The University Bookstore: Manager Recommendations
Translation: Þóra Sif Guðmundsdóttir
Just like the colors of the autumn leaves, the appeal of textbooks have the tendency to fade the further into the semester we get. Even the most ambitious students abandon them, and everyone’s goal of reading at least one article before bed is suddenly forgotten. In this situation the only thing one can do is to take a little break from textbooks and move on to something a bit lighter – like leisure reading.
The beauty of leisure reading is that you get to do it at your own pace, with books that you choose yourself. And best of all, you know you won’t be quizzed on the material or asked to write an essay. On chilly autumn days there is nothing better than wrapping yourself in a soft blanket, even lighting a few candles, and losing yourself in a good book.
The Student Paper poked their nose in to the university bookstore the other day and spoke to the store’s manager, Óttar Proppé. Óttar showed us some carefully selected books that he recommends especially for students.
Skiptidagar by Guðrún Nordal
"Guðrún Nordal, director of the Árni Magnússon Institute, shares her experiences with Icelandic history and literature, in a very amusing way. By utilizing the essay format, she is able to tell her story without going into too much detail, but in an uplifting and personal manner. The author’s reflections truly are provisions for a new generation, which happens to be the subtitle of the book. Although this can of course be provisions for any generation, for that matter. This is a book that took me by surprise, and it will take me a while to process it."
Auður by Vilborgu Davíðsdóttur
"Although Vilborg is one of Iceland’s biggest writers, there are still too many people who are unfamiliar with her work. In this book, Vilborg writes about the childhood of Auður Djúpúðugu, a settlement woman, and takes you back to that time and place in such a way that you feel you are there, turning the pages as though hypnotized. Vilborg is a true storyteller."
Factfulnessby Hans Rosling
"What is truly happening in the world? Is everything going to shi* or is the world slowly but surely getting better? Hans Rosling is a Swedish doctor who worked on development issues in Africa for a long time. He was appalled by how wrong his fellow Swedes were about the situation in the developing countries. In later years he specialized in statistics and explaining the situation to people in plain language, such as at the famous TED talks. He has boiled it all down into simple language in this book. Bill Gates loved the book so much that he gave a copy to every graduating student in the United States."
Kalak by Kim Leine
"Sometimes you've had enough of all those books that tell about the author’s flaws and his troubles living in modern society. But then along comes a book that grabs you so hard that you devour it like you would a good thriller. Kalak is one of those books. Leine tells of how he had trouble coping as a young man, which resulted in him going to Greenland to work as a nurse. Greenland is a wonderworld that opens before your eyes through this coming of age story that is unrelenting in places, but holds onto the reader until the very last page."
This Changes Everything by Naomi Klein
“Environmental issues are the greatest challenge of modern times. Climate change is at the top of the list. Naomi Klein is a genius at taking a complex issue and making it understandable. She is unafraid of advocating for radical solutions and uses clear examples to define the problems. Her previous books have been highly influential – this one could change the world. If you would like to learn more about climate change without needing to obtain a college degree, this might be the book for you.”
Secondhand Time: The Last of the Soviets by Svetlana Alexievich
"Nobel Prize winner Svetlana Alexievich writes books based on interviews she does with all sorts of people – people who have lived through unusual times, strange people, normal people, celebrities and unknown people. In this book she collects stories told by people who have lived in the Soviet Union under Russian communism. These stories pull you in and make the story come to life. A book that keeps on surprising you. Without realizing it I began to limit the number of chapters I read so I wouldn’t finish it too quickly. But it’s comforting to know that Alexievich has written quite a few books."
Room to Dream by David Lynch and McKenna
"The famous film director David Lynch is one of the most influential artists of recent times. Lynch is considered very unique and pushes the boundaries of what is normal. But he always manages to touch a nerve and make you ask yourself: what’s next? Room to Dream is a biography where McKenna explores Lynch’s life and work in a traditional manner, by using sources and interviewing Lynch's colleges, family and friends. What’s interesting about this book is that at the end of every chapter that McKenna writes, comes a chapter that Lynch writes himself, where he reflects on the same period, answering some questions that McKenna raised, correcting certain things and sometimes even adding to it. This book focuses on the creative process rather than on sales numbers and dollar signs, like many film books tend to do. This book packs a lot of punch."