Iceland: travel books to read before you go

This excerpt from Lonely Planet’s Iceland guide provides a selection of travel literature to get you in the mood for your trip.

For a gritty glimpse of the Icelandic soul, Halldór Laxness’s humorous, heart-breaking, deepminded work Independent People is an absolute must.

Follow it up with the dark humour and turbulent times of Einar Kárason’s Devil’s Island, a look at life in Reykjavík in the 1950s and 1960s, and some puzzling crime mysteries such as Tainted Blood (also known as Jar City) by Arnaldur Indriðason, one of Iceland’s most popular authors.

For an irreverent look at the country from a traveller’s point of view, try Letters from Iceland by WH Auden and Louis MacNeice, an amusing and unconventional travelogue written by the two poets in 1936.

In contrast, Alan Boucher’s The Iceland Traveller – A Hundred Years of Adventure is full of 18th- and 19th-century romance, history and drama.

For a warts-and-all view of contemporary Icelandic travel, Tim Moore’s Frost on My Moustache lays bare the realities of overambitious cycle trips and hot dogs for every meal.

More travel literature reading lists for other destinations can be found here.