Swedish literature

Yellow roses on blue skyAlthough the traditional Swedish way of celebrating the Swedish National Day is by ignoring it, I though I should make an exception and list a few books that may serve as an introduction to Swedish literature. I made a rather narrow selection this time so I may come back and expand on this topic later.

Sweden’s probably most influential author is Astrid Lindgren, best known for her books about Pippi Longstocking. Her books (and the TV-series made from them) have been loved by Swedish children for decades and form an integral part of a typical Swedish childhood. Some familiarity with her books is thus useful for anyone trying to learn about Swedish culture. For an adult reader I would recommend Ronia the Robber’s daugther (Ronja Rövardotter) or the, slightly more controversial, Brothers Lionheart (Bröderna Lejonhjärta, my favourite) as good starting points.

For classical Swedish literature Vilhelm Moberg, Per Anders Fogelström and the Nobel prize winner Selma Lagerlöf are all good choices. Vilhelm Moberg’s series The Emigrants (Utvandrarna), about the Swedish emigration to America, and Per Anders Fogelström’s City of My dreams (Mina drömmars stad), about working-class people in Stockholm, are also good introductions to 19th century Sweden. A few of Selma Lagerlöf’s novels are available in English at Project Gutenberg.

For Swedish crime I would recommend the novels by Åsa Larsson or Henning Mankell.  I particularly enjoy the well-captured north Swedish setting (Kiruna) in Åsa Larsson’s novels.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Summer books

IMG_0005It’s still only May but the temperatures for the last few days have equalled those of the height of summer. Fortunately I got to spend a few days by the sea, lying on a warm rock in the sun, eating (imported) raspberries and reading.

With summer thus officially here it is time to collect my summer reading. Most important is The Summer Book (Sommarboken) by Tove Jansson. In a series of loosely connected episodes we follow a young girl and an old grandmother through a summer on an island in the Finnish archipelago. Often funny and always down to earth, it paints a beautiful but melancholy picture of life and summers. I try to re-read it every summer.

If one book by Tove Jansson is not enough I’m happy to continue with Finn Family Moomintroll (Trollkarlens hatt) which follows the summer adventures of the Moomin family.

Otherwise my summer reading tend to be dominated by lazy reads. Battered copies of cosy crime novels (mostly Agatha Christie or Dorothy Sayers), suitable for reading in the shadow under a tree or during a long journey.

Best combined with: Ice-cold elderflower cordial and fresh, sun-warmed, berries.

A review of “The summer book” can be found here