It’s almost time for Jólabókaflóðið! If you’re not familiar with this term, it roughly translates to Christmas book flood and refers to Icelanders’ tradition of exchanging books on Christmas Eve and reading at home for the rest of the evening. This inspired my family’s newish literary tradition a few years back.
You don’t have to exchange Icelandic books in order to do your own version of Jólabókaflóðið but I thought it would be a fun time to share this reader-generated book list inspired by a WSIRNReaderRecs request.
A reader was looking for books set in Iceland and we shared their request on our What Should I Read Next Instagram account. We went through the comments on that post and this curated list is the result. This is not an exhaustive list but hopefully it’ll provide you some good literary tourism all the same.
We’d love to hear your favorite books set in or about Iceland—both your favorites from this list and new additions to it—in the comments section.
Some links (including all Amazon links) are affiliate links. More details here.
- Moonstone: The Boy Who Never Was by Sjón, translated by Victoria Cribb
- The Blue Fox by Sjón, translated by Victoria Cribb
- Burial Rites by Hannah Kent
- Woman at 1,000 Degrees by Hallgrímur Helgason, translated by Brian FitzGibbon
- Independent People by Halldór Laxness
- The Sagas of Icelanders by Anonymous
- Miss Iceland by Auður Ava Ólafsdóttir, translated by Brian FitzGibbon
- Butterflies in November by Auður Ava Ólafsdóttir, translated by Brian FitzGibbon
- LoveStar by Andri Snaer Magnason, translated by Victoria Cribb
- Beautiful Wreck by Larissa Brown
- The Sacrament by Olaf Olafsson
- The Northern Lights Lodge by Julie Caplin
- Heaven and Hell by Jón Kalman Stefánsson, translated by Philip Roughton
- Frozen Out (Officer Gunnhildur #1) by Quentin Bates
- Snowblind (Dark Iceland #1) by Ragnar Jonasson
- Last Rituals (Þóra Guðmundsdóttir #1) by Yrsa Sigurdarsdottir
- Icelandic Folk Legends: Tales of Apparitions, Outlaws and Things Unseen by Alda Sigmundsdóttir
- Names for the Sea: Strangers in Iceland by Sarah Moss
- Wild Horses of the Summer Sun by Tory Bilski
- Viking Age Iceland by Jesse L. Byock
What Icelandic books would you add to this list?
P.S. For more literary tourism: 65 recommended reads for those traveling to England, 130 recommended reads for those traveling to New York City.