Memoirs of an Icelandic Bookworm

( 1 )

Overview

Memoirs of an Icelandic Bookworm is only partly a memoir. More than half the volume consists of Icelandic folktales, many of which have never been translated into English before. These tales are uniquely presented here as part of a fabric of life extending from a long-ago past through times affected by the Second World War and to the present.

The book is a first-hand and humorous account of Icelandic culture and an Icelandic childhood. In the memoir-sections, the "bookworm" of ...

See more details below
Paperback
$20.05
BN.com price
(Save 8%)$21.99 List Price
Other sellers (Paperback)
  • All (7) from $12.28   
  • New (4) from $15.03   
  • Used (3) from $12.28   
Memoirs of an Icelandic Bookworm

Available on NOOK devices and apps  
  • NOOK Devices
  • NOOK HD/HD+ Tablet
  • NOOK
  • NOOK Color
  • NOOK Tablet
  • Tablet/Phone
  • NOOK for Windows 8 Tablet
  • NOOK for iOS
  • NOOK for Android
  • NOOK Kids for iPad
  • PC/Mac
  • NOOK for Windows 8
  • NOOK for PC
  • NOOK for Mac
  • NOOK Study
  • NOOK for Web

Want a NOOK? Explore Now

NOOK Book (eBook)
$8.49
BN.com price
(Save 15%)$9.99 List Price

Overview

Memoirs of an Icelandic Bookworm is only partly a memoir. More than half the volume consists of Icelandic folktales, many of which have never been translated into English before. These tales are uniquely presented here as part of a fabric of life extending from a long-ago past through times affected by the Second World War and to the present.

The book is a first-hand and humorous account of Icelandic culture and an Icelandic childhood. In the memoir-sections, the "bookworm" of the title is growing up in a small town in Northern Iceland; her emerging world-view is expanded by family-influences or challenged by sojourns into Icelandic and international literature. Her family is memorably represented, for example by her grandmother, the robust Stefan'a, who speaks in verse and learns to dance rock'n roll, and the white-haired patriarch J'n, who steps in to save the family home from burning and introduces his great-granddaughter to an ancient feminist folktale.

The memoirs mostly describe the 1940s and '50s, but the author is constantly looking back, beyond her own memories and even the memories of her great-parents, toward an older culture, preserved in the folktales and exerting its influence through the centuries to touch her own childhood. On occasion, the author's cultural associations reach even further back, to the times of the Icelandic sagas; at other times, with periodic returns to her current vantage point in the 21st century, she touches down in the more recent past for a humorous look at Laxness or up-to-date cultural developments.

As a writer of memoirs, the author makes two general observations. The first one is that children should be introduced toimaginative literature as early as possible. Although this is not a new idea, it is illustrated here with an example of highly auspicious conditions: the bookworm and her peers grow up in a cultural climate where literature and poetry are integrated into daily life. The author's second observation is that a small and seemingly "insular" society may actually contain a great deal of cultural and literary sophistication, as she shows in her descriptions of daily small-town life in Northern Iceland.

The sixty-some folktales which occupy the larger part of the book are introduced as flashbacks to earlier times. Reflecting the national past and narrated by long departed country-people, the folktales run through the bookworm's own present and link her living family to long-ago forebears. The human characters in these colorful tales are just like the narrators themselves: farmers and their wives, serving maids, clergymen, bishops, or hired hands: a familiar mixture in any farming society. The non-humans are a sinister lot, ranging from The Evil One himself through ghosts and ogres with whom ordinary folk must struggle as best they can. In addition, the ever-present elves are a law unto themselves: loyal as friends but lethal as foes. Being an Icelander and thus receptive to mysticism, the bookworm has ample contact with the supernatural, partly through the folktales but also as elements of daily life. "Real" people gifted with "second sight" are still commonplace in the girl's own times; in fact, her family owes its very existence to the advice of such a "seer." In addition, the bookworm's world teems with an international cast of fictional and fantastic characters. Dickens's Mr. Bumble, Anna of Green Gables, Alice in Wonderland, a nameless drunken fisherman (courtesy of Halld'r Kiljan Laxness), and the Hunchback of Notre Dame, among others, make cameo appearances next to child-stealing elf-women, man-devouring giantesses, and a dreaded ghost-monster called Thorgeir's Bull.

The first folktale, a horrific account of a legendary sorcerer, is presented by itself both as a preview of the dark supernatural mysteries in store for the reader and as a preview of the fascination and excitement such reading would ge

Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781425717728
  • Publisher: Xlibris Corporation
  • Publication date: 7/28/2006
  • Pages: 236
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.54 (d)

Customer Reviews

Average Rating 5
( 1 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(1)

4 Star

(0)

3 Star

(0)

2 Star

(0)

1 Star

(0)

Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Noble.com Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & Noble.com that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & Noble.com does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at BN.com or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation

Reminder:

  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & Noble.com and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Noble.com Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & Noble.com reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & Noble.com also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on BN.com. It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

 
Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously
Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 2, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews

If you find inappropriate content, please report it to Barnes & Noble
Why is this product inappropriate?
Comments (optional)