Monday, March 28, 2022

the last book I ever read (Eliza Reid's Secrets of the Sprakkar, excerpt one)

from Secrets of the Sprakkar: Iceland's Extraordinary Women and How They Are Changing the World by Eliza Reid:

When I was memorizing flags and capital cities as a geeky child, I assumed that because the flag of Iceland and those of its Nordic cousins (Denmark, Norway, Sweden, and Finland) were similar, its population must also be. Likely a few million or maybe up to ten million? In fact, Iceland has one of the smallest populations of any independent nation. On New Year’s Day 2021, it was a mere 368,590, small enough that rounding to even the nearest thousand seems to do our society a disservice. In the time that I have lived in this country, the population has grown by more than a quarter.

Countries with fewer people than Cleveland, Ohio, or Bristol in the UK are forgiven for possessing a Small Nation Complex. (I grew up in Canada, which, despite its size and population also has SNC due to its proximity to a massively larger neighbor to the south, so I bear a rather natural affection for this affliction.) In Iceland, SNC manifests itself in a healthy interest in the frequency with which the country is mentioned in foreign media or what even the most minor celebrity things of his or her experience in visiting the country (“How do you like Iceland?” is the most loaded question any visitor can answer and should be dealt with in the same vein as “Do I look fat in this?”).

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