a year to ride Icelandic horses, and they share an extraordinary experience together.
Their friendship becomes stronger as each woman learns more about herself and what she is capable of doing. This book will inspire you to live your dreams and make new friendships along the way.
The Little Book of the Hidden People: Twenty stories of elves from Icelandic folklore
A fabulous book about Icelandic folklore. A folklore that is rife with tales of elves and hidden people that inhabited hills and rocks in the landscape. If you read this before you go you will know exactly what to look out for!
The Fish Can Sing (Vintage International)
Another choice written by Iceland’s most well know author Halldor Laxness. He was awarded the Nobel Prize for literature in 1955.
This novel gives a great introduction to Iceland and in particular Reykjavik in the early 20th century.
THE BEST ICELAND BOOKS - NON FICTION
My choice of the best non-fiction travel books about Iceland.
Rick Steves Iceland
I love Rick Steves and who better to have by your side as you hike vast glaciers, marvel at steaming volcanic lakes, and explore the land of the midnight sun!
The Little Book of Tourists in Iceland: Tips, tricks, and what the Icelanders really think of you
Iceland is in the middle of a tourist boom and it if we are visiting we need to do it responsibly or we will end up destroying what is so special about it. This is an essential companion for anyone visiting the country and if you only buy one book before you visit this is the one!
The Little Book of Icelandic: On the idiosyncrasies, delights, and sheer tyranny of the Icelandic language
Icelandic is one of the oldest languages in the world! This book will introduce you to its complexities and more (sections on slang and curse-words!) If you are interested in Icelandic culture and their language this is a must-read!
The Little Book of the Icelanders in the Old Days
A light and humorous look at life in Iceland over the centuries!
The Little Book of the Icelanders
A collection of 50 mini essays all about Icelanders – learn all about their quirks and foibles before you go!
Packed full of tips to ensure your trip to Iceland is as smooth as possible – written by Icelanders who should know what they are talking about!
THE BEST ICELANDIC BOOKS - CUISINE
If you are interested in Icelandic cuisine this selection of the best cookery books is for you!
Homestyle Icelandic Cooking for American Kitchens
Whether you’re looking to connect with your roots, try something new or already love Icelandic cooking, this book is a must for your cookbook shelf. This is a collection of 25 traditional everyday Icelandic recipes, translated with step-by-step instructions.
North: The New Nordic Cuisine of Iceland [A Cookbook]
Iceland is home to an utterly unique and captivating food scene, characterized by its distinctive indigenous ingredients, traditional farmers and artisanal producers, and wildly creative chefs and restaurants. Find out more in this cookbook and recreate some of the best dishes in your own kitchen!
THE BEST ICELAND BOOKS FOR CHILDREN
My choice of the best Iceland books for children of all ages.
A Kid's Guide to Iceland
A Kid's Guide to Iceland takes young readers (ages 9-12) on an exciting and colorful adventure to amazing Iceland and the Viking explorers who discovered it more than 1,000 years ago.
Iceland My Travel Diary: Kids Guided Journey
Travel diary for kids! Keep them occupied completing this travel diary during their trip!
The Guardians of Iceland and other Icelandic Folk Tales
Children and adults alike will love these short stories all about trolls, elves and the hidden people! Contains 25 short stories!
Enjoyed these Iceland books? Read (or watch) more from around the world
If you enjoy reading do pop over to my complete guide to the best travel books from around the world where you will find my top choices for many countries including Norway, Denmark, Canada, Australia, and South Africa to name a few!
You can also find destination focussed TV series or movies set around the world including in Denmark, Italy, South Africa, Australia, and France. Perfect to download to watch on the plane!