The Far Traveler: Voyages of a Viking Woman

She was 19, married for the second or third time but pregnant for the first, when she left Greenland for a new world across an ocean of imagination and desire. Twenty years later, a grandmother, she would journey from Iceland across the sea to Norway then overland to Rome.

That was 1,000 years ago, at a time when such travels were dangerous, daring, and uncertain in every way --and nearly unheard of for a woman. Nevertheless, Gudrid Thorbjarnardottir ventured forth intrepidly and was celebrated for her rare courage, as readers of the medieval Icelandic sagas of the Greenlanders and Eric the Red already know.

Like Heinrich Schliemann unearthing the truth of Homer's Troy in the 19th century, Nancy Marie Brown -- with the help of scientists, archaeologists, and 21st-century technology -- uncovers the real historical world of Gudrid and her unlikely voyages, and writes about them with erudition and grace in this fascinating, thoroughly enjoyable book. --

April 16: ""Blue pottery vases and bowls for flowers are most attractive, and certain blue books...will repeat and emphasize color."

Donna Tartt's The Goldfinch is the winner of the 2014 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction. James Parker calls this Dickensian coming-of-age novel "an enveloping…

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