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Tales of Iceland or "Running with the Huldufólk in the Permanent Daylight"

3.51  ·  Rating details ·  346 ratings  ·  68 reviews
When American author Stephen Markley was a fresh-faced, impressionable university student in Ohio, he saw Quentin Tarantino describe a trip he’d taken to Iceland.

“Supermodels working at McDonald’s,” said Tarantino of the Icelandic.

Markley never forgot those words.

Seven years later, Markley set out with two friends for Iceland, and adventure would ensue. The three young men
Paperback, 219 pages
Published April 23rd 2013 by GiveLiveExplore LLC (first published April 22nd 2013)
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Average rating 3.51  · 
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 ·  346 ratings  ·  68 reviews

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Hilary Kissinger
Mar 09, 2015 rated it it was ok
Oh god the writing. It is so bad. I learned one or two things about Iceland so it wasn't a total wash, but it's hard to stomach the continued descriptions of inside jokes you "had to be there for." If you like books that read like extended Facebook statuses (and even quotes some throughout its pages), you'll love this book.
Oct 15, 2013 rated it it was amazing
First a caution: if you’re going to Iceland and want a book that will give you recommendations for Reykjavik fine dining or suggestions on phrases lie, “Which way is the potato farm?”, this is NOT the book. And if you are easily bruised by cuss words and examination of the enhanced libidos of 20-somethings, you better avoid this book as well.

If, however, you’re looking for a really imaginative and – dare I say FUN -- anti-travel guide – a guide that touches on everything from a very drunk and
Nov 04, 2013 rated it liked it
Somewhat entertaining; not as smart as I'd hoped.
Eric Franklin
Jul 11, 2013 rated it really liked it
A self-indulgent but highly entertaining account of one late 20-something's travels through Iceland with two of his friends. Along the way, they hit the major tourist sites, discover some idyllic places in the absolute middle of nowhere, and attempt to sleep with gorgeous Icelandic women. It's not a travel book for everyone but the author does a great job of steeping himself in many of the larger themes of Iceland - the economic collapse of 2008, the comedian tapped as the mayor of Reyjkavik, ...more
Richard Mulholland
Jan 05, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Strangely, I bought this book in the departure lounge when leaving Iceland. So glad I did though, this book had me skip all in-flight entertainment options on my trip home to South Africa.

It's certainly required reading for anyone of the fact that it is not a travel guide (probably because of that, actually).

The author is smart, and properly funny. Looking forward to reading more of his stuff.

Oh, and a warning. if you read this book, Iceland will rocket up to the top of your bucket list, and
Sam H
Jun 16, 2015 rated it did not like it
If I could give this zero stars, I would. I had no idea this was the immature ramblings of an ignorant college boy! I'm sure the people of Iceland were not sad to see the back of these three boys. Their moms must be so proud! The worst part is, I actually spent money on this and helped support his drunken stupor.
Aug 08, 2014 rated it it was ok
Wow. This guy was trying way too hard to try to be funny. If I was 13, I may have thought some of it was funny..maybe. Other than that, there were specks of Iceland facts, like he had a few lucid moments or something.
Jun 17, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: iceland, non-fiction
Very entertaining, and at times (gasp!) educational read about 3 young guys' travels throughout Iceland. I'm visiting Iceland for the first time next month, and this book gave me an idea of what to expect from an American tourist's perspective. It seems Markley was able to strike a balance between utmost respect and admiration for the country and its people and cataloguing American debauchery and youthful, goofy libido in a foreign land filled with natural wonders and beautiful women. Quick, ...more
Jessica Avery
Aug 31, 2014 rated it it was amazing
I wish there was a travel book like this for every country! Amusing, witty and fun. Suddenly Iceland seems an incredibly familiar place. I'm very excited about upcoming travel there and have a long list of suggested places I'm looking forward to visiting now. There's a certain genius in this books approach and I'll be watching curiously to see what's next for this author.
Oct 08, 2013 rated it liked it
My coworker gave me this to read since I'll be headed to Iceland. I skimmed it and read certain sections. It was cute, had some interesting insights about Iceland (as experienced by a 20-something year old American), and was a totally inappropriate recommendation from a coworker! haha.
Sonja Nelson
Oct 03, 2015 rated it did not like it
A terrible book written by a terrible, creep of a human being. If you follow my ratings then you know I usually very generous with them. However, once in awhile I read a book that makes me feel worse for having done so. Tales of Iceland was one of those books.
Oct 18, 2016 rated it liked it
There aren't too many travelogues around about Iceland so this was a fun find. I can't say that I thought the author very humorous (he was actually kinda obnoxious to me), but his travels through Iceland were fun and his book included a lot of interesting Icelandic tidbits (history, politics, culture, food, etc.).

A decent and quick read. Could be inspiring for someone interested in visiting Iceland (which I have done, but would love to return).
May 28, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I enjoyed this book a lot. Yes there is swearing and dick jokes. But their is lots of fun stories. As I have lived in Iceland it was a nice book to read to remember my time there. But if you have never been there you will learn so much about Iceland, it's beauty and it's people.
Paulo Santos
Feb 26, 2016 rated it liked it
One of the things I like to do when I travel is to buy books from local authors, or about the places I'm visiting. So, in Iceland last month, I bought a few Icelandic books at one of the Eymundsson bookshops, and as I was browsing the shelves, this little book about a trip to Iceland by a young American caught my eye. I bought it, read a few random pages as I was travelling across the country, and after coming back home read it from beginning to end. It's a nice book, an account of three young ...more
Jan 09, 2016 rated it really liked it
If you can overlook some crude humor (think discussions about masturbation, bowel movements, etc.), you will likely find that this book contains many surprising tidbits that are both endearing and insightful. The author and his two buddies (all mid-20's guys) decide to spend a few weeks in Iceland, spending time in both Reykjavik and renting a car to drive the perimeter of the island. I actually really enjoyed 'traveling around' Iceland with these guys, and the author's appreciation for Iceland, ...more
Jun 30, 2014 rated it really liked it
Written by a twenty-something guy traveling with his friends, so there's an over abundance of crude comments, jokes, sexual innuendo, etc. However, aside from the juvenile male absurdities, the book contained lots of interesting tidbits, and I actually gleaned quite a bit about Iceland. Surprisingly, I feel that the book is great preparation for my upcoming trip in the fall! I believe the intent of the book is to serve as a primer for those traveling to Iceland, so if that is the case, the book ...more
May 03, 2018 rated it it was ok
I’m a big fan of irreverent writers, and I didn’t mind the author’s crassness. In fact, for someone so determined not to take himself seriously, the author has a charming passion for glacier science.

The reason for my low rating is that so much of the book is not even about Iceland. About 1/3 of it is about Iceland. The other 2/3 is a mix of inside jokes, transcripts of conversations, semi-interesting asides, and the author’s musings on the best places to masturbate.
Jan 14, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Sooo... this book was actually great. And I'm slightly surprised by that because at first glance this appeared to be a stupid, immature, yet funny book. Yes, it certainly contains its fair share of sex and drinking anecdotes... but then it also contains these really brilliant sections on Icelandic history, economy, and culture. Who woulda thunk? Clearly the author knows his craft and how to write with a paced, interesting, unique voice.
Apr 20, 2019 rated it did not like it
Drunken college boy ramblings of a two-week trip to Iceland; profane and not worth my time.
Nov 19, 2017 rated it it was ok
This is not a clever book. It is written by a simple frat boy, and is a little embarrassing to read. Pass.
Dec 23, 2016 rated it really liked it
Funny look into an amazing country. Gets sidetracked at times, but pretty sure that's the point. Good read if you've been to Iceland or want to go (you should go now)!
Jun 05, 2013 rated it really liked it
Hilarious, a must-read before visiting Iceland, or after coming home from Iceland, or if you just enjoy a really funny travel story.
May 17, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Perfect pre-trip read. Markley is hilarious. And smart.
Josh Auerbach
Dec 25, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Quick, fun read that was surprisingly informative.. Looking forward to visiting Iceland in September
Eduardo Minte
Jan 17, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: travel
short, fun, entertaining read. Never got bored during the book, it explains hystory and geology in a fun way.
Sara MacLeod
Nov 21, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: travel
This was a gift from a younger family member and was definitely not aimed at my age group. A group of 20 something American males travel to Iceland after remembering a quote from Quentin Tarantino about how beautiful the women are. After getting to grips with the 20 something male psyche (lots of chasing said beautiful women, discussions of bodily functions and toilet humour) I enjoyed this travelogue. It has lots of interesting information and observations about Iceland, politics, environmental ...more
Sarah-Lambert Cook

In the book's own words:

"“I feel like I could write a whole book about this place,” I said.
"You should.”
"Not like a real book. Not something I’d spend two years on and bleed my eyeballs out over, but something fun and fast, informative but mostly full of dick jokes and F-words. Publish it as an e-book and not even f--- around with a publisher.”"

Too bad that's not until page 202. Fortunately, there is plenty of warning early. If you'd like a Tucker Max style travelogue, this is for you.

Not my
Sep 14, 2018 rated it really liked it
Always been a a fan of Icelandic "sagas". It is what first pulled me to read this book. However, this is not a book about sagas. Having not had the opportunity to visit the country (just yet), this proved to be an amazing way to inject some of that Icelandic magic into my starving curiosity. I give it four stars with the potential to change. Perhaps when I finally visits Iceland my perspective will change. Let's hope for the better =)
Jun 15, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: nonfiction, 2019
This is definitely not a travel guide to Iceland - instead it's a silly but entertaining book about guy's trip to Iceland with his friends. After being in a lot of the places mentioned in the book last summer, it was fun to "revisit" them while reading. (And it goes without saying that I *NEED* to go back)
Shawn Wingate
Feb 09, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Excellent parody exists in this funny, yet relevant tale

Stephen Markley tells a fascinating tale about Iceland that makes me want to go there immediately. A quick read that will have you waiting at Icelandair ticket counter immediately.
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Stephen Markley's debut novel "Ohio" will be published in August of 2018 by Simon and Schuster.

Markley is the author of the memoir "Publish This Book: The Unbelievable True Story of How I Wrote, Sold, and Published This Very Book" (2010) and the travelogue "Tales of Iceland."

His work has appeared in Paste Magazine,, The Iowa Review, Chicago's RedEye, The Week, The Chicago Tribune, The
“The problem with driving around Iceland is that you’re basically confronted by a new soul-enriching, breath-taking, life-affirming natural sight every five goddamn minutes. It’s totally exhausting.” 20 likes
“That we leave our homes, that we step through our doors to the world, that we travel our whole lives not because we want to collect exotic T-shirts, not because we want to consume foreign adventure the same Western way we consume plastic and Styrofoam and LCD TVs and iPads, but because it has the power to renew us—not the guarantee, not the promise, just the possibility. Because there are places our imaginations can never construct for us, and there are people who we will never meet but we could and we might. It reminds us that there is always reason to begin again.” 18 likes
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