Review: Living Inside the Meltdown

Living Inside the MeltdownLiving Inside the Meltdown by Alda Sigmundsdóttir

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Absolutely enthralling insight into how the economic breakdown of Iceland’s banks (that preceded the UK recession) affected normal people in Iceland. Told in a compelling first person narrative, by way of interviews between the author and the few people willing to walk about what happened. The shock felt by the Icelandic people is apparent, yet the stories are told in a very matter of fact way. A fairly quick read (I managed it in a couple of hours on the train), it would be nice to find out what has happened to the people in the book 10 years on and how they feel after the initial reactions.

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Review: The Little Book of the Icelanders

The Little Book of the Icelanders in the Old DaysThe Little Book of the Icelanders in the Old Days by Alda Sigmundsdóttir

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

In her signature, incredibly easy to read style, Alda gives you a lesson in the history of olden days of Iceland with facts and fun in equal measures over the course of 50 mini essays. Covering everything from the quirks and superstitions of what happens when someone visits a croft (when to knock on the window rather than the door), to food, sheep, community, evening entertainment. All this interspersed with the etymology of the Icelandic words and some cute illustrations – highly recommended to anyone with a passing interest in Iceland and/or its history.

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Bout of Books round up

So I actually started this post back on day 3 (today is day 7!) on my lunch break, I got caught up in the fact that I couldn’t find the original wordpress post editor and ergo could not fathom a few features I wanted to use, so it fell by the way side.  Then if I’m honest I’ve prioritised the actual reading side of things with all my spare time, so I’m doing one update to cover the whole week.

I started reading Blackout by Ragnar Jonasson, it was on a Kindle deal over Christmas, and whilst I own his other two UK released books in paperback, I felt like this was too good to miss. The story is once again set in the Northern town of Siglufjörður, and has more twists and turns than an old fashioned rollercoaster. I rated the book 4/5 but the actual Kindle version 1/5, I realised once I was about a third of the way through that Jonasson usually includes a little map of the locations used in his books and sometimes more info: it turns out that this information is included in the e-book version, but upon starting it, it jumps from the title page to the first chapter, I also noted at least 4 grammatical / typesetting mistakes in the text – I’d have been really peeved had I paid full price. My other gripe with this book is that it’s listed as ‘book 3 of the Dark Iceland’ series, which for the UK order release it is, but not for the original and chronological order. This makes no sense to me, so I’ve read in the UK order book 1, 5, 2, leaping back and forwards in time is very confusing for the read how can a character have a child with his partner last book, but this book they’ve not had it yet and have split up… also kinda ruins the on going plot just a bit. (Page count 220)

Second book on my list was the Little Book of Icelandic – by Alda Sigmundsdottir a wonderful compendium of nuances of the Icelandic language, reminding me of all the things I loved about Lingo  and more. For example the reasoning behind some root words that haven’t evolved like English has, contained three examples that I could also recognise in my Swedish learning (the words for dog and meat). There’s also the explanations of pronunciation of those funny characters and my favourite – the compound words! I find it a lot easier to remember words when I know the history of how they could about, this is especially true when they are amusing or quaint (eg. laptop comes from the words meaning migrating computer). I think this is a must for anyone with an interest in the fun side of linguistics or anyone wanting to learn Icelandic. (Finished today, page count 162)

Third book, I’m currently reading and predict will be finished tomorrow, is The Little Book of Hygge by Meik Wiking, which is a beautifully designed, hardback, almost pocket sized book on the hygge lifestyle. So far I’m learning that candles, snugly scarves and coffee are all good elements of hygge, loving it. (page count on day 7, 75)

So total page count: 457

I hope next time for bout of books to get more involved with the twitter chats etc, but I’m fairly sure they’re all at 4pm UK time (the ones I’m actually awake for) which is commuting time and not great tbh..  til next time