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About the Author

Works by Alda Sigmundsdottir

Associated Works

The Golden Circle (2012) — Translator, some editions — 1 copy


Common Knowledge



[The Little Book of the Icelanders] by Alda Sigmundsdottir
"50 miniature essays on the quirks and foibles of the Icelandic People" (2024 ed)

I went to Iceland in 2010 without knowing all the quirky stuff in this little book. But then, I was far more interested in the country's geology and architecture at the time.

This is an amusing little book...yes, 50 miniature essays on the quirky habits of the locals. It does explain the various issues around names or in #24 "Iceland, Where Traffic Laws are Guidelines". #31 Beware the Wrath of the Shower Police OR #38 "House Proud".

After reading this I got out the disc of photos taken in 2010 and watched it again and know I would like to go again!
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avaland | 2 other reviews | Feb 8, 2024 |
A collection of mini-essays about life in Iceland . A perfect read when you are feeling unwell, as I was, but overall a disappointment. There were some interesting parts, that of the Icelandic naming committee, the necessity of showering naked before entering a public swimming pool or hot tub, and the " shower police", but most of the Icelandic customs and way of life were very similar to ours.
vancouverdeb | 2 other reviews | Jan 25, 2024 |
Great little intro

I'm planning a trip to Iceland soon and got this because it seemed like a quick cultural introduction. I've read many of the Icelandic Sagas and have a decent understanding of Icelandic history, but beyond the 13th century (and Bjartur of Summerhouse much later) I don't know much about modern culture and how Iceland has adapted to globalization and the connections that modern technology affords us.

Alda Sigmundsdottir does an excellent job of identifying, explaining, and commenting on some of Iceland's major cultural idiosyncrasies and the influences that contribute to them. She bridges a gap between outsider and native because she is an Icelander by name and genes but was raised abroad and thus has experienced both sides. And, despite accurate (or at least it sounds accurate but we'll see when I visit) analysis of the country's culture and traditions, Alda keeps the whole thing light and casual and funny. I read this in spurts over the course of about a week, but it could be completed within a few hours. Each essay only takes a few minutes to read.

Overall, this provides insight into a country that I don't think the globe really knows what to do with. It's such a unique little island that nowhere else on earth is similar. It's definitely worth the read and provides a good base to start from when you're visiting and looking to experience Iceland with a deeper understanding. Plus it was short and fun.
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neilstcyr | 2 other reviews | Jul 26, 2022 |
What a lovely read. The Little Book of Icelandic is full of interesting tidbits and insights. I had a hard time putting it down.
jamestomasino | Sep 11, 2021 |

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