Reading and Cakes

Really I should only be reading Icelandic novels. When I was learning Icelandic in England, Icelandic books were something of a rare commodity, so I would work through them pretty quick. This was also because, as a student / general unemployed person, I had a lot of free time (although not actually as much as I gave myself when I was supposed to be writing my dissertation) and high motivation, when it came to anything that wasn't my dissertation. And because the books I was reading were more pop literature than anything else. I can pretty much read an Arnaldur Indriðason murder mystery without recourse to a dictionary, even if I don't get every single word.

But obviously the experience is not at all the same as reading in English. It's impossible to get so deep into the story, the characters, the language and so forth if you're constantly looking up bits in the dictionary. Even if you're following everything, there's still a detachment. You can't really get the same literary kick, or at least I can't yet. I read Gauragangur by Ólafur Haukur Símonarson over a period of about three months and then I decided I needed a rest because, although I enjoyed it, it did sort of wear me out.

So, after a few false starts with a couple of Jón Kalman Stefánsson novels, I gave in and re-read The Great Gatsby in two days. It was like a breath of fresh air, understanding not just the story and all the words, but the actual art and beauty of the thing. Then I got The Tin Drum out of the library a few days ago, which is the last thing in English for a while, honest. After that, I will definitely go back and struggle on with Himnaríki og helvíti. I thought the few pages that I managed to get through were great - it just took me ages and I was getting frustrated with it.

In other news, the 15-year-old has got a summer job at a bakery and is bringing home bloody loads of free cakes and bread every day! I  probably won't have to pay for a vínarbrauð for months.

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