I was on a mission to buy books in Reykjavík, as I was shopping for two other people, one of whom had even given me a short list of Icelandic fiction in English translation. I visited three branches of the Icelandic bookshop, Eymundsson, and was happy to find everything I was looking for.
Both of these Learning Icelandic texts were new to me, as I had never come across them in any of my bookstore travels. They were printed in Reykjavík, and according to the Eymundsson bookseller, are the texts used in the university by foreigners learning Icelandic. The blue volume even comes with a CD, which is a must if proper pronunciation is one’s goal.
As a child I was fascinated by a movie I would always see at the Ontario Science Centre on the formation of the island Surtsey by an erupting undersea volcano off the southern coast of Iceland. I would go to the Science Centre on annual school trips and it was always playing; I suppose they didn’t change their exhibits back then as often. I didn’t mind; seeing the fiery red lava shoot into the sky was enough to keep me spellbound. So while the overwhelming number of books about volcanos in Reykjavík bookstores focus on Eyjafjallajökull, which erupted in 2010, I was on the lookout for books about this eruption from 1963. I found a DVD instead, which, thanks to the all-region DVD player Mark gave me for Christmas two years ago, means I can watch it.
Ten years after the Surtsey eruption, in the same Vestmannaeyjar archipelago, another eruption occurred in the town of Heimaey. In the middle of the night, without warning, the volcano erupted, forcing the immediate evacuation of all 5300 inhabitants. Iceland Inside: A journey into the volcano and more… is full of brilliant colour photos from 1973 and also how the town looks today, forty years later.
Just what I was looking for, a solid, compact history of Iceland that is fully illustrated throughout its 208 pages.
Now isn’t this book heaven? All about the islands surrounding another island. It’s an island-lover’s wet dream. A large size book but only 48 pages in length, Eyjar: Icelandic Islands has gorgeous aerial shots of a selection of the islands that ring Iceland, including Surtsey.