Shelf Control is a weekly celebration of the unread books on our shelves created and hosted by Lisa @ Bookshelf Fantasies. Pick a book you own but haven’t read, write a post about it (suggestions: include what it’s about, why you want to read it, and when you got it), and link up! For more info on what Shelf Control is all about, check out Lisa’s introductory post, here.
Names for the Sea: Strangers in Iceland
by Sarah Moss
Novelist Sarah Moss had a childhood dream of moving to Iceland, sustained by a wild summer there when she was nineteen. In 2009, she saw an advertisement for a job at the University of Iceland and applied on a whim, despite having two young children and a comfortable life in an English cathedral city. The resulting adventure was shaped by Iceland’s economic collapse, which halved the value of her salary, by the eruption of Eyjafjallajökull and by a collection of new friends, including a poet who saw the only bombs fall on Iceland in 1943, a woman who speaks to elves and a chef who guided Sarah’s family around the intricacies of Icelandic cuisine.
Sarah was drawn to the strangeness of Icelandic landscape, and explored hillsides of boiling mud, volcanic craters and fissures, and the unsurfaced roads that link remote farms and fishing villages in the far north. She walked the coast path every night after her children were in bed, watching the northern lights and the comings and goings of migratory birds. As the weeks and months went by, the children settled in local schools and Sarah got to know her students and colleagues, she and her family learned new ways to live.
I was lucky enough to go to Iceland at the beginning of December 2017 when my friend Marisa and I went on a city break to Reykjavik. It’s actually since coming back from that holiday that I’ve become more and more fascinated by Iceland’s history and culture and now I’d really like to go back, hire a car and go driving through its gorgeous countryside looking for elves.
I read Sarah Moss for the first time last year when I read her latest novella, Ghost Wall, and really enjoyed her writing, and despite owning this memoir about her time living in Iceland since before I went on holiday (I know, I should have read it by now!) I still haven’t read it and I’ve yet to see a bad review of it. I’d like to try and read some more non-fiction this year, so with any luck I’ll cross this off my TBR soon!
Do you like to read books about your holiday destinations before you go?
This week I’m joining in with Lipsy @ Lipsyy Lost & Found to talk about the books I’ve been reading recently!
Can you see a theme?
With the release of King of Scars coming very soon and knowing that one of the characters I adore from Six of Crows is going make an appearance in it I knew I had to read the original Grisha trilogy so I could enjoy everything in Bardugo’s new duology about Nikolai.
I’m in the middle of Siege and Storm and enjoying it a lot more than I enjoyed the first one now that Nikolai has made an appearance, bringing with him the kind of sense of humour that Six of Crows had. I’m hoping to finish it really soon.
I read Shadow and Bone over the weekend and sadly I didn’t love it – look out for my review next week! I am really excited for all the fans of this series that it’s being adapted for Netflix, though, and because this book is so fast-moving I think it’ll suit an adaptation really well.
I’m going to jump straight into Ruin and Rising so I’m ready for King of Scars. I’ve pre-ordered a signed copy that I’m very excited about and my fingers will be itching if my copy arrives before I’ve finished this trilogy, so I’m hoping to finish the series this week!