How’s Your Icelandic?

It’s hard to believe but I don’t spend every minute of every day reading and keeping this website current. Actually I try to keep up with a number of television shows and movies on Netflix, Amazon, HBO Max, and even Apple TV. I find my interests are concentrated on detective stories, usually from Europe but also from South America.

When they’re in Spanish, Latin Spanish, or French, I have the added challenge of trying to keep up with the language as well as concentrating on solving the mystery or identifying the killer. But for some reason I have recently become addicted to detective shows that involve a lot of very cold wind and snow: shows from Iceland, Finland, even Poland and Russia.

Thank goodness for subtitles.

By the way, unlike the a typical ugly American who expects everything to be in English, I abhor weak-assed attempts at dubbing a mid-west farm boy’s voice over the spoken dialogue of a Polish hod carrier. I’ve seen better dubbing in Pee Wee’s Big Adventure.

Although most of the shows I watch feature a female detective, since they are wrapped up in four layers of parkas and hoodies about the only way to tell for sure is if there’s a pony tail (and that’s not a reliable indicator itself).

I have one question, though. While living in the New York area I would often skip work rather than attempt to drive on snow packed roads, and even when I was forced to, I tended to stay in the slow lane .. and I do mean s-l-o-w, softly tapping the breaks and expecting to spin out into a ditch long before I got home. Yet I watch the police detectives in Iceland or Finland racing around on snow-covered roads, powering through curves, and screeching to a halt at the crime scene.

Am I just a wimp?

Anyway, last month’s reading suggestions included a few titles I’ve added to my planning list. There’s assuredly a several that will appeal to just about any reader.

10-01-20 – Too Late the Phalarope — Alan Paton
10-02-20 – A Brief History of Everyone Who Ever Lived — Adam Rutherford
10-03-20 – Donald Trump V. The United States — Michael S. Schmidt
10-04-20 – Anatomy of Human Destructiveness — Erich Fromm
10-05-20 – Mostly Dead Things: A Novel — Kristen Arnett
10-06-20 – Only Americans Burn In Hell — Jarett Kobeck
10-07-20 – That We May Live: Speculative Chinese Fiction — Ge Yan
10-08-20 – With the Fire on High — Elizabeth Acevedo
10-09-20 – The Red Lotus — Chris Bohjalian
10-10-20 – Flynn’s World — Gregory Mcdonald
10-11-20 – The Brick People — Alejandro Morales
10-12-20 – Renegade History of the United States — Taddeous Russell
10-13-20 – Hurricane Season — Fernanda Melchor
10-13-20 – Time and Free Will — Henri Bergson
10-14-20 – New Waves — Kevin Nguyen
10-15-20 – The Changeling — Joy Williams
10-16-20 – Nocturnes — Kazuo Ishiguro
10-17-20 – Word Play — Peter Farb
10-18-20 – Frida In America — Celia Stahr
10-19-20 – Real Life — Jeremy O. Harris
10-20-20 – Suncatcher — Romesh Gunesekera
10-21-20 – Praying Naked — Katie Condon
10-22-20 – Braised Pork: A Novel — An You
10-23-20 – Shakespeare For Squirrels — Christopher Moore
10-24-20 – Literary Places — Sarah Baxter
10-25-20 – The Sixth Extinction — Bob Blink
10-26-20 – Rage — Bob Woodward
10-27-20 – Burn This Book: Notes on Literature and Engagement — Toni Morrison
10-28-20 – The Life and Opinions of Zacharias Lichter — Matei Calinescu
10-29-20 – Night. Sleep. Death. The Stars — Joyce Carol Oates
10-30-20 – The Annals of Petronius Jablonski: An Odyssey of Historic Proportions and Priceless Treasure of Philosophy — Petronius Jablonski
10-31-20 – The World’s Most Dangerous Secret Societies the Illuminati, Freemasons, Bilderberg Group, Knights Templar, the Jesuits, Skull and Bones and Others — James Jackson

3 thoughts on “How’s Your Icelandic?

  1. I’ve been watching the Finnish program Deadwind and, although scripted, I have been amazed at the ability of the Finnish police to seamlessly shift between Finnish, Sami, Estonian, German and English.

    When I lived in San Diego, California, I was only about 14 miles from the Mexican border and it was common to see businesses with signs in the window, “Se habla español.” My Spanish was from the schoolroom but my family did sponsor a student from Peru when I was in High School. My French was from college and my daughter, who has spent a great deal of time in France, studied, speaks, and even teaches in French. I probably improved my French just to keep up with her. But my French, as well as Italian and German, was only studied for a reading knowledge requirement for an advanced degree, so I am not much good at every day speaking.


    1. I studied German in a book while preparing for Graduate School and much later tried the Rosetta Stone series to refresh and extend my meagre knowledge, but I found watching Fassbinder’s excellent adaptation of Alfred Döblin’s Berlin Alexanderplatz far more valuable than reading books or following video exercises.


  2. Great. You wrote this: “When they’re in Spanish, Latin Spanish, or French, I have the added challenge of trying to keep up with the language”. I write my blogs in four languages and none of them is not my mother tongue.


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