In the early stages of this website, which incidentally was just back in May this year, I was planning the video we made for the Puffin Scooters people. Craig, my self-proclaimed go-to film guy (who’s also hosting this awesome Reykjavík film festival – don’t miss it!), left the location scouting up to me and I was trying to think of nice places in Reykjavík that would look good on film. I had a few places in mind but to help me, or mostly just to make sure I wouldn’t forget something brilliant, I decided to go and buy a Reykjavík guide book.
I went to a few bookstores and I was somewhat disappointed with the selection. All the guide books tell you the same things (Do the Golden Circle, Visit the Blue Lagoon) and they are written in the same impersonal tone where the author doesn’t add anything to what you will find in all the tourist brochures and the Visit Iceland website (which are free anyway).
Introducing: Top Ten Reykjavík and Iceland by Dr. Gunni
Then I found Dr.Gunni’s Top Ten Reykjavík and Iceland and was so intrigued that I ended up buying it. Basically it is a 180 page book filled with top ten lists that cover everything from Top Ten Seafood Restaurants in Reykjavík to Top Ten Half-finished buildings and other icons of the kreppa. Even though I don’t always agree with all the lists, they are only the author’s opinion after all, the book is a fun read and has some valuable information. I also find it refreshing that not all of the opinions are necessarily politically correct and he covers services that range from being free to top dollar establishments.
Dr.Gunni isn’t actually a doctor and his name isn’t actually Gunni. He is a music guru, music quiz game show host, blogger, consumer watchdog and a journalist and he has dabbled in various kind of music according to the About the author section of his book. He also has a very strange yet fun section of his blog that features all kinds of sodas from all over the world. He used to collect Hawaii shirts but then lost a ton of weight and sold them all. Interesting character.
The book is available in Mál og Menning in Laugarvegur and it costs 2.490 ISK (about 3 beers). It is also available online through his publisher but of course the website is only available in Icelandic.
First of all I like how small and compact it is. Both in size and when it comes to the text for each list item. If you find something you would like to check out further, the website address or contact information is usually provided. I also like its authentic touch, it’s written by someone who doesn’t just live in Iceland but is also Icelandic. It has a good index if you are looking for something in particular and a comprehensive table of contents. Plus it’s quite funny at times.
Finally it includes a handy map of Iceland and of the city center that is folded into the cover of the book.
The not so terrible but somewhat not good
There are a few ads in the book but I always find it a little bit annoying when I buy stuff and it contains advertisement. It is a fairly cheap book though so maybe they managed to keep the price down by selling ads. Also, because it’s a book that hasn’t been updated since it was published in 2009, some of the information is already out of date. Especially when it comes to the bars and clubs.
Well, I bought it. That must say something. And it has made some of my couchsurfers laugh out loud. My favorite Reykjavík Guide book so far.