Located in the heart of Flippist World Headquarters is a very special bookshelf.
The bookshelf does has some Icelandic pottery pieces on its top and the middle shelf has a raku and pueblo pottery piece. But it is the lower shelf that holds only those special books, books written by people I know.
I’m not a completist but this little library comes pretty close. Most of the books are new (published within the last ten years) but all of them, old or new, are dear to me.
I’ll run through them with pictures and commentary on each author. First up: books by Icelandic authors Maria Alva Roff and Alda Sigmundsdóttir:
Maria Alva Roff is an Icelandic writer whom I’ve met a few times while sharing our life stories over coffee. Her book 88
is an intensely personal account of a mid-life crisis. The other title, Reykjavík cool and crisp
, is a picture book taken from her Iceland Eyes
blog. She has also written another that I’ve read, Blue Eyes
, but it remains unpublished.
Alda has been featured on FITK numerous times
, her no-nonsense writing primarily concerns itself Icelandic culture. The entries in her “Little Book” series (available on Amazon
) go far beyond any typical tourist guide. Disclosure:
I was a beta reader for a couple of these—it was quite a heady
experience to pick them up in a Reykjavík store and see my name
in the acknowledgments!
Alda has also written the political-romance novel Unraveled,
set in the immediate post-kreppa time,
and is also is a valuable resource for those interested in modern Icelandic culture. Her now defunct Iceland Weather Report
blog was very influential around the time of the Icelandic meltdown; her current blog
is more sporadic.
Next to them in the shelf are a half-dozen books by the poet, writer, literary gadfly, and curmudgeon Bill Holm (not to be confused with the painter of the same name). I had dinner with Bill
a few months before he died, even sharing his lamb stew! These books of essays
are Bill’s life in Minnesota, China, and Iceland. They are masterfully written:
There are two “singletons” on the shelf, Annie Aktins’ To the Left of the Midwest
and Bonnie Grill’s New Year:
Annie Atkins is no stranger to FITK
. She even stopped in to Flippist World Headquarters in 2008
on her pan-American tour, of which this book is a chronicle. She was an award-winning
blogger who has since gone on the a successful career as a graphic designer for television (The Tudors
, Penny Dreadful
) and films (Wes Anderson, Steven Spielberg). She has mentioned (in her Twitter feed
) that she is working on another book, I’m looking forward to that as well, although I suspect it is about graphic design and not her amazing life.
disclosure: I was Bonnie Grill’s boyfriend for a couple of weeks in high school. We’ve remained friends over the years, so it is impossible for me to be impartial about this account of the death of her husband and the tumultuous year that followed. It is almost too much to bear at times, but it is well-written and completely honest.
Okay, now things start to get weird.
Shoshanah Lee Marohn started following FITK about ten years ago and I reciprocated by following her Diary of Mindless Minion 2703
. To be perfectly frank, it took me a while to appreciate her offbeat world view but she gradually won me over. Now, I am enchanted by her prodigious output: books, coloring books, paintings drawings, felt-work, ceramics, sculpture and even running a small farm. Her Amazon site has a dozen works, I recommend the “Never Leave Home” trilogy: Exhaust(ed)
, Avoiding Sex with Frenchmen,
and Postcards from Joshua Tree.
There is room for more on the shelf so I’ll have to start meeting more authors, or just wait for Shoshannah to fill it!