BBAW – Day 4: A Book That I Love

I’m participating in the Book Blogger Appreciation Week, which is an event to recognize the hard work and contribution of book bloggers to the promotion and preservation of a literate culture actively engaged in discussing books, authors, and a lifestyle of reading.

The blog post for today is about : Books we love
BBAW says: “One of the best parts about book blogging is the exposure to books and authors you might never have heard of before. Pimp the book you think needs more recognition on this day. Get creative! Maybe share snippets from other bloggers who have reviewed it or make some fun art to get your message across.”

Go to the BBAW hosting site to find links to other blogs taking part in the BBAW. These will also talk about this topic today!

The Greenlanders by Jane Smiley

The Greenlanders is written by Jane Smiley, who is especially known for her book A Thousand Acres. She’s a favorite autor of mine, although I don’t like all of her books. For instance, Ten Days in the Hills, I don’t think I finished even the first day of those ten! But this book, I read several times and I loved it every time.

This is what The Greenlanders is about:

“At the edge of the polar icecap is medieval Europe’s most farflung outpost, a Viking colony settled for generations but now struggling for survival. Here, far from the civilised world, in a land of glittering fjords, of blasting winds, of sun-warmed meadows and high dark mountains, live a people much accustomed to holding their own opinions and doing as they please.

They are, however, haunted by a rising apprehension: with every year that passes the winters seem unaccountably more cruel: the fur-clad eskimos from the North more demonic; there are increasing outbursts of lawlessness and witchcraft. Has Europe, in the grip of the plague, forgotten the Greenlanders? If so, will they be able to survive in their isolation?”

What I love about the book? People trying to survive, the gossip, the isolation. The superstition of the 14th Century people. How a visit from a neighbour (many miles away) may be the biggest event for a whole week (or even month). How the cows spent the long winter indoors and have to be carried out in spring, because they have become so weak, they can’t even walk. The bishop they have been expecting to arrive for years, and the skraelings (eskimos) who the Greenlanders believe are mythical creatures. The names! Ragnvald Einarsson, Snorri Torfason, and Skuli Gudmundsson. I mean!

My copy is old and has been read several times – look at the creased spine:

The Greenlanders by Jane Smiley (spine)

Talking about creased spines, there’s this guy in England who wants to get a job with Penguin in London. He’s asking people to tweet (@CreasedSpines) or blog about their favorite book. This project will be part of his job application. How about that? This is my contribution.

Want to help too? Tweet a picture with your favorite book and use #creasedspines so it can be found. Or blog about it. Here’s the job advert by Penguin, which is worth watching (that’s right, watching).

Amazingly, The Greenlanders, first published in 1988, is still in print and in stock at amazon! Told you, it’s a good book! My copy was published by Flamingo, which used to be an imprint of HarperCollins, that was quite reliable at publishing great books. If I wasn’t sure whether to buy a book, I’d look at the spine: Flamingo?  That’s fine then. I miss this imprint, but I’m happy to say that I review books for several of HarperCollins’ modern imprints. So I don’t miss out on the great books.

Anyway, if you’re interested in historical fiction as it really happened (Jane Smiley did a lot of research before writing the book) and if you like to read about Icelanders (who moved to Greenland), then this is a book not to be missed.

What is your favorite book?


About Leeswammes
I'm owner and editor at In my free time, I read and review books on my two blogs, Leeswammes' Blog and De Boekblogger.

21 Responses to BBAW – Day 4: A Book That I Love

  1. I’m not sure this one would be for me, but it’s always neat to hear about a “new” author.

    And, uh, what if I want that job with Penguin???

  2. A friend of mine was just raving about a book by her the other day this was not this title or the ones you mentioned here… now that will bug me 😉

  3. I do love a well-researched historical novel… 🙂 The project sounds VERY cool, what a creative job application!

  4. Beth says:

    This sounds really good. I have a fascination with places that are close to the arctic circle, and it sounds like a really well researched historical novel. Thanks for sharing.

  5. Meg says:

    The Greenlanders sounds awesome — what a unique setting! And thanks for spreading the word on Creased Spines. I’ll be making my contribution soon!

    • Leeswammes says:

      Nice to hear that you’ll help out Creased Spines, Meg. It’s a fun project I think.

      Re: The Greenlanders, I loved this book. But, it’s quite dense and not for everyone.

  6. They sound like great books! I will have to check them out 🙂

  7. JoV says:

    I was shortlisted from 80 candidates and almost got the job as a Corporate Development Manager at HarperCollins UK and met the guy behind and the editor who had dinner with George Michael and publish his autobiography. All their offices were full of stacks of books! When I was told I didn’t get the job, I broke down in tears… so I know how much it meant to get a job with the publishers. 🙂

    • Leeswammes says:

      Jo, what a pity you didn’t get the job – it sounds like it was close and I can imagine you were so disappointed. But you do have a great job now, don’t you? 🙂

      • JoV says:

        I do have a great job but not ideal. You know how it is when you want something so badly that it aches? 🙂 The interviewer was giving feedback on the phone to me and I was crying. I am very strong and take a lot of crisis and problems in the face but that rejection really hit hard. oh well, life goes on isn’t it Judith?

  8. Sandra says:

    Sounds good to me, I’ll try it.

  9. Elizabeth says:

    This sounds REALLY good…thanks.

    Love your photo of the creased spine. 🙂

    Hope you had a fun day!!

    Silver’s Reviews

  10. Stephanie says:

    Thank you for reminding me of this wonderful historical novel. I read it when I was pregnant with my son, and I loved the sense of time and place and the wealth of superstition.

  11. Wow this does sound amazing. I have a thing for survival stories. I haven’t read any of Jane Smiley’s book though I saw her interview S.E. Hinton at the LA Times Festival of Books once.

  12. I have this book, as I have all of Smiley’s books and have yet to read one. Doh! I’ve had my eye on this one because I adore historical fiction so it looks like I’m going to have to get to it sooner than later. Thanks for sharing!

  13. Pingback: The final chapter – Results from the #CreasedSpines project | Creased Spines – A project for Penguin

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