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Books on Sweden?

Hi everyone,

My parents will be traveling to Sweden, and possibly of Copenhagen, next year. I'd like to get them a Sweden travel book for Christmas, and was wondering if anyone had recommendations. I see Rick Steves has a Scandinavia book, but beyond that, are there any other recommendations? Books you've used that you've found useful? Additionally, are there any fiction or nonfiction books/novels/travel essays you've found interesting?

Thank you for your help!

Posted by
1308 posts

I recently read Astrid & Veronika by Linda Olsson which is mostly set in Sweden. Sorry I can't help with travel books.

Posted by
606 posts

My suggestion isn't a travel book either, but my favorite book on Sweden is a novel that beautifully describes the Swedes and "growing up Swedish". It's called Popular Music by Mikael Niemi and it's one of the funniest books I've ever read (I've visited friends in rural Sweden seven times over the years, so I can vouch for the book's authenticity).

One in eight Swedes owns this book about Sweden's weddings, funerals, and marathon sauna contests, including the one thing that one is absolutely forbidden to do in the sauna.

I'd rate the book PG, so if your parents are a bit prudish, this may not be for them. There are no prudes in Sweden!

Posted by
194 posts

Thank you everyone for your replies! I appreciate it!My dad loves mysteries, so that first suggestion suits him well. The last one sounds great, too. Nope, they're not prudish at all, so that will probably work!

I think sometimes the best travel books are the first-person narratives and fiction books--not necessarily "guide" books.

Thank you!

Posted by
2349 posts

My recent favorite is Henning Mankell. He's a Swedish mystery writer, translated into English. This year there were a few made into movies that showed on PBS, starring Kenneth Branaugh.

Also, you can find the Muppets Swedish Chef on youtube!

Posted by
5677 posts

There are quite a few interesting Scandinavian mystery writers these days. Henning Mankell's Kurt Walender is wonderful, but you also might want to check out Asa Larsson's books. The first is The Blood Split. Like Mankell you really get a good sense of place as well as a good mystery. You may have to get this one from but Camilla Lackberg's The Ice Princess was very good. Pam

Posted by
5312 posts

For fiction, Hanna's Daughters by Marianne Fredriksson follows 3 generations of women. The recent best sellers by Stieg Larsson (The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, etc.) are quite riveting - there is a lot of sex and violence so they may not be for everyone. I'll second Pamela's recommendation for Camilla Läckberg's books but I'm not sure if they are available yet in the U.S.

For travel, I think the RS book is a little bit slim on Sweden but it is still worth getting. I think the Eyewitness guides are good if just to look at the beautiful pictures of Sweden and look forward to the trip. TimeOut Stockholm and the Rough Guide Sweden are both books that I have found useful.

Posted by
520 posts

You might try the Stieg Larsson series of novels - The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo, The Girl Who Played With Fire, and The Girl Who Kicked The Hornet's Nest.