I’m off on our family camping trip at the moment. Knowing our luck it’s probably raining but let’s just hope I’m enjoying some sun at the beach!
I’ve asked some fellow bloggers to guest post this week and have scheduled them before we left.
Today Forestwoodfolkart is sharing some great tips for books that highlight the beautiful Scandinavian region. I’m a big reader and I can’t wait to take a list to the library once I’m back from my trip!
Have you ever dreamt of visiting Scandinavia: the lands that gave us Ikea, Santa Claus, and Hans Christian Andersen? Perhaps you have thought of getting up close and personal with a Viking in the fjords of Norway, or the unique landscape of Iceland, but have found neither the time nor the funds?
You can still experience the arctic world without leaving home through the literary works of Scandinavians. Gaining popularity here not just because they write good crime mysteries, but also focus more on story and descriptive plot, giving the reader the impression of “being there” in the story. So pick your destination and read on:
Visit the fairy tale land of Denmark through the eyes of writer Elsebeth Egholm, an excellent crime fiction writer, “Next of Kin”, set in the author’s hometown of Århus. Or you could get a feeling for Greenland and snow with Peter Høeg’s thriller “Smilla’s Feeling for Snow”, or watch the 1997 movie version of the same name, starring Julia Ormond.
But if historical fiction is more your thing, Per Olov Enquist will transport you to the Danish royal court of King Christian VII of Denmark and the 1700’s – the time of ‘enlightenment.’
A short train ride from Copenhagen, takes one to Sweden, across the Bridge over the Oresund, a central theme on the TV series, “The Bridge” (available on DVD). The first season was so popular a second is to come.
Most people are familiar with Henning Mankell’s ‘Wallander’ books and film, but there are many other Swedish authors whose writing brings Sweden into your own home. Camilla Lackberg writes about Fjallbacka, a small town on the Swedish Bohuslan coast, with journalist turned home-maker Erica Falck, helping out her policeman husband solve puzzling murder mysteries.
No one can dispute Stieg Larson’s, ‘Millenium Trilogy’ brought Swedish crime fiction to the attention of Hollywood, and the world, but not everyone likes crime fiction, even if it is Scandinavian.
‘Hanna’s daughters’, a story of three generations of woman, as well as ‘Inge and Mira’, and ‘Simon and the Oaks’, are three fiction novels of human drama, peppered with a little history, and a central theme of “friendship” which the author believes is more important than family.
Karin Altvegen’s describes life in Sweden’s suburban fringes, in psychological thriller, ‘Shame” whilst John Ajvide Lindqvist’s ‘Let the right one in’- is a horror fiction story about vampires, but don’t let that put you off. I would never read books on vampires, yet this one discusses bullying and was made into a successful movie, then remade by Hollywood. Very atmospheric!
Hungry? Time for a coffee break? Enhance the full Scandinavian experience while you read, with an authentic Norwegian Waffle, topped with Swedish Cloudberry Jam and cream!
- 4 eggs
- 400mls milk
- 6 tablespoons sugar
- 150 g melted butter
- 300 g Plain flour
- 1 tsp baking powder
- [Optional: You might like to add 1 tsp of cardamon or vanilla sugar for extra flavour]
- Melt butter, beat egg and sugar together till really fluffy.
- Add melted butter milk flour and egg.
- Mix well and let sit for a short while.
- Cook in waffle iron for 2-3 minutes or till brown
- Serve with cream, cloudberry jam (from Ikea) or strawberry jam and icing sugar.
Tip: This mix will keep quite well in the fridge for up to 2 days, so you can enjoy freshly made waffles each day.
Waffles are delicious while reading works by Norwegian writers: Jo Nesbø with the infamous Harry Hole, Karin Fossum, whose character exist on the fringes of society, or Anne Holt, former Norwegian Justice Minister turned crime writer, with her detective Hanne Wilhelmsen series.
I have just finished reading “Finse 1222”, set at one of the highest points along the actual Oslo-Bergen train line, wherein Holt’s descriptions of a winter snowstorm are so real, you will be shovelling snow in your dreams. Again, if you prefer something that does not have dead bodies, try Per Pettersen, “To Siberia, Out Stealing Horses” or Jostein Gaarder “Sophie’s World”, a Fiction story that introduces you to philosophy in a fascinating way.
Finally, your Scandinavian tour is complete when you get a taste for Icelandic landscapes and culture in Arnaldur Indridason’s police procedurals: Jar City, Arctic Chill, and Hypothermia, (my favourite detective stories), or a depiction of Icelandic rural life, is found in Halldor Laxness’, “Iceland’s Bell.”
Travel fiction of note
Andrew Stevensen – Non- Fiction; “Summer light”; A Walk across Norway. Not a Scandinavian writer, but nevertheless a great travel account.
True North – Gavin Francis: Travels in the Arctic, following the travels of ancient Nordic explorers.
I recommend checking out Euro crime for seeking details of other Scandinavian authors and further listings of individual Scandinavian titles to ponder about. Bon Voyage!!
Forestwoodfolkart is an avid reader and loves Scandinavian literature and culture, even though she is Australian. Politically aware and egalitarian by nature, she cares for the environment and love good home cooking, crafts, up-cycling, photography and travel. She writes about things that interest, puzzle and frustrate her and share information that might be useful to others. You will find her blog at Something to Ponder About