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Dare to Share: Do You Have a Favourite Book or Author?

The Icelandic Roots Book Club reaches its First Anniversary. Heather recaps the past year and provides a glimpse of what is to come for the remainder of 2023 and the start of 2024.

By Heather Goodman Lytwyn

Editors Note: From all of us at Icelandic Roots, congratulations to the Icelandic Book Club and Heather Goodman Lytwyn on their one year anniversary. It has been a busy and rewarding year for the club. Heather curated the book list, shared information about the book and author, often scheduling the author or a special guest to join the online monthly club meeting. This effort and experience has enriched our understanding of Icelandic life and lore. Reading, writing, and having a keen appreciation of the written word is very much what being an Icelander is all about. Thank you for this, Heather. Well done and congratulations!!

This June marks the first anniversary of our Icelandic Roots Book Club. We have had a great first year enjoying Icelandic authors and books. Let's look back at what we've been reading:

  • Secrets of the Sprakkar by Eliza Reid

  • Be Still the Water by Karen Emilson

  • The Tricking of Freya by Christina Sunley

  • Karitas Untitled by Kristín Marja Baldursdóttir

  • In Valhalla’s Shadows by W.D.Valgardson

  • The Viking Immigrants by Dr. Laurie Bertram

  • Viking Voyager: An Icelandic Memoir by Sverrir Siguardsson with Veronica Li

  • How Iceland Changed the World by Egill Bjarnason

  • The Saga of Hrafnkell, Frey’s Priest featuring our guest Jason Doctor

  • Prophetic Dreams: A Curse or a Legacy by Alfreꝺa Jonsdottir

  • The Windows of Brimnes: An American in Iceland by Bill Holm featuring our guest Cathy Josephson, and

  • Salka Valka by Halldór Laxness, translated by our guest Philip Roughton.

To celebrate this milestone, on Thursday, June 1st, we will pause from our regular style of meeting for our book club members to share their personal reading experiences and their most treasured books. I'm calling it Dare to Share.

Tell us about a particular book that resonates with you; one that you've read where you were drawn back to the same author book after book. The book can be by any author, not necessarily written by Icelanders or about them. This will be an opportunity to get to know each other a little more, similar to a conversation we might have at a book club held in someone’s home. Like everything in Icelandic Roots, we are looking for connections, and books are an excellent vessel for this purpose. Sharing is a gift, so let's share our recommendations for a good read.

Eiriksdottir by Joan Clark
Eiriksdottir by Joan Clark

I will launch the next club meeting by telling you about a favourite book of mine: Eiriksdóttir. I was sadly unsuccessful in contacting the Canadian author, Joan Clark, but I still wanted to bring the book to your attention. It is a fictional story based on the Saga of the Greenlanders, with the protagonist Erik the Red’s daughter, Freydis Eiríksdóttir, and her expedition from Greenland to Vinland.

I will keep it short, perhaps including an excerpt, with the intention of giving everyone an opportunity to also share their own readings. Too often the hour goes by quickly with the engagement and excited chatter; I'm confident this may be the case in June.

I would recommend familiarizing yourself with the saga in our database. For those of you who can read Icelandic, the Saga is there, and there is an excellent synopsis in English as well. [On the left side, blue menu, go to Special Collections /Sagas Alphabetical /#15 Grælendinga Saga.]

To prepare for June’s book club, consider these questions:

  • What is your favourite genre of books? Are you a fan of biographies, mysteries, historical fiction, self-help books, humorous tales, romance, plays, poetry, true crime, fantasy, sagas, anti-utopian, short stories, or something else? Why?

  • Is there one author that got you hooked on reading? A favorite author is like a menu at your preferred restaurant; no matter what you order, you are confident it will be excellent. Have any of you a collection of books by John Steinbeck, Halldór Laxness, Ken Follett, Margaret Atwood, Yrsa Siguradardóttir, W.D. Valgardson, Alex Haley, Jón Kalman Stefánsson, George Orwell, Ragnar Jónasson, James Michener, Joseph Boyden, Kristín Marja Baldursdóttir, or Alice Munro, etc.? How did you get hooked?

  • If you were moving and could only take one book with you, what would it be? What was happening to you at the time you read it that might have been a factor in your appreciation of the book?

  • What if you do not have a story to share about reading? No pressure. Please know that you are always welcome at our Zoom book club.

What’s next?

The IR Book Club will be on hiatus for July, August, September, and then again in December of 2023.

Here are the next featured books:

  • October 5, 2023 - Burial Rites by Hannah Kent

  • November 2, 2023 - The Real Valkyrie: The Hidden History of Viking Warrior Women with author Nancy Marie Brown

  • January 4, 2024 - My Viking Lady of the Lake, and Vikings on a Prairie Ocean: The Saga of a Lake , a People, A Family, and a Man with author Glenn Sigurdson

  • February 2, 2024 - Woman, Captain, Rebel: The Extraordinary True Story of a Daring Icelandic Sea Captain with author Margaret Wilson


Email us your questions or join the conversation on our Facebook Group.

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