A land of ice and books…

Reading time: Less than 1 minute

This is my weekly installment of “writing about writing,” in which I scan the world to find websites, books and articles to help other writers. Today I discuss an article about literary Iceland…..

My travel “bucket list” includes many of the usual suspects: Spain, Australia, Machu Picchu, South Africa. It also includes one country that might surprise you: Iceland.

I have a good friend of Icelandic heritage (her father was born there) and when we briefly shared an apartment in our post-university days, she taught me about the joys of vinarterta, a cardmom-flavoured Icelandic Christmas cake so delicious I still crave it some 35 years later. (Interestingly, the cake has now become more of a Canadian delicacy, and is hard to find in Iceland.)

Not long ago, I read s New York Times article about a literary tour of Iceland. This pushed all the right buttons for me! I’d always visualized Iceland as cool and bleak, a place best regarded for its hot springs and dramatic scenery, at least in summer when it’s not dark all the time.

It turns out, however, that Iceland is a deeply literary country. Did you know that at some 90% of Icelanders read at least one book a year for pleasure? And that the literacy rate is nearly 100%? And that the country has more books published and more books read per person than anywhere else in the world?

This sounds like my kind of place. The public library even conducts tours of Reykjavik led by literary scholars. You can read the New York Times article or maybe you should just go ahead and book your trip. The country has now moved up several slots on my own bucket list.