Iceland | Author Country


If I could stomach the term “bucket list” I’d say that a trip to Iceland is now on my bucket list.

But I can’t accept this trite description—that people these days often adopt—which basically means a heap of things to “get to eventually” but make sure to do before one dies. If we truly think about it, the term seems too lackadaisical a way to refer to, oooohhhh, what you choose as important to do which is to say how you should best spend your days which in turn equals how you live out your life.

The thing that bugs me about such a list is that it stipulates all the awesome stuff one most yearns to one day do while simultaneously admitting that, at the present time, the list owner is not making room for them in his/her life. Of course this isn’t always the case, but this has been largely what I’ve noticed.

I suppose this tangential rant that you are (surely unexpectedly) privy to serves as a random reminder to myself (and to anyone who needs it) how important it is not to put a dream on a list for tomorrow but to instead live it out today, even if this means just shifting gears or taking one itty-bitty step in that initially postponed direction. [Got it.]

Now moving on and back to Iceland…[Geez, Sam!]

Iceland has become heavy on my radar, and so I will have to make the journey pretty soon. I’m sending it out to the universe now; the steps toward finding my way there have begun. I promise the resulting story will appear here on Reading the Road, so be sure you subscribe to this blog to read my more informed take on what makes Iceland the country that produces the most authors per capita.

Yeah—Iceland. I wouldn’t have guessed either. The BBC recently reported that 1 out of 10 people in Iceland will publish a book.

I wonder why that is. I’m determined to experience for myself the landscape and inner workings of the island country that draws so many to the page and not only as authors but as readers too, evidently, as Iceland holds a 99% literacy rate.

When pondering on possible causes of this phenomenon, I took a look at Iceland’s average monthly temperatures. Are people largely forced by Mother Nature to stay indoors and get cozy with a book, I proposed? Could this account for their attraction to writing and their talent? (It’s known published writers start as prolific readers.) At first I thought I was reading the chart in Celsius. I soon realized that it couldn’t be, that the temperatures I read were in Fahrenheit, with Iceland’s average highest temperature falling at a chilly 57 degrees. That is one cool island. I mean, the country that can boast Björk as its own has to be amazingly hip, right? [haha]

Pun aside, while living in Hawai’i for 5 years, I noticed how the climate affected my writing. It didn’t kill it, but it didn’t fully encourage it either. I could have written more during that childless period. I philosophized that it may have been the perfect, year-round 78 degrees that constantly lured me outdoors and begged an active lifestyle, one engaged with the elements, which would at times distract me from the pen. What sun-, surf-, and sand-loving writer would want to stay indoors for extended periods of time? Not this one when in Honolulu, I found.

This correlation between weather and artistic output is just one theory that may have a shot at explaining why Iceland is author country. This is my initial stab at it, an attempt to hold me over until I can visit the place and find out what’s in the water. Any guess?

Have you been to Iceland? So, what gives?

(Photo Credit: Iceland’s Lake Kleifarvatn, by Hans Vera—Thank you, Hans, even if you don’t know that Jay Gilligan gave me permission. Thanks, Jay.)

About Sam at Reading the Road

Hello, I'm Samantha, author and editor of READINGTHEROAD.COM, a blog journal of travelogues, travel stories, personal essays, articles, reflections, reviews, and poems in which travel and literature intersect.

1 comment on “Iceland | Author Country

  1. Awesome article! I loved reading this. I never knew those stats were so high!
    Something about Iceland has been drawing me in too… maybe it’s Colin Wrights writing that had me hooked on the idea of living there.
    Either way, this is one country that seems to know exactly where they want to be. What they done with their bankers during the financial collapse a few years ago was amazing enough!

    I hope you visit Iceland very soon, enjoy your time there! I look forward to reading about your experiences there!

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