REading, walking, cycling and exercising with laxness
In 2021, teachers of Icelandic at a few universities outside of Iceland initiated the literary- and health challenge Laxness119, dedicated to the Icelandic Nobel Laureate Halldór Laxness (1902-1998) and his work. Students of Icelandic were encouraged to take part by reading books by Laxness and also by exercising from Laxness' date of death, February 8th, to his birthday on April 23, which is also the international day of the book. The challenge was called Laxness119 as there were 119 years from his birth.
This year, the challenge is on again, now with the title Laxness120, and this time around not only students of Icelandic but all readers can take part. The challenge is simple, you just get hold of one of Laxness' books and read it during this period as well as setting yourself a personal goal for some physical activity connected to the number 120. It can be walking, running or cykling 120 kilometres during the period, jump-roping 120 a day or week, doing 120 exercises or whatever comes to mind. People are asked to share photos and stories on social media with the hashtag #laxness120.
The challenge ends on Laxness' birthday on April 23rd and those taking part in Iceland can join a public walk ending at Laxness' home Gljúfrasteinn in Mosfellsdalur valley, now a museum dedicated to his memory and work. Information about the walk will be published closer to the date.
Laxness himself was known for taking daily walks around Gljúfrasteinn with his dog, enjoying nature and bird song and seeking inspiration from it.