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Books & Movies
  • Ring of Seasons: Iceland. Its Culture and History by Terry G. Lacy. Terry Lacy conveys her story with a skillful interlacing of history, religion, politics, and culture to paint a vivid picture of the way Icelanders live today as members of a wealthy society still very dependent upon nature. This is a book for all who have been charmed by reading the Norse sagas to all those intrigued by the country that can claim the oldest living democracy.
  • The Sagas of Icelanders. A unique body of medieval literature, the Sagas rank with the world's greatest literary treasures. Set around the turn of the last millennium, these stories depict with an astonishingly modern realism the lives and deeds of the Norse men and women who first settled Iceland and of their descendants, who ventured further west, to Greenland and North America. The 10 Sagas and seven shorter tales in this volume include the celebrated "Vinland Sagas," which recount Leif Eiriksson's pioneering voyage to the New World and contain the oldest descriptions of the North American continent.
  • Iceland: Its Scenes And Sagas by Sabine Baring-Gould. An account of the author's journey on horseback around Iceland in 1862, including the descriptions of flora and fauna, recounting and interpretation of Icelandic sagas, and a slew of extraordinary characters and events of these stories while exploring the mythology and language of Icelandic lore. He also turns a critical eye on his fellow travelers and the Icelanders he meets, passing judgment on food such as stuffed puffin, pungent fish and ptarmigan.
  • Viking Age Iceland by Jesse L. Byock. Combining history with anthropology and archaeology, this remarkable study serves as a valuable companion to the Icelandic sagas, exploring all aspects of Viking Age life: feasting, farming, the power of chieftains and the church, marriage, and the role of women. With masterful interpretations of the blood feuds and the sagas, Byock reveals how the law courts favored compromise over violence, and how the society grappled with proto-democratic tendencies.
  • History of Iceland - From Settlement to the Present Day by Jon R. Hjalmarsson. A lively and absorbing description of the development of the Icelandic nation from the settlement more than eleven hundred years ago up to the present date. In concise and highly informative accounts, the book charts the glories and achievements of the Republic and Saga Age, the bitter and bloody civil war which led to humiliation and suffering under colonial rule, and nationalistic awakening which has created a thriving modern republic.
  • Eirik The Red and Other Icelandic Sagas. Gwyn Jones gives a very smooth and stylish translation of some of the lesser, and lesser known, sagas in the Icelandic literary opus. From the title piece, "Eirik the Red's Saga", to his rendering of the Hrolf Kraki saga, these are all nicely wrought translations of some of the smaller gems in the old Norse literary tradition.
  • Iceland: Land of the Sagas by Jon Krakauer, David Roberts. In an ingenious approach to a little-viewed land, Roberts and Krakauer examine Iceland today through its principal literary heritage. The most volcanic land in the world with plentiful waterfalls and hot springs, the country is only four degrees from the Arctic Circle, yet, warmed by the Gulf Stream, possesses deep valleys and pastures to support indigenous populations of horses and sheep, as well as a quarter of a million people. Roberts deftly examines Iceland's history and culture while Krakauer's 100 arresting color photos capture the land's topographical power.
  • Ultima Thule: Or, a Summer in Iceland by Richard Francis Burton. Originally published prior to 1923, the book is an important historical work, maintaining the same format as the original work. Despite occasional imperfections, it is brought it back into print as part of an ongoing global book preservation commitment, providing access to the best possible historical reprints.
  • Burial Rites by Hannah Kent. A brilliant literary debut, inspired by a true story: the final days of a young woman accused of murder in Iceland in 1829. Set against Iceland's stark landscape, Hannah Kent brings to vivid life the story of Agnes, who, charged with the brutal murder of her former master, is sent to an isolated farm to await execution. Horrified at the prospect of housing a convicted murderer, the family at first avoids Agnes. Only Tóti, a priest Agnes has mysteriously chosen to be her spiritual guardian, seeks to understand her. But as Agnes's death looms, the farmer's wife and their daughters learn there is another side to the sensational story they've heard. Riveting and rich with lyricism, Burial Rites evokes a dramatic existence in a distant time and place, and asks the question, how can one woman hope to endure when her life depends upon the stories told by others?
  • Tails of Iceland (2019). The sweeping documentary movie captures the special relationship between the people of Iceland and their unusual horses. It showcases the culture and connection, the stories and legends from the hundred of years of the history of Iceland since these horses were brought to this fiercely unforgiving and magnificent island.
  • Trapped (2015). In a remote town in Iceland, Police desperately try to solve a crime as a powerful storm descends upon the town. Trapped is an Icelandic television mystery drama series, created by Baltasar Kormákur and produced by RVK Studios. Broadcast in Iceland on RÚV started on 27 December 2015. Co-written by Sigurjón Kjartansson and Clive Bradley, the first series of ten episodes follows Andri Ólafsson (Ólafur Darri Ólafsson), the chief of police in a remote town in Iceland, solving the murder of a former townsman whose mutilated corpse is recovered by fishermen. The series was directed by Kormákur, Baldvin Z, Óskar Thor Axelsson and Börkur Sigthorsson.
  • Rams (2015). In a remote Icelandic farming valley, two brothers who haven't spoken in 40 years have to come together in order to save what's dearest to them - their sheep.
  • Mr. Bjarnfreðarson (2009).  Comedian Jon Gnarr - who later became Reykjavic's mayor - stars as Georg Bjarnfreðarson, a man who has trouble finding his place in society. A redemption story that spans almost fifty years, about Georg, an over educated know-it-all, that has just been released from jail, but is still a prisoner of his own past.
  • Noi, the Albino (2003). Rebellious youth, Noi, takes on the small society in his remote home town and dreams of escaping with his sweetheart. Noi is sort of a collision between Ferris Bueller's Day Off and Scandinavian nihilism. Fortunately, the bleak events are carried out with skewed humor and sly visual flair. The restlessness and despair of adolescence are captured with honesty and sympathy.
  • 101 Reykjavík (2001). 101 Reykjavík seems to be the contemporary Icelandic version of American movies of the 1970s like Five Easy Pieces, in which antiheroic characters struggle to make sense of a world that doesn't seem to have any place for them. The movie is a bit unfocused, but its urban malaise feels genuine, if not particularly new.
  • Children of Nature (1992). An enchanting love story of reborn passions, inspiration and humanity about two elderly childhood sweethearts who reunite at an old-age home and set off on a poignant, magical journey. An older escapes from a retirement home to return to the small village where they first found love. Nominated for an Academy Award in 1992.