Books

Book cover of The Little Book of the Icelanders at Christmas

The Little Book of the Icelanders at Christmas

On the rituals and customs of the Icelandic people during Yule

Christmas in Iceland is special. Ask any Icelander and they will tell you. It is a time of year when everything pulsates with vibrant activity, and the nation delights in those festive traditions that make them a tribe. Music is all around, friends gather, restaurants are filled with people partaking of festive Yuletide offerings, authors are out and about reading from their new works. Everything pulsates with vibrant, happy energy.

There is even a word for the gleeful excitement one feels when waiting for Christmas—jólaskap, literally “Christmas mood”. In this book, Alda Sigmundsdóttir invites you on a journey of Iceland’s magical Yuletide season, all the way to New Year’s Eve, and beyond. You will learn about the special foods, traditions, and customs that make Christmas in Iceland so special and meet a colourful cast of characters that are such an integral part of the Yule. In her inimitable style, and using examples from her own life, Alda gives you not only the modern version of Christmas but also the historical and cultural background to many of the traditions that are still observed today. Read more.

The Little Book of the Icelanders at Christmas is available in paperback, ebook, audiobook, and hardcover formats. Paperbacks, ebooks, and audiobooks are available from your nearest Amazon store. Hardcovers ship from Iceland.

Book Cover of The Little Book of Days in Iceland

The Little Book of Days in Iceland

An illustrated calendar of Iceland’s unique holidays and whimsical seasonal events

In Iceland, we have a saying: Að gera sér glaðan dag. It means “To make a happy day for yourself.” We Icelanders like to make happy days for ourselves. Some of our days go back hundreds of years and celebrate special traditions or events in our history. Others are more recent additions or are simply for fun. In this beautifully illustrated book, we invite you to share in some of our happy days and seasonal events, and to gera þér glaðan dag.

The book contains 60 beautiful illustrations that are as whimsical and fun as the days and events that they represent. An elaboration on each of Iceland’s special days, including its historical and cultural significance, may be found at the back of the book. Read more.

The Little Book of Days in Iceland is a delightful planner jot down appointments, birthdays, or significant events, or just to enjoy the lovely artwork and warm and witty text. Available as a high-quality softcover with a bound spine, so very durable. Full colour printing. Unlike most of our books, this book is not available via Amazon, and can only be ordered from Iceland.

Book cover of The Little Book of Tourists in Iceland

The Little Book of Tourists in Iceland

Tips, tricks, and what the Icelanders really think of you

Iceland is in the midst of an unprecedented tourist boom that has brought wealth to the country, but also myriad issues and challenges. Through a series of short essays, this book provides a unique insight into the social and environmental impact that tourism is having on Iceland, and with wit and intelligence offers invaluable tips for touring safely, responsibly, and in harmony with the locals. A fascinating resource for anyone interested in contemporary Iceland, and an essential companion for all visitors to the country. Read more.

The Little Book of Tourists in Iceland is available in paperback, ebook, audiobook, and quality softcover formats. The paperbacks, ebooks, and audiobooks are available from your nearest Amazon store. The quality softcovers ship from Iceland.

Book Cover of The Little Book of Icelandic

The Little Book of Icelandic

On the idiosyncrasies, delights, and sheer tyranny of the Icelandic language

Icelandic is a complicated language. It’s a bloody mess grammatically, a nightmarish mishmash of inflected nouns, verbs, adjectives, and pronouns, corresponding to four different cases, three different noun genders, moods, voices, and constructions, plus any number of exceptions and rules that seem completely arbitrary, and very often are. This is not a textbook. It is not about the technicalities of Icelandic. Rather it is about the Icelanders’ love of their mother tongue, their zealous attempts at keeping it pure, their often-hilarious way of cobbling together vocabulary, and their idioms and proverbs that are such a strong reflection of the things they consider truly important. All in short essays that are light, humorous, and easy to read. Read more.

The Little Book of Icelandic is available in paperback, ebook, and hardcover formats. The paperbacks and ebooks are available from your nearest Amazon store. The hardcovers ship from Iceland.

Book cover of Icelandic Folk Legends

Icelandic Folk Legends

Tales of apparitions, outlaws, and things unseen

The Icelandic nation has a long and rich history of storytelling. Throughout centuries characterized by hardship, poverty, and dark winters, the Icelanders kept their spirits high and moral values intact by telling each other stories. In this collection of 15 Icelandic folk legends, we get a glimpse of the worldview of the Icelanders in centuries past as they endeavored to understand and cope with the natural phenomena around them. There are stories of malicious ghosts, outlaws living in carved-out boulders, hidden people residing in grassy knolls, trolls that are tripped up by their own stupidity, and much more. In addition, there is one story exemplifying a fairy tale motif that scholars have discovered to be unique to Iceland: that of the good stepmother (The Story of Himinbjörg). Throughout we get a powerful sense of the Icelanders’ beliefs, values, and fears, as well as their strong need to cling to all that was pure and good. Read more.

Icelandic Folk Legends is available in paperback, ebook, audiobook, and hardcover formats. The paperbacks, ebooks, and audiobooks are available from your nearest Amazon store. The hardcovers ship from Iceland.

Book cover of The Little Book of the Hidden People

The Little Book of the Hidden People

Twenty stories of elves from Icelandic folklore

Icelandic folklore is rife with tales of elves and hidden people that inhabited hills and rocks in the landscape. But what do those elf stories really tell us about the Iceland of old and the people who lived there? This book contains twenty translated elf stories from Icelandic folklore, along with fascinating notes on the context from which they sprung.

The international media has had a particular infatuation with the Icelanders’ elf belief, generally using it to propagate some kind of “kooky Icelanders” myth. Yet Iceland’s elf folklore, at its core, reflects the plight of a nation living in abject poverty on the edge of the inhabitable world, and its people’s heroic efforts to survive, physically, emotionally, and spiritually. That is what the stories of the elves, or hidden people, are really about. Read more.

The Little Book of the Hidden People is available in paperback, ebook, audiobook, and hardcover formats. The paperbacks, ebooks, and audiobooks are available from your nearest Amazon store. The hardcovers ship from Iceland. Now also available in French and German.

Book cover of The Little Book of the Icelanders in the Old Days

The Little Book of the Icelanders in the Old Days

Fifty miniature essays about life on the edge of the inhabitable world

Iceland in centuries past was a formidable place to live. Situated in the North Atlantic Ocean, on the edge of the inhabitable world, the nation was both isolated and abjectly poor. Centuries of colonization translated into oppression and subjugation from the colonial overlords, and a hostile climate and repeated natural disasters meant that mere survival was a challenge to even the hardiest of souls. In these 50 miniature essays, Alda Sigmundsdóttir writes about the Icelanders in centuries past in a light and humourous way, yet never without admiration and respect for the resilience and strength, they showed in coping with conditions of adversity that are barely imaginable today. Read more.

The Little Book of the Icelanders in the Old Days is available in paperback, ebook, and hardcover formats. The paperbacks and ebooks are available from your nearest Amazon store. The hardcovers ship from Iceland. Now also available in French and German.

Book Cover of The Little Book of the Icelanders

The Little Book of the Icelanders

50 miniature essays on the quirks and foibles of the Icelandic people

“In 1994, I moved back to Iceland after more than 20 years of living abroad, and ever since I have been in the enviable (to me!) position of being both an insider and an outsider in Icelandic society. I figure this makes me sufficiently qualified to dissect the national psyche of the Icelandic people,” says Alda Sigmundsdóttir. Read more.

The Little Book of the Icelanders is available in paperback, ebook, audiobook, and hardcover formats. The paperbacks, ebooks, and audiobooks are available from your nearest Amazon store. The hardcovers ship from Iceland.

Book cover of Unraveled: a novel about a meltdown

Unraveled

A novel about a meltdown

Unraveled tells the story of an Icelandic woman, Frida, who after a 12-year absence returns home with her husband, Damien, a suave and sophisticated British diplomat who has just been made Ambassador to Iceland. It is summer 2008, and the global economy is on shaky ground. As the Icelandic economy begins to spiral out of control, Frida and Damien’s marriage starts to unravel. Seeking refuge, Frida travels to a small fishing village on Iceland’s West Fjords, where a chance encounter with a stranger turns out to have greater implications than she could ever have foreseen. With Iceland and Britain locked in a bitter diplomatic dispute, Frida is forced to examine her marriage, her loyalties, her past, and ultimately to answer the question: What exactly constitutes betrayal? Read more.

Unraveled is available in paperback and ebook formats from your nearest Amazon store.

Book cover of Living Inside the Meltdown

Living Inside the Meltdown

Ten people share their experience of the Icelandic economic collapse

In October 2008, Iceland went from being one of the wealthiest countries in the world to being one of the poorest, within the space of about two weeks. During those sensational few days, regular citizens stood by helplessly and watched as Iceland’s three large commercial banks folded and Iceland’s currency, the króna, plummeted in value, eventually becoming worthless outside of Iceland.

Living Inside the Meltdown is the first published collection of interviews with ordinary people about their experiences of Iceland’s economic meltdown. Read more.

Living Inside the Meltdown is available in paperback and ebook formats from your nearest Amazon store.

© Alda Sigmundsdóttir 2021 | All Rights Reserved