I don’t buy many souvenirs when I travel. My photographs serve that purpose well enough for me, and I pack so lightly that I don’t have room for extra things. But I will seek out bookstores wherever I go and buy myself a book or two, and I try to find books that relate to the place I’m in. The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle from Foyles Bookshop in London. Táin Bó Cúailnge, the Irish epic from Charlie Byrne’s Bookshop in Galway, Ireland.
In Reykjavik, I stopped into Mál og Menning on Laugavegur on the first and last days of my trip to Iceland and bought three books.
I had wanted to find some work of Tolkien’s in Icelandic, whether it was The Lord of the Rings, The Hobbit, or The Silmarillion, but I couldn’t find any. There were plenty of Tolkien’s books available, but they were all in English. Perhaps if I had been in a less touristy area of Reykjavik, I might have been able to find them, but I didn’t have all the time in the world, and I had already been to three bookstores and come up with nothing. Still, I’m happy with the books I bought. I already had a copy of Burial Rites (which I’d taken with me), but I prefer this edition, just because of the cover. I plan to read the Eddas over the winter. I’ve already read The Prose Edda, but I didn’t have as much of a grasp of the history behind the stories, so I will undoubtedly get more out of it on the next reading.