Are you preparing for your Icelandic trip and wondering what books about Iceland you can read? We have you covered. In this article, we will walk you through travel books on Iceland, Icelandic novels, and the best books about Iceland.
Iceland publishes more books per capita than anywhere else in the world. Iceland has a long tradition of reading and is a very literary country. Books are traditionally given as presents and 1 in 10 Icelanders will publish a book.
It’s not surprising really this majestic and magical country lends itself very well to tales, sagas, and mysteries. Any book with a majestic waterfall, lava landscape, black beaches, and dormant volcanoes is a hit in our eyes.
In this list, we have included Iceland travel books some of the best Icelandic crime novels, and books set in Iceland. We particularly recommend reading the Hidden Iceland series. Surprisingly for a country with a low crime rate crime writers are extremely popular and loved worldwide.
These no-fiction books will help you in planning your trip and the fiction books will give you a real feel of what this country is like.
We hope you enjoy delving into this Icelandic literature and that you find a book that you enjoy.
Are you ready to see which Icelandic literature we have chosen for you? Grab a hot drink, your coziest blanket, and let us walk you through the best Icelandic sagas, books to read before Iceland, and the best Icelandic crime novels.
15 Best Books About Iceland To Read Before You Visit
The 10 Days In Iceland Guide
It seems only right that the first book we recommend is an incredible guide we have put together. If planning your Iceland vacation really does seem like too much then leave it to us.
Here all the research has been done for you. You have access to 3 customized 10-day Iceland itineraries with day-to-day instructions, Google Maps locations, and absolutely everything you will need to have a hassle-free vacation.
It’s like having your own personal tour guide along for the ride with you. Everything in this e-book is fully customizable and it helps you track your accommodation, finances, itinerary, and more.
This is more than a book here we hold your hand as you plan your dream Iceland getaway and you can ask us any question on our Facebook page as you are planning.
Lonely Planet Iceland (Travel Guide)
This is one of the best Iceland books to buy in terms of planning your trip. The Lonely Planet Icleand is full of tips, inspiration, and information. These guides are always relevant and up to date and make a great companion for your Icelandic travels.
This book walks you through the Blue Lagoon, the Northern Lights, and visiting a glacier plus much more. The book also contains colored maps, itinerary suggestions, ways to save money, essential information, and honest reviews.
This is one of the best travel books on Iceland and covers all the top sights as well as some that are off the beaten track. A great way for you to start planning your Icelandic adventure.
The Hidden Iceland Trilogy: A Crime Story Told In reverse
Ragnar Jonasson has become one of the best Icelandic crime fiction writers. The Hidden Iceland trilogy follows Detective Inspector Hulda Hermannsdottir who is called in to solve the health of a young woman.
It’s a dark atmospheric thriller that is both bleak and captivating. The sparse Icelandic landscape makes a great backdrop. The book takes you on a journey from Reykjavik to the highlands to the fjords.
The island and The Mist are the next two books in the series. It’s described as Agatha Christie meets Nordic Noir which sounds fascinating. Jonasson is one of the best Icelandic writers and his are some of the best Icelandic crime novels.
The Little Book of Tourists In Iceland
We are big believers in respecting the places you travel to and the people who live there. The Little Book of Tourists in Iceland by Alda Sigmundsdottir discusses the huge Icelandic tourist boom and how it has affected the people and the place.
This is a book that really teaches you what not to do when in Iceland. It gives you tips for visiting responsibility and staying safe while you are there.
Not only does it cover the impact tourism is having on Iceland’s structure, resources, and environment but it also busts some myths, particularly around elves.
Also shared are some stories of the crazy things tourists have done, the behavior that most annoys the locals, and what the Icelandic people really think about tourism. It’s a fun, short, and easy read.
The Sagas of the Icelanders
Want to learn about the best Icelandic sagas then The Sagas of the Icelanders is for you. Written in the 13th century they document the settlement of Vikings and the early struggles.
The sagas are one of the world’s great literary treasures and are very important to the Icelandic people. They are fundamentally the real human stories and celebrate the lives and deeds of the Norse men and women.
They are not the easiest reading material but they are one of the best books about Iceland for history lovers.
Rick Steves Iceland
When it comes to Iceland travel books Rick Steves Iceland has to be one of the best. Here you will find itineraries, road trips, and lots of hidden gems.
Covering the best stops on the Ring Road, the Golden Circle. Hot Springs and more this is a candid and useful guide to Iceland.
One of the books on Iceland.
Names for the Sea: Strangers In Iceland
Sarah Moss had a childhood dream of moving to Iceland. Names For The Sea: Strangers In Iceland is her compelling, beautiful, and very funny account of living in the country.
Moving her two children on a whim from their comfortable life in Kent, England she was there during Iceland’s economic collapse, the Eyjafjallajokull eruption and recounts how the two events impacted her.
In this book, we meet some characters that guided Sarah through Icelandic life. We also experience the Northern Lights, Snaefellsness, and a bunch of other locations with her.
Of all the Iceland books this one is fascinating, funny, and enlightening.
The Fish Can Sing
Halldór Laxness is an Icelandic writer that many love. He won the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1955 and his book Independent People is considered one of the best Icelandic novels.
The Fish Can Sing is a story about orphan Alfgrimur who spent his childhood in a traditional turf cottage with an elder fisherman. Alfgrimur dreams of becoming a fisherman too until he meets Iceland’s biggest celebrity and things change.
This coming-of-age novel seems to be very symbolic of how challenging it can be to mix the traditional with the new.
Moonstone: The Boy Who Never Was
Winner of the Icelandic Literary Prize Moonstone: The Boy Who Never Was is a compelling novel set against the backdrop of 1918 Iceland.
Katla is erupting, there is a shortage of coal and the Great War grinds on. The story centers around sixteen-year-old Máni Steinn who is a bit of a dreamer and outcast. Everything changes in his life when the Spanish Flu epidemic hits.
This mesmerizing and original novel weaves a story of this misfit living among uncertainty, transformation, and death. It’s one of the most unique Icelandic novels and well worth a read.
Wild Horses of the Summer Sun: A Memoir of Iceland
Every June Tory Bilski meets up with fellow women travelers and they escape their ordinary lives. Together they live on a horse farm in the middle of nowhere in northern Iceland.
Wild Horses of the Summer Sun: A Memoir of Iceland charts the true story of these women’s journeys and the deep friendship bonds they create over the years. It’s very similar to Eat, Pray, Love or Under The Tuscan Sun.
This is a story of what happens when you begin to follow your dreams. Filled with adventure, humor, and candor which you can’t help but fall in love with. This is one of the Iceland books that will enchant and enthrall you.
The Little Book of the Hidden People: Twenty stories of elves from Icelandic folklore
Of all the books on Iceland, this is perhaps one of the most quirky. The Little Book of the Hidden People covers the folklore of elves and hidden people giving us an insight into the Iceland of the past and those who lived there.
We learn how the Icelanders’ elf belief was born out of a nation living in abject poverty who longed to believe there was a parallel world. These stories have become an integral part of the cultural and psychological fabric of their nation.
In this book, you will learn all about the Icelanders and the media fascination with elves.
The Rough Guide to Iceland
The Rough Guide To Iceland is one of the great books to read before Iceland. It’s a comprehensive and entertaining travel guide with all the information you could ever need.
In this book, you get honest recommendations from independent experts. From restaurants to bars to hikes and all the sights they have you covered.
There is also detailed regional coverage with practical information for wherever you are traveling.
I Remember You
How about a ghost story set in the Westfjords? Yes, Yrsa Sigurdardottir delivers with I Remember You.
It’s atmospheric, creepy, and has everything a great ghost story has. There is a remote village, a rundown house, and a feeling they are not alone.
Yrsa Sigurdardotti has taken the international crime fiction world by storm with many comparing this to that the work of Stephen King. Oh as if it couldn’t get worse it’s based on a true story.
This is one of the books set in Iceland that has received high praise. Hannah Kent brings to life the story of Agnes, who is charged with the brutal murder of her former master.
In Burial Rights Agnes is sent to an isolated farm to await execution this book is her story and touches on some deep topics. It’s a book about the truths we claim to know and the ways in which we interpret what we’re told.
Based on actual events this novel is moving, astonishing, and beautiful.
How Iceland Changed the World: The Big History of a Small Island
If you want to learn about Icelandic history but want it to be entertaining and readable then this is the book for you. How Iceland Changed the World: The Big History of a Small Island tells the story of how this tiny nation shaped the world.
The book starts 1,200 years ago when a frustrated Viking captain and his useless navigator ran aground in the middle of the North Atlantic. The tour of this island’s history then continues from there.
Did you know for example that Iceland played a pivotal role in the French Revolution, the Moon Landing, and the foundation of Israel? It shocked us too.
It is a lively interesting read that we guarantee will teach you things about Iceland you didn’t know. One of the best Iceland books to get a feel for how important this island is.
As you can see when it comes to books about Iceland are as diverse and far-reaching as the country itself. Icelandic literature really is a treat and well worth the read.
Whether you read books set in Iceland, Icelandic novels, or travel books on Iceland we encourage you to give at least one of these books a try. We hope they help in your planning and that you have a great Icelandic vacation.