Thoughts from Iceland simply follows Mann’s wanderings through Reykjavik and some of the Icelandic countryside on his short visit. If you don’t enjoy gentle, slice-of-life type tales, Thoughts from Iceland probably won’t appeal to you, but as a fellow travel lover, Mann’s tale was the comic equivalent of a warm cup of cocoa on a cold night. I related to his difficulties with directions in a new country, and I giggled at how every misadventure seemed to end up in a coffee shop, the bastion of safety for many world travelers. Mann particularly seemed to enjoy describing the Icelandic food he tried throughout his short trip; it got almost as much, maybe more, focus than the tourist locations!
The artwork for Thoughts from Iceland is cartoonish and simple, but it added to the nostalgic feel of reading through someone’s travels. I could almost hear a click from a wheel of slides when I paged down. The actual trip photos at the end of each book were a great addition, because it drew me further into Mann’s temporary world. The maps with locations from each book marked were nice, but as my spatial skills aren’t excellent, it was just more drawings to me.
Overall, I think that Thoughts from Iceland presents a nice introduction to the small, hot spring laden nation, but it’s not something I would read repeatedly. It’s warm, comforting, and gentle, but once experienced there isn’t much to gain by subsequent readings; however, if it encourages anyone to learn more about Iceland or the Icelandic language, I’m sure Mann would be pleased. He obviously adores his subject matter and knows how to make it accessible to outside viewers.
4 Descriptions of Local Icelandic Food out of 5