August 2021: Virtual Nordic Events & #WITMonth

Virtual events are still going strong despite reopening across the country. This month continues to see plenty of virtual opportunities to cook, read, watch, make, and learn all things Nordic which might help fill the void until you’re able to travel there.

Vesterheim Folk Art School in Decorah, Iowa, has seen great success with its online programming, and they are dedicated to continuing the growth of programs in an online format. Registration for online classes through 2021 is now open and you can find full information and sign up here.

August is also Women in Translation Month, an annual initiative to raise awareness of and promote women writers from around the world who write in languages other than English. Why not pick a female author from a Nordic country, or elsewhere, and experience their culture and history through their eyes? See My 10 Favorite Books for Women in Translation Month or Norwegian Women in Translation for #WITmonth for ideas, or consider reading a book by Swedish author Selma Lagerlöf who was the first woman to win the Nobel Prize in Literature (1909) and then attend one of the two “Knowing Selma Lagerlöf” virtual events hosted by the American Swedish Institute in Minneapolis, MN, to learn more about her life and work (August 18 & 25, scroll down for details).

What events pique your interest?


Run Like a Viking Virtual Challenge (August 1-31)

Grab your sword, shield, and Viking helmet because it’s time to run like a Viking August 1 through 31! Since Run Like a Viking is virtual, you can complete it anywhere in the world. Choose among a 5K, 10K, or half-marathon challenge and then walk, run, bike, skate, kayak or snowboard your distance. Grab your family and stroll a 5K. Or challenge your friends to a 10K bike ride. Or strap on those sneakers, fire up the treadmill, and polish off a half-marathon. However you move counts toward your mileage. Participants will receive an exclusive T-shirt and other goodies. All proceeds benefit the National Nordic Museum in Seattle, WA.

Demo: Swedish Saft with Erin Swenson-Klatt (Thursday, August 5, 1:00-2:00 p.m.)

Saft, or berry and fruit juice, is a favorite drink in Sweden, and it turns out it’s an easy and fun project for kids and adults alike to make at home – no trip to IKEA needed! Erin will demonstrate a couple recipes that make use of local berries and fruit, and even share tips on how to stash your saft away for a taste of summer later in the year. This is a live virtual class taught over Zoom designed as a demonstration, so students can watch the entire process and ask questions before tackling the recipe at home at a later date.

The Summer of Suspense: The Killing (Thursday, August 5 – Sunday, August 8)

In collaboration with streaming service Topic, Scandinavia House is offering a sneak peek of the first two episodes of Season 1 of the Danish Nordic Noir series, The Killing (Forbrydelsen). Follow the unprecedented Detective Sarah Lund as she takes on a series of complex murder cases, each with political implications, and watch as obsession consumes her. Season 1 kicks off with Detective Lund putting her retirement plans on hold when a young girl is found brutally murdered in a car linked to prominent politician Troels Hartmann. As she tracks the intricate web of suspects, Sarah becomes increasingly consumed by the case. Screenings of The Killing will continue with Season 2 (episodes 1 & 2) from August 12-15 and Season 3 (episodes 1 & 2) from August 19-22.

Film Screening: Riders of Justice (Friday, August 6 – Sunday, August 8)

Riders of Justice by Danish director Anders Thomas Jensen (released 2021) follows recently deployed Markus (played by Mads Mikkelsen) who is forced to return home to care for his teenage daughter after his wife is killed in a tragic train accident. But when a survivor of the wrecked train surfaces claiming foul play, Markus begins to suspect his wife was murdered and embarks on a mission to find those responsible. “A darkly humorous revenge thriller with satisfying depth and a dash of savory quirk, Riders of Justice makes another compelling case for Mads Mikkelsen as an all-purpose leading man.” Screening takes place on the Elevent site; purchase your ticket via Elevent.

Summer 2021 Virtual Folk School Series – The Decorative Folk Paintings of Sweden: Dalmåleri and Bonadsmåleri (Sunday, August 8, 10:00-10:30 a.m. PST)

This class is a part of National Nordic Museum’s summer-long Virtual Folk School Series. You do not need materials or supplies for these classes. Of the many folk arts that flourished in Sweden during the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, painted wall hangings are probably the most original to Sweden. These charming and sometimes comical paintings depict stories told in painted scenes on the walls and ceilings of Swedish peasant homes. Join Pieper Bloomquist for an overview of these two painting styles, what inspired the artists to create them, and how they are used to create the images of Sweden that we cherish today.

Nordic Spirit Classics: Second Friday Series (Friday, August 13, 7:30 p.m. PT)

The Scandinavian American Cultural & Historical Foundation in Thousand Oaks, CA, is hosting a monthly series of Nordic Spirit Classics, a virtual program of selected presentations from 21 years of Nordic Spirit Symposia. Participation is free, but you must register to receive the link. Programming details will be updated when received.

Sisters of the Brush: Nordic Women Painters in the Impressionist Era (Sunday, August 14, 10:00-11:00 a.m. PT)

How can one explain the astonishing number and skill of Nordic women painters in the final decades of the nineteenth century? Enjoying an enviable degree of camaraderie with their male colleagues at a time when Victorian mores restricted opportunities of sister artists elsewhere, Scandinavian female painters lived in Paris, joined anti-establishment artist collectives, and pursued successful careers. Was there something different, more egalitarian about Scandinavia that enabled this singular situation? Join National Nordic Museum for a talk with Dr. Michelle Facos in conjunction with the exhibit Among Forests and Lakes: Landscape Masterpieces from the Finnish National Gallery.

Introduction to Finnish (Sunday, August 15, 12:45-2:45 p.m. CT)

Are you curious about the Finnish language, but not yet ready to commit to a multi-date class? Are you looking for a quick and low-pressure way to get excited about a new language? This two-hour virtual introductory workshop offered by the American Swedish Institute is the perfect way to get a feel for Finnish — pick up a bit of grammar and learn how to pronounce some words as part of basic conversation.

Introduction to Swedish (Sunday, August 15, 3:00-5:00 p.m. CT)

Are you curious about the Swedish language, but not ready yet to commit to a multi-date class? Are you looking for a quick and low-pressure way to get excited and prepare for an upcoming visit to Sweden? This two-hour virtual introductory workshop offered by the American Swedish Institute is the perfect way to get a feel for Swedish — pick up a bit of grammar and learn how to pronounce some words as part of basic conversation.

FamilieKlubb: Try Weaving! with Laura Demuth and Evelyn Galstad (Register by August 17)

Looking for a fun way to explore Norwegian culture with your family on your own schedule? FamilieKlubb is for you! Learn some Norwegian words and phrases and a new Scandinavian handcraft each month, and do it when it works for your family’s schedule! Weaving is a traditional handcraft explored by many cultures throughout history as an innovative technique for producing textiles for the home, clothing, or even to tell a story. Several distinctive styles developed throughout Norway, and you will learn a bit about some of them during this experience. The best thing about this class is that you can watch the video and open your kit materials to explore weaving whenever it is most convenient to you and your family members. Your registration provides you with a kit that includes everything you need to do family handcraft at home.

Knowing Selma Lagerlöf (Wednesday, August 18, 11:00 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.)

Delve into the life and accomplishments of Nobel prize winner Selma Lagerlöf with Ingela Eilert Haaland of the American Swedish Institute in Minneapolis, MN. Learn how folk traditions helped form her writing style, discover her role in film production, and see how she received inspiration from worldwide travels far and wide. Discover what lasting contributions Lagerlöf’s writing have made upon literature to this day, and celebrate the writer whose statue graces the gardens of the American Swedish Institute.

Book Talk with Arthur Herman (Thursday, August 19, 5:30-6:30 p.m. CT)

Join Norway House for a book talk with Arthur Herman via Zoom as he discusses his newly published work, The Viking Heart: How Scandinavians Conquered the World (publication date August 3, 2021). In this book, New York Times best-selling historian and Pulitzer Prize finalist Arthur Herman delivers a sweeping epic of how the Vikings and their descendants have shaped history and America.

FamilieTid: Family Cook-Along with Nevada Berg! (Saturday, August 21, 11:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. CT)

Gather the family in the kitchen and get ready to cook along with celebrated food writer and author Nevada Berg from North Wild Kitchen. Learn how to make one of her family’s favorite Norwegian recipes and experience the joy of cooking together with loved ones.

Demo: Folk Painting Figures and Clothing (Saturday, August 21, 1:00–3:00 p.m. CT)

Painting people is a challenging part of dalmålning and bonadsmålning (Swedish folk painting), yet without people it’s difficult to tell a good story! In this demonstration-style class, Pieper will give you tips to make this a much less challenging task than it seems. Learn how to make and use templates for your paintings and how to get the faces “just right.” The demo will cover inspiration for clothing and decision-making for posture. You will take away tricks to try at home and skills on how to study and practice.

Homemade Rye and Oat Crispbread (Knäckebröd) with Kristi Bissell (Saturday, August 21, 1:00-2:30 p.m. CT)

While crispbread might seem like just a cracker, Scandinavians see it as another form of bread and serve it for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and as a snack in between meals. Want to learn to make your own crispbread at home? Join Kristi Bissell of True North Kitchen for a hands-on opportunity to bake a batch of rye and oat crispbread in your own kitchen (and learn some delicious and inventive ways of putting that crispbread to good use!). Participants will be provided with a shopping list and recipes prior to class. This class is designed as a cook-along class. Enrollment deadline: Saturday, August 7.

Nordic Talks: Finding Solutions to Food Waste (Saturday, August 21, 2:00-3:00 p.m. PT)

The National Nordic Museum is hosting Nordic Talks, a series sponsored by the Nordic Council of Ministers, focused on the theme of food security and sustainability. In this fourth and final talk, panelists from Washington state and the Nordic countries will discuss ways in which the issue of food waste can be tackled and inspire the audience to act independently to limit food waste. The talk is free, but you must RSVP to receive the link.

Summer 2021 Virtual Folk School Series: Weaving – The Coverlets of Norway (Sunday, August 22, 10:00-10:30 a.m. PST)

This class is a part of National Nordic Museum’s summer-long Virtual Folk School Series. You do not need materials or supplies for these classes. Warm covers at night are essential during a Nordic winter, but the coverlets families used to place on their bedsteads were often highly decorative as well. Join Katherine Larson, author of The Woven Coverlets of Norway, as she describes many of the bed covers once commonly found in Norwegian homes. You’ll become acquainted with a variety of coverlet types, learn some weaving basics, and see a demonstration of several coverlet techniques.

Demo: Swedish Summer Seafood (Wednesday, August 25, 6:30-8:00 p.m. CT)

From fermented herring to crayfish parties, seafood is a great entry point to some of Sweden’s strangest and most fun culinary traditions. Join Patrice Johnson for an evening of tips and stories as she cooks through a seafood-centric menu. From apps to main courses, she’ll share examples of fresh, smoked and preserved fish and shellfish dishes with light and easy takes that could be put together into a celebratory menu or could stand alone as a simpler weeknight supper.

Unraveling the Knot Basket: Investigating the Scandinavian Knutkorg (Wednesday, August 25, 7:00-8:00 p.m. CT)

Join Vesterheim’s Jane Laurence and Fred Livesay as they team up to examine a unique basket construction called Knutkorg (knot baskets), which were often decorated and used as special Sendingskorg (visiting baskets). Using artifacts from the Vesterheim collection; the Norwegian, Swedish, and Finnish digital craft archives; specimens from private collections; and examples of their own work, they’ll examine the roots of this unique craft in Scandinavia and the Baltic states in the mid-1800s. Additionally, they’ll share their research that delineates a continuity of this craft and an amazing connection to several communities in northern Minnesota in the early 1900s.

Knowing Selma Lagerlöf (Wednesday, August 25, 7:00-8:30 p.m. CT)

Delve into the life and accomplishments of Nobel prize winner Selma Lagerlöf with Ingela Eilert Haaland of the American Swedish Institute in Minneapolis, MN. Learn how folk traditions helped form her writing style, discover her role in film production, and see how she received inspiration from worldwide travels far and wide. Discover what lasting contributions Lagerlöf’s writing have made upon literature to this day, and celebrate the writer whose statue graces the gardens of the American Swedish Institute.

Introduction to Tapestry Weaving (Thursdays, August 26 – September 30, 5:00-7:00 p.m. CT)

Curious about how tapestries are made and ready to try your hand at pictorial weaving? This most ancient form of textile creation is rich with history and invitation for creative expression. Master weaver Laura Berlage will take you on a multi-week journey into the magical world of tapestry, where you will learn to transform warp and weft into a peaceful sunset landscape, measuring approximately 10 x 10 inches. Enrollment deadline: August 12, 2021.

Book Talk: The Real Valkyrie by Nancy Marie Brown (Tuesday, August 31, 2:00 p.m. ET)

Join Scandinavia House in New York, NY, for a virtual book talk with Nancy Marie Brown on her new book The Real Valkyrie: The Hidden History of Viking Warrior Women, out today from St. Martin’s Press. With moderator Anna Dís Ólafsdóttir, she’ll discuss the compelling new novel bringing the world of valkyries and shield-maids to vivid life.


Which August events or experiences look interesting to you?

Be sure to visit previous months’ listings of virtual Nordic events. Many of the events are now available to view as saved recordings.

My 10 Favorite Books for Women in Translation Month #WITmonth

There’s no time like the present to consider reading a book or two by a woman in translation. August is Women in Translation Month (#WITMonth), an annual initiative to raise awareness of and promote women writers from around the world who write in languages other than English. With international travel limited due to the pandemic and the Olympics going on in Tokyo, why not do some armchair traveling to countries of interest through books by women in translation?

Every year I set aside August to read women in translation from outside Scandinavia (since I read plenty of them regularly). I create a stack of books I’m interested in reading and see what piques my interest most when the time comes for a new book. On my TBR pile for August are books that will transport me to Spain (Basque Country), France, Italy, Iran, Rwanda, and Thailand through the voices of female authors from the region. I usually get a head start in July and continue into the fall.

Are you interested in joining this year? Here are my 10 current favorite books by women in translation. As you might expect, the list is heavy on Scandinavian female authors, but there are some other gems tucked in there as well. Please share in the comments any books in translation by women that you’ve enjoyed. I’m especially looking for female authors from South America.


Kristin Lavransdatter 1: The Wreath by Sigrid Undset 🇳🇴
(Tr. from the Norwegian by Tiina Nunnally, published by Penguin Classics)

This is the first in an historical fiction trilogy set in medieval Norway.

I was surprised by how much I enjoyed this book! It was nothing like what I expected. Kristin is quite the rebel and the book seems quite risqué for its time (first published in 1920). Broken betrothals, premarital rendezvous, poison, suicide, and coverups – so unexpected. It was interesting to learn about life in medieval Norway, and the descriptions of the setting are especially beautiful. This first book is the story of how Kristin met and was wooed by the handsome Erlend, breaking up her betrothal to another man. The series continues with her marriage to Erlend and follows her as she raises seven sons. I enjoyed this book so much that I completed the trilogy in the next couple of years, but this was my favorite of the three. Make sure to read the translation by Tiina Nunnally.


Convenience Store Woman by Sayaka Murata 🇯🇵
(Tr. from the Japanese by Ginny Tapley Takemori, published by Grove Press)

This is contemporary fiction set in Tokyo, Japan.

This book was a little gem — small, short, and heartwarming. I took a great liking to Keiko, a somewhat peculiar 36-year-old woman who’s been working part time at a convenience store in Tokyo for 18 years. Her whole being, both at the store and at home, is so attuned to the rhythms and needs of the store. Keiko thrives following the directives of the store manual and absorbing others’ dress, mannerisms, and speech. Despite her quirkiness, she has friends and is accepted and valued at her job. Also, I loved getting a glimpse into the Japanese culture through this convenience store and its workers.


Waiting for Tomorrow by Nathacha Appanah 🇫🇷
(Tr. from the French by Geoffrey Strachan, published by Graywolf Press)

This is contemporary fiction set in France by a Mauritian-French author.

Anita and Adam meet as students in Paris. She’s an immigrant from Mauritius and he’s from the French provinces. They both feel out of place but find comfort and love with each other. They move to the provinces, get married, and have a daughter. Life happens. She freelances for a local paper instead of writing the next great novel. He works at an architecture firm instead of devoting his life to painting. And then Adèle enters their life, resetting it in an unexpected way. It’s a short novel that packs a lot into its pages. It explores immigration, including undocumented immigrants; cultural differences in society and within a marriage; family and motherhood (stay-at-home vs working mothers), and ambitions. It’s a tragic story but beautifully written.


Love by Hanne Ørstavik 🇳🇴
(Tr. from the Norwegian by Martin Aitken, published by Archipelago)

This is contemporary fiction set in northern Norway.

This is the story of an 8-year-old boy and his mother who have recently moved to a remote village in northern Norway. They live together but lead totally separate lives. The story takes place one very cold winter night in the space of only a few hours. The boy is eagerly anticipating his birthday the next day, but his mother is wrapped up in her own world and desires. It alternates between the boy’s and the mother’s separate outings during the evening. What I thought might happen didn’t, and what I didn’t anticipate happened. It was a sad but beautiful story. At times it actually felt somewhat surreal.


The History of Bees: A Novel by Maja Lunde 🇳🇴
(Tr. from the Norwegian by Diane Oatley, published by Atria Books)

This is historical fiction set in England, contemporary fiction set in the USA, and dystopian fiction set in China all rolled into in one novel.

This is such an interestingly structured and thought-provoking book about humans’ relationship to bees as well as relationships and expectations between family members. It’s a look at the role of bees in the past, present, and future from the perspective of a family in each of those time periods, and over time their stories intersect. The first storyline takes place in England in the mid-1850s when beehives are being improved, the second one in the USA in 2007 when there is an increase in the number of colony collapse disorders happening, and the last one in China in 2098 when humans must hand-pollinate due to the total collapse of bees. As the book progresses, the reader begins to see how the three families’ stories intersect.

This is the first in Maja Lunde’s Climate Quartet. Next is The End of the Ocean which I also enjoyed, followed by The Last Wild Horses: A Novel (to be released in English February 15, 2022). The fourth book is still a work in progress.


Human Acts by Han Kang 🇰🇷
(Tr. from the Korean by Deborah Smith, published by Hogarth)

This is historical fiction set in South Korea.

This novel was about a horrific historical event I had never heard of before, the violent 1980 student uprising in Gwangju, South Korea. The story is told through chapters that are interconnected short stories. In the first chapter, which takes place in 1980, readers are introduced to several characters who then reappear in the next chapters over a period of 30 years. Interestingly, the chapters are either in first or second person with one chapter in third person. Be aware, Han Kang does not shy away from the gruesome details of this violent time, but at the same time, she shares examples of kindness and compassion too. (I have also read and enjoyed The Vegetarian, but I liked Human Acts better.)


The Nakano Thrift Shop by Hiromi Kawakami 🇯🇵
(Tr. from the Japanese by Allison Markin Powell, published by Europa Editions)

This is contemporary fiction set in Tokyo, Japan.

I thought this was going to contain some magical realism (since the cover I had originally seen has a woman flying into a subway train), but no, it was a down-to-earth look at the happenings and people in a neighborhood thrift shop in the suburbs of Tokyo. The main character, Hitomi, works the cash register. Her boss and the owner of the thrift shop is Mr. Nakano, a somewhat odd and mysterious person. His sister Masayo, an unmarried artist, is a regular presence in the store. And then there’s Takeo, the shy part-time co-worker who helps with pick-ups and on whom Hitomi has a crush. It’s an eclectic group of people, and I love a story with unlikely friendships. I also enjoyed getting a glimpse of everyday life in Japan.


Knots: Stories by Gunnhild Øyehaug 🇳🇴
(Tr. from the Norwegian by Kari Dickson, published by Farrar, Straus and Giroux)

This a collection of short stories set in Norway.

This collection of short stories is the author’s English language debut — 13 years after its initial Norwegian publication. The book is an eclectic collection of stories all of which explore the mind and thoughts of people in a variety of situations. Many are surreal; others are realistic. There is little action. They mostly deal with the characters’ consciousness. I was oddly transfixed by the stories. The book is small and slim, and the stories are short so I just kept turning the pages to see what creative and unique story would come next.

 


Quicksand by Malin Persson Giolito 🇸🇪
(Tr. from the Swedish by Rachel Willson-Broyles, published by Other Press)

This is contemporary fiction/crime fiction set in a suburb of Stockholm, Sweden.

The author takes us into the mind of 18-year-old Maja who’s on trial for her involvement in a school shooting in a wealthy suburb of Stockholm, Sweden, that left her boyfriend and best friend dead, along with others. We alternate between her time in the jail cell and in the courtroom along with flashbacks to her life leading up to the shooting. The book started a little slow, but as I got further into it, it was a page-turner that had me very eager to find out how it all could have come to this. Many timely issues to consider: school shootings, mental health, immigration, gun violence, wealth, class, parenting.

 


The Murmur of Bees by Sofía Segovia 🇲🇽
(Tr. from the Spanish by Simon Bruni, published by Amazon Crossing)

This is historical fiction with a touch of magical realism set in Mexico.

This is about an established landowning family in a small northern Mexican town in the early 1900s during the Mexican Revolution. An abandoned child covered in bees is discovered and then adopted by the family. This child, who is deformed and cannot speak and always accompanied by a swarm of bees, turns out to be a blessing for the family as they endure life in their little town with its human and natural challenges. It was a little slow to get going, but suddenly I was very absorbed in the story.

 

 


Special Mentions

Celestial Bodies by Jokha Alharthi
(Tr. from the Arabic by Marilyn Booth, published by Catapult)

This is a uniquely structured novel that follows three sisters who live in a village outside the capital city of Muscat in Oman. One sister marries after realizing she’ll never have the one she truly desires. Another sister marries out of obligation. And the third sister refuses to marry and instead waits for her beloved to return from Canada. The chapters jump between the first person perspective of the first sister’s husband and the third person perspective of various family and community members. It was hard to keep track of characters (grateful for the family tree at the beginning!) and time, but I was fascinated by the lives of these women in contemporary Oman, so different from what I’m used to or been exposed to in reading before. And I learned a bit about the history of the region which was interesting as well. This author has the special distinction of being the first female Omani novelist to be translated into English. The book won the International Booker Prize in 2019.


Tropic of Violence by Nathacha Appanah
(Tr. from the French by Geoffrey Strachen, published by Graywolf Press)

This book took me to a place in the world I’ve never been in my reading life, Department of Mayotte, a French island in the Indian Ocean between Mozambique and Madagascar. When Marie suddenly dies, her 14-year-old adopted son Moïse is left to fend for himself. He ends up involved with a gang in the largest slum on the island. The book explores hard issues – illegal immigration, poverty, race, class, youth gangs, and violence – through the perspectives of not only Marie and Moïse, but also the gang leader, a police officer, and an aid worker. This was a tough read, not a feel good book at all, but definitely an eye-opening and thought-provoking reading experience about a new-to-me part of the world, exactly why I like participating in #WITMonth.


Dødevaskeren (The Dead Washer) by Sara Omar
(Tr. from the Danish to the Norwegian by Hilde Rød-Larsen, published by Aschehoug)

This book is unfortunately not translated into English yet, but I include it on this list for anyone who can read Danish, Norwegian, Swedish, French, or any other language it might already be translated into. It’s an amazing and heartbreaking novel dealing with the oppression of Muslim women, in particular in the Kurdistan region of Iraq. The book is about a girl named Frmesk born in Kurdistan in 1986. She is unwanted by her father because she’s a girl. She is sent to live with her mother’s parents because the mother is afraid for the baby’s life if she stays at home. Her grandparents are very kind, loving, open-minded “parents” to Frmesk in a world where the Koran rules and women’s rights and freedoms are non-existent. The story moves between Frmesk’s life as a young child in her grandparents’ household and Frmesk’s life in Denmark 30 years later when she’s alone in a hospital bed for unidentified procedures. Real events, such as the 1988 Halabja chemical attack, are included in the story. It was an extremely engrossing and engaging story despite the difficult subject material. Sara Omar’s second book, Skyggedanseren (The Shadow Dancer), a follow-up to the first, also made a very strong impression on me.


Have I persuaded you to pick up a book by a woman in translation?

By the way, if you’re interested in snagging some Scandinavian ebooks at a great discount, many by Scandinavian female authors, check out my Scandinavian Ebook Deals. Some offers stay around for a long time, others only a short period. If anything looks intriguing, grab it before it’s gone.

Disclaimer: AVikingInLA is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com.

What I’ve Been Reading Lately (June 2021) & #ScandiReadingChallenge Update

Reading continues to bring me to other parts of the world while our international travels are on hold. This month I visited the Middle East (1960s-2010s), USA (various places during World War II), and Norway (early 1900s). And to make up for my current inability to visit Norway, I’m reading more books in Norwegian to feel like I’m closer (and to maintain my language skills).

We are now half way through the year, and I’m happy to say I’m on track to complete this year’s Scandinavian Reading Challenge by the end of the year. I have already completed seven prompts and have ideas for the rest. Not surprisingly, I am extremely heavy on the Norwegian books and may reconsider some of my remaining possible reads.

What have you been reading lately?


Salt Houses by Hala Alyan 🇵🇸 🎧📖

This was an eye-opening and engaging look at a part of the world and history I am not very familiar with. It’s a multigenerational story of an Arab family in the Middle East. Opening in 1963 in Nablus, a city in the northern West Bank, 15 years after the family had to flee Jaffa along the coast, matriarch Salma is reading the coffee grinds of her daughter Alia on the eve of her wedding and foresees an unsettled life. After that, the story moves forward in chucks and readers get a glimpse of life from alternating perspectives of various family members as they move around the Middle East and beyond. Readers witness the Six-Day War (1967), Invasion of Kuwait (1990), and Lebanon War (2006) through their eyes. Despite being displaced around the world, this family of bold personalities and oftentimes strained relationships stays connected and strong. This family will stay with me for a long time.

Book Voyage: Read Around the World Reading Challenge: Middle East


The Flight Girls by Noelle Salazar 🇺🇸🎧
(Narrated by Xe Sands)

This is the fictional story of Audrey Coltrane, a female pilot from Texas during World War II. She tells her story (in the first person) beginning with being a military flight instructor in Hawaii (at the time of the attack on Pearl Harbor) and then joining the WASP program, or Women Airforce Service Pilots, to test and ferry planes during the war. It’s an inspiring story of female friendship and strength that once again gave me a glimpse of a piece of history I had little familiarity with. I was a bit surprised by the love interest that ran through the story and couldn’t quite decide if I liked it or not, but in the end I enjoyed the story.


Hekneveven (Hekne, #2) by Lars Mytting 🇳🇴 📖

This is the second book in a planned Norwegian trilogy, the first of which, The Bell in the Lake, has already been translated into English. Despite my mixed feelings about the first book, I was very eager to read the next in the series. I was not let down and thoroughly enjoyed this one. It continues the story of a small, isolated village in Gudbrandsdalen (20 years later in the early 1900s), in particular the story of a young man (whose mother died in childbirth) and a priest who joined the community in the first book. I really connected with the characters, enjoyed the author’s descriptions of local life and the modern changes happening, and appreciated the inclusion of bigger events happening in the background (immigration to America, dissolution of the union with Sweden, World War I, and Spanish Flu Pandemic). There was even some mystery relating to an old tapestry introduced in the first book and circumstances surrounding the birth of the young man. I’m looking forward to book #3!

Scandinavian Reading Challenge 2021: Bonus 2: A book by a Nordic author you’ve enjoyed before


What have you been reading lately?

By the way, if you’re interested in snagging some Scandinavian ebooks at great discount, check out my Scandinavian Ebook Deals. Some offers stay around for a long time, others only a short period. If anything looks intriguing, grab it before it’s gone.

Disclaimer: AVikingInLA is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com.

Virtual Nordic Events for July 2021

Summer is here and under normal circumstances I would be going to Norway to reconnect with Norwegian culture and family (and spending time at the location of the photo above), but that is not the case this summer due to Norway’s stringent restrictions for visitors. So I will travel vicariously and virtually through books, movies/TV, and virtual events and continue to be grateful for technology to keep in touch.

This summer Scandinavia House in New York, NY, and the streaming service Topic are collaborating to bring you a taste of classic Nordic Noir with the Summer of Suspense series. Viewers are being introduced to three Danish series: Follow the Money in June, The Bridge in June/July, and The Killing in August. Viewers get a sneak peek at the first two episodes of each season before they hit Topic. Ticket sales support Scandinavia House. All guests registered for the screenings receive a promo code for 50% off their first 3 months to Topic.


Musikk Snakk (Wednesdays, July 7, 14, 21, and 28, 6:00-7:30 p.m. CT)

Join Ethan Bjelland of Mindekirken’s Norwegian Language and Culture Program for an exploration of Norwegian language pop, black metal, hip hop/rap, and rock. You will make and share your own playlists (even if you’re new to the streaming world), and you’ll discuss favorite musicians and hopes for the future of Norwegian music. You’ll also learn a few “need-to-know” songs for Norwegian social situations. Karaoke (on Zoom-mute) will happen! Instruction will be in English.

Nordic Spirit Classics: Second Friday Series (Friday, July  9, 7:30 p.m. PT)

The Scandinavian American Cultural & Historical Foundation in Thousand Oaks, CA, hosts a monthly series of Nordic Spirit Classics, a virtual program of selected presentations from 21 years of Nordic Spirit Symposia. This month they present “Western on Arrival: Swedish Immigrants and the Myth of the West” by Prof. Jennifer Eastman Attebery, Folklore and English, Idaho State University. Participation is free, but you must register to receive the link.

Aquavit Brunch Cocktails with Hannah Garry (Sunday, July 11, 11:00 a.m. CT)

Learn to make three brunch cocktails featuring a classic Scandinavian spirit, aquavit! You’ll make an Aquavit Bloody Mary, a “Norwegian Snow” (a riff on the White Russian using aquavit), and an “Oslo Sunrise” (a fruity tropical aquavit drink). You’ll use the principles of New Nordic Cuisine to craft these drinks, focusing on local ingredients and high-quality products sourced from small producers, and learn some basic home cocktail crafting techniques to take your drink-making to the next level. Your friends and family are sure to be impressed the next time you host brunch!

Summer 2021 Virtual Folk School Series: Nordic Knitting with Laura Ricketts (Sunday, July 11, 10:00-10:30 a.m. PST)

This class is a part of National Nordic Museum’s summer-long Virtual Folk School Series. You do not need materials or supplies for these classes. In this session, explore the questions “What is knitting?” and “What is Nordic knitting?” with teacher and author Laura Ricketts as she turns to friends, colleagues, and the archives of the National Nordic Museum for answers.

Virtual Book Talk — Magma by Icelandic Author Thóra Hjörleifsdóttir (Tuesday, July 13, 6:00 p.m. ET)

Join Scandinavia House in New York, NY, for a virtual book talk with Icelandic author Thóra Hjörleifsdóttir and translator Meg Matich on the release of the new novel Magma. “With astounding clarity and restraint, Magma sheds light on the commonplace undercurrents of violence that so often go undetected in romantic relationships.” With moderator Larissa Kyzer, the author and translator will discuss the novel, out today from Black Cat.

FamilieKlubb: Try Rosemaling! (Register by July 16)

Looking for a fun way to explore Norwegian culture with your family on your own schedule?  FamilieKlubb is for you! Learn some Norwegian words and phrases and a new Scandinavian handcraft each month, and do it when it works for your family’s schedule! Rosemaling (or rose painting) is a decorative painting technique characterized by scrolls, leaves, and flowers and has been traditionally applied to woodenware. Several distinctive styles developed throughout Norway. Vesterheim invites you to try your hand at this historical handcraft. You’ll learn how to try different brushstrokes, resulting in beautiful decorative painting. The best thing about this class is that you can watch the video and open your kit materials to explore rosemaling whenever it is most convenient to you and your family members. Your registration provides you with a kit that includes everything you need to explore this handcraft as a family at home.

Virtual Nordic Talks: Preventing the Collapse of Colonies: Saving Bees and the Global Food Supply (Saturday, July 17, 2:00-3:00 p.m. PT)

The National Nordic Museum is hosting Nordic Talks, a series sponsored by the Nordic Council of Ministers, focused on the theme of food security and sustainability. In this third talk, the panel will move beyond discussions of food consumption to address the first step in the cultivation of plant-based foods. Panelists from Washington State University and the Nordic countries will discuss efforts to combat declining populations of the world’s most important pollinator—bees. The talk is free, but you must RSVP to receive the link.

New Nordic Summer Apps with Patrice Johnson (Saturday, July 17, 5:00 p.m. CT)

New Nordic Cuisine is all about time and place! In this cook-along with food historian and cookbook author Patrice Johnson, you will cook together and prepare an assortment of fun and unique New Nordic appetizers using seasonal ingredients. The menu will include cabbage wraps, mini Västerbottensostpajs (Swedish cheese tarts), seafood and carrot salad, condiments (pickled mustard seeds, lingonberry hot sauce, quick pickles), seasonal fruit dessert, and a cocktail/mocktail.

FamilieTid: Concert with Fiddler Casey Driessen! (Sunday, July 18, 2:00 p.m. CT)

Gather the family and join Vesterheim for a fun-filled hour of fiddling with Grammy-nominated Casey Driessen! Sharing music and stories from his travels in Spain, Ireland, Scotland, India, Japan, and Finland, this will be an event that will inspire musicians of every age! All are welcome. Families are encouraged to participate together.

Online Nordic Book Club: Long Live the Post Horn! by Vigdis Hjorth (Tuesday, July 20, 6:00 p.m. ET)

The Nordic Book Club at Scandinavia House in New York, NY, selects novels from some of the best Nordic literary voices. On July 20, they’ll be discussing the new book Long Live the Post Horn! by Vigdis Hjorth, out now in translation by Charlotte Barslund from Verso Fiction.

Virtual Book Talk — Bolla by Finnish Author Pajtim Statovci (Tuesday, July 20, 7:00 p.m. ET)

Join Scandinavia House in New York, NY, for a pre-recorded book talk with Finnish-Kosovan author Pajtim Statovci (National Book Award finalist, Crossing) on his new novel Bolla. With moderator Bethanne Patrick, he’ll discuss the writing of the novel, available on July 6 in translation by David Hackston from Pantheon.

Travel Seminar: Saints of Norway (Wednesday, July 21, 6:30-8:30 p.m. CT)

Join Magne Hatlevik of Mindekirken’s Norwegian Language and Culture Program for a tour that traces the historical sites connected to two of Norway’s three Saints. The tour will start in Bergen and you will embark on a boat cruise where you explore the cloister ruins of St. Sunniva on the island of Selja and the Selje Monastery. You will also stop in Ålesund, Molde, Kristiansund and end up in Trondheim for St. Olav’s Festival. Here you will visit the historical battleground of Stiklestad where Norway’s Christian Viking King St. Olav met his fate.

Virtual Nordic Handcraft Workshop: Knitting Nordic Without a Pattern – The Wandering Shawl (Wednesdays, July 21 & 28, 5:00-7:00 p.m. CT)

The triangular shawl is one of the most quintessential and cozy Nordic knits. Folks have created their own patterns for generations, so that’s just what we’ll do in this class! Using yarn that you have on hand, or discussing suitable options to purchase, you’ll knit a shawl like no other. This class is perfect for beginning-intermediate knitters who can already knit, purl and cast on and off, but would like to learn how to play with design. The instructor will discuss several ornamental stitch patterns throughout the class as well. This is a great way to use up that special yarn in your stash, by creating a completely unique project to you! This class meets Wednesdays July 21 & 28 from 5-7 p.m. and is a live virtual class taught over Zoom.

Virtual Nordic Table Demo: Baking Tekakor with Erin Swenson-Klatt (Thursday, July 22, 1:00-2:00 p.m. CT)

When you think of Scandinavian flatbreads, you might think of crisp Swedish knäckebröd or thin and soft Norwegian lefse, but in fact flatbreads vary greatly in their size, shape, thickness and content. Watch Erin go through all the steps of baking one of her favorite Swedish flatbreads – the small and soft tekakor. These easy “tea cakes” usually make use of a little rye or whole wheat flour, and are a great choice for breakfasts, fikas and even traveling sandwiches. Learn about these lovely breads so you can make them before your next picnic! This is a live virtual class taught over Zoom. This class is designed as a demonstration, so students can watch the entire process and ask questions before tackling the dishes at home at a later date.

Virtual Crafts & Cocktails: Watercolor Northern Lights (Thursday, July 22, 6:00-7:00 p.m. PT)

Recharge from your day with an evening of creativity and fun! Join National Nordic Museum for their virtual Crafts & Cocktails event to learn a cocktail recipe and make a craft using supplies you have around the house. This month’s craft project is Watercolor Northern Lights with their teaching artist, Willow Heath.

Virtual Nordic Table Workshop: Berry Jam at Home with Heidi Skoog (Saturday, July 24, 2:00-5:00 p.m. CT)

Capture summer’s bounty in a beautiful mixed berry jam with preserving expert Heidi Skoog, owner of St. Paul-based Serious Jams. Pick up fresh berries from a farmers market or U-Pick and then go to work making a simple berry jam in your own kitchen and jarring it up to save for keeping or gifting. This is the perfect class if you’ve ever wanted to start preserving at home and are looking for someone to (virtually) check in over your shoulder.

Summer 2021 Virtual Folk School Series: Woodcarving Basics with Brendan McGarry (Sunday, July 25, 10:00-10:30 a.m. PT)

This class is a part of National Nordic Museum’s summer-long Virtual Folk School Series. You do not need materials or supplies for these classes. In this class, join Brendan McGarry to learn the basics of carving a wooden spoon from green wood, using traditional hand tools. There are many ways to carve a wooden spoon, but Brendan will demonstrate the process of creating a spoon starting with a log of wood and ending up with a finished spoon. While he carves, he’ll discuss the design, safety, and a bit of history behind this style of spoon carving.

Virtual Lecture: Discovering Artists Emil and Dines Carlsen (Thursday, July 29, 6:00-7:00 p.m. PT)

In this virtual lecture, National Nordic Museum’s Director of Collections, Exhibitions, and Programs Leslie Anne Anderson will trace the careers of Danish-American artist Emil Carlsen and his son, Dines Carlsen (1901–1966). This behind-the-scenes talk is held in conjunction with the exhibition Dines Carlsen: In His Own Manner, which will display selections from the Museum’s newly acquired collection of nearly 1,000 drawings by Dines Carlsen.

Virtual Viking Metal-Weaving Bracelet Class (Saturday, July 31, 10:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m. PT)

Dating back to the Viking era, this metal-weaving project is a great introduction to jewelry making. Using copper and silver wire, learn the steps for metal knitting—a simple looping technique—over a round, wooden dowel. Once the knitting is made, a drawplate is used to pull the knitting through, which compresses and lengthens the wire into a beautiful hollow chain. Then, by attaching end caps and a clasp, you’ll transform the chain into a lovely bracelet. All bracelet materials are provided, including complete instruction from start to finish, through discussion and demonstration of all the steps in the process. Materials will be sent to you by mail upon registration; class is virtual.


Which July events or experiences look interesting to you?

Be sure to visit previous months’ listings of virtual Nordic events. Many of the events are now available to view as saved recordings.

What I’ve Been Reading Lately (May 2021)

I’m continuing my travels around the world through books and am really enjoying this new focus in my reading. This month I visited Vietnam, Australia, and Norway.

Even though we’re half way through the year already, I’ve decided to join The Book Girls’ Book Voyage: Read Around the World reading challenge to help me continue the course and to find reading suggestions. The challenge is organized into 12 regions, and each month they share reading suggestions for a region. While their intention may be to read each region in order and share reading experiences, I’ll be skipping around since I’ve already completed reads for some regions and missed others.

What have you been reading lately?


The Mountains Sing by Nguyễn Phan Quế Mai 🇻🇳 📖🎧
(Narrated by Quyen Ngo)

This is exactly my type of book, historical fiction that opens my eyes to a part of history I have little knowledge about at the center of which is a strong, admirable female character. It’s a multigenerational story set against the Vietnam War. Grandmother Dieu Lan is taking care of her granddaughter Huong while her parents are fighting in the Vietnam War. Going back and forth in time, the reader learns about the grandmother’s life from birth in 1920 through the Great Hunger when her mother was killed and the Land Reform when she had to flee with her children to the current situation during the Vietnam War. It’s both a heartbreaking story of loss and struggle and beautiful story of resilience and hope. Highly recommend!


The Family Next Door by Sally Hepworth 🇦🇺 🎧
(Narrated by Barrie Kreinik)

I loved Sally Hepworth’s The Mother-in-Law (a 5-star listen for me) so I had high expectations for this one. Sadly, I was disappointed. This was about a group of neighborhood housewives with young children and too much time on their hands. Everything is going fine, or so it seems, until a new neighbor moves in. This upsets the status quo and secrets begin to surface. I had a bit of a hard time keeping the characters apart and I almost didn’t finish, but I continued to see how all the secrets would be resolved. Despite this disappointment, I still have her latest The Good Sister on my TBR.

 


The Snowman (Harry Hole #7) by Jo Nesbø 🇳🇴 📖
(Translated from the Norwegian by Don Bartlett)

I had read the first Harry Hole book a few years ago and wasn’t a fan of him (a too damaged alcoholic with poor judgement), but I wanted to give the series another try since it’s such a popular one both at home and abroad. I’m glad I did; it was a fun ride! I really enjoyed that it took place in Oslo, so many familiar places. Also, Harry Hole’s character was much more likeable; he doesn’t drink in this installment and his skill as a detective really shines. In this story, Harry is on the hunt for a serial killer who’s been targeting married women with children and leaves a snowman behind as a calling card. It was very engaging and suspenseful with a satisfying resolution. I’m definitely open to reading more Harry Hole books.

Scandinavian Reading Challenge 2021: A Scandinavian book from a favorite genre (crime fiction)


What have you been reading lately?

By the way, if you’re interested in snagging some Scandinavian ebooks at great discount, check out my Scandinavian Ebook Deals. Some offers stay around for a long time, others only a short period. If anything looks intriguing, grab it before it’s gone.

Disclaimer: AVikingInLA is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com.

Virtual Nordic Events for June 2021

With more of the country beginning to open up and summer breaks on the horizon, virtual events seem to be slowing down a bit. However, there are still plenty of opportunities to cook, read, watch, make, learn, and discuss virtually with others from around the country. What interests you?

Beginning in June and continuing through the summer is a special collaboration between Scandinavia House in New York, NY, and the streaming service Topic to bring you a taste of classic Nordic Noir. Topic’s Summer of Suspense series will introduce viewers to three Danish series: Follow the Money in June, The Bridge in June/July, and The Killing in August. Viewers will get a sneak peek at the first two episodes of each season before they are released on Topic. Ticket sales will go to support Scandinavia House. All guests registered for the screenings will receive a promo code for 50% off their first 3 months to Topic.


Virtual Nordic Table Demo: Mini Swedish Celebration Cakes with Erin Swenson-Klatt (Thursday, June 3, 1:00-2:00 p.m. CT)

Get ready for summer celebrations with sweet, Swedish-inspired cakes! Taking inspiration from the traditional princesstårta (a marzipan covered cake popular for both birthdays and Sweden’s National Day on June 6) and the classic Midsommar jordgubstårta (a strawberry and cream confection), Erin will walk students through preparing a simple cake base at home and then assembling and decorating the cakes to be ready to share. These simplified mini cakes are especially perfect for small gatherings or to drop off with friends and family. You’ll leave inspired to bake up some sweet new treats! This class is designed as a demonstration, so students can watch the entire process and ask questions before tackling the dishes at home at a later date.

Summer of Suspense: Follow the Money, Season 1, Episodes 1 & 2 (Thursday, June 3 – Sunday, June 6)

In the first series of Summer of Suspense, viewers are introduced to the Danish series Follow the Money (Bedrag) which looks into the dark side of an industry where clean energy is a dirty business. Episodes 1 & 2 of Season 1 will be available June 3-6, followed by Season 2’s episodes 1 & 2 June 10-13, and then Season 3’s episodes 1 & 2 June 17-20. As part of the Summer of Suspense premiere screenings, Scandinavia House will host a Nordic Film Club discussion group online. Viewers can gather after watching each series to chat about what they’ve watched. On Wednesday, June 30, 6:00 p.m. PT, they’ll be discussing Follow the Money (details).

Cooking with Undset (Friday, June 4, 6:00 p.m. ET)

Join Paris Review’s Eat Your Words writer Valerie Stivers and wine expert Hank Zonai for virtual Undset-themed drinks on The Paris Review’s Instagram account. They will discuss food and drink in Undset’s work. Special guest Raphael Lyon from Enlightenment Wines will join them. This is a free virtual event.

Baking for a Scandinavian Midsummer with Kristi Bissell (Saturday, June 5, 10:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. PT)

Join Kristi Bissell of True North Kitchen as she teaches participants how to bake some favorite recipes for a Scandinavian midsummer get together. This class will feature Strawberry Cream Cake (Jordgubbstårta), Raspberry Hazelnut Thumbprint Cookies (Hallongrottor), and Swedish Oat Crackers (Svenska havrekakar). The class is live, interactive, and hands-on. You will receive the recipes, ingredients lists, and equipment lists in advance.

Virtual Kids’ Craft: Make Your Own Ski Jumper (Saturday, June 5, 10:00 a.m. – 11:00 a.m. PST)

This craft is offered in connection with National Nordic Museum’s temporary exhibition Sublime Sights: Ski Jumping and Nordic America. How far can a ski jumper jump? Kids will make their own ski jumper at home with this crafty experiment. Participation is free, but you must RSVP to receive the link.

Online Nordic Book Club: On Time and Water (Tuesday, June 8, 6:00 p.m. ET)

The Nordic Book Club at Scandinavia House in New York, NY, selects novels from some of the best Nordic literary voices. On June 8, they’ll be discussing the new book On Time and Water by Icelandic author Andri Snær Magnason, who joined Scandinavia House for a panel on “Capturing Sustainability in the Arctic” on March 24. “Based on interviews and advice from leading glacial, ocean, climate, and geographical scientists, and interwoven with personal, historical, and mythological stories, On Time and Water is a rich and compelling work of narrative nonfiction that illustrates the reality of climate change—and offers hope in the face of an uncertain future.”

Jewelry Making Workshop – Viking Knit Bracelet (Wednesday, June 9, 10:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m. PT)

Join Debra Carus from Elentari Handverk for a jewelry making workshop. Using silver and copper wire, pliers and wooden dowels, create one of the most ancient and lovely chains dating back to Viking times. Essential skills learned include: weaving fine wire around a wooden dowel (similar to looping), drawing down the wire to compress it into a bracelet form, finishing with simple wire wrapping techniques and adding a pre-made clasp.  Materials will be mailed to you in advance of the class. No experience necessary.

Stranger’s Guide: Scandinavia – Virtual Panel (Friday, June 11, 1:00 p.m. PT)

Join Scandinavia House for a roundtable discussion on the Stranger’s Guide Scandinavian edition. The Stranger’s Guide book series is an award-winning publication that focuses on improving global citizenship by providing excellent and unexpected storytelling from around the world. To celebrate the release of their Scandinavian issue, distinguished guests will talk about the changing face of the region from an environmental, societal, and cultural perspective. Editor Kira Brunner Don will also give an overview of the Scandinavian issue and the planning and thought process behind it.

Nordic Spirit Classics: Second Friday Series (Friday, June 11, 7:30 p.m. PT)

The Scandinavian American Cultural & Historical Foundation in Thousand Oaks, CA, is hosting a monthly series of Nordic Spirit Classics, a virtual program of selected presentations from 21 years of Nordic Spirit Symposia. This month they will present Gudridur, a dramatic performance from the Vinland Sagas of Gudridur, “the far traveler,” portrayed by Icelandic actress Thorunn Claussen. Participation is free, but you must register to receive the link.

Tastemakers: Effecting Change in Farming, Food Processing, and Packaging (Saturday, June 12, 2:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m. PST)

The National Nordic Museum is hosting Nordic Talks, a series sponsored by the Nordic Council of Ministers focused on the theme of food security and sustainability. In this second talk, the panel will investigate how companies in the Nordic countries and the United States demonstrate their commitment to sustainable strategies to maximize growth and minimize waste. The talk is free, but you must RSVP to receive the link.

Virtual Nordic Table Demo: Midsommar Smörgåstårta with Patrice Johnson (Wednesday, June 16, 6:30-8:00 p.m. CT)

Celebrate Midsommar this year with a fantastic smörgåstårta, Sweden’s very own “sandwich-cake!” A festive option that can be scaled up or down for parties large or small, the smörgåstårta is a savory centerpiece composed of classic sandwich ingredients, but beautifully “iced” (with whipped cream cheese) and decorated with vegetables, herbs, and meat or fish. It is a true retro classic from Sweden, and a great and filling main course at any party – including a Swedish-style Midsommar buffet. In this 90-minute demo, Patrice will walk through the process of building and serving a summery smörgåstårta inspired by classic Midsommar flavors, with a discussion of fun variations and the many options for decorations.

Vesterheim Bokprat (Book Group): An Enemy of the People (Wednesday, June 16, 7:00-8:15 p.m. CT)

Dr. Maren Johnson, Luther College’s Associate Professor of Nordic Studies and Torgerson Center for Nordic Studies Director, facilitates a monthly bokprat discussing Scandinavian authors and Scandinavian life. Join in June for a conversation about the play An Enemy of the People by Henrik Ibsen, a later part of Ibsen’s collection of work that explores the tensions of economics and ethics, loyalty to family and profit. Enrollment Deadline: June 14.

 

Virtual Scandinavian Fest: Midsummer Market (Friday & Saturday, June 18 &19)

Scandinavian Fest brings Nordic shops and businesses together from around the globe in one online location during the absence of in-person festivals. The event will include 55+ Nordic vendors, giveaways, new products and more. To participate, visit the event’s Facebook page and mark that you are “Interested” or “Going” and keep an eye on the “Discussion” tab as soon as the event starts to join in the action. For a master list of businesses and discounts, visit the festival’s website  and click on “Shop by Category”.

Scandinavian Midsummer Dinner with Kristi Bissell (Saturday, June 19, 10:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. PT)

Join Kristi Bissell of True North Kitchen as she teaches participants how to make a gorgeous midsummer meal. The class will prepare Swedish 75 Cocktail, Mushroom Almond Spread, Scandinavian Roasted Salmon with Creamy Mustard Dill Sauce, Herbed New Potato Salad with Pickled Golden Beets and Capers, Quick Swedish Pickled Cucumbers. The class is live, interactive, and hands-on. You will receive the recipes, ingredients lists, and equipment lists in advance.

National Nordic Museum’s Virtual Northern Lights Auktion (June 19–26)

Join National Nordic Museum for the 2021 Virtual Northern Lights Auktion as they toast their incredible supporters and community. Vacation stays and trip packages, luxury goods, Nordic antiques, inspired gift baskets—you’ll be able to bid on them all online June 19–26. Then tune in on the evening of June 26 at 6:30 p.m. for a special live-streamed Auktion with special guests, toasts, and live auction lots. RSVP to the live virtual event here.

Virtual Teen Class: Nordic Landscapes Painting with Pratt Fine Arts Center (Monday, June 21 – Friday, June 25, 1:30-4:30 p.m. PST)

The National Nordic Museum has partnered with Pratt Fine Arts Center to create a virtual landscape painting class and exhibition program for summer 2021. Students enrolled in this summer camp with Pratt Fine Arts will get a virtual tour from the curator of the Museum’s temporary exhibition, Among Forests & Lakes: Landscape Masterpieces from the Finnish National Gallery. During the week-long program, students will then create a landscape masterpiece of their own in response. Afterward, paintings will be displayed in a virtual exhibition on the Museum’s website. This program is specifically for teenagers aged 13–18.

Norway House’s Midtsommer Gala: Not-So-Late Show and Silent Auction (Tuesday, June 22, 7:00-8:00 p.m. CT)

The Midtsommer Gala is Norway House’s annual celebration, dinner, awards, and fundraising event, a centerpiece of their community celebrations for almost 15 years. This year Norway House’s signature event has been transformed into a late-night talk show for 2021—a festive online show jam-packed with Norway House highlights, interviews, musical guests, and more. The silent auction, to be announced by email as the Gala date nears, is a varied assemblage of Nordic treasures, vacations, getaways, and gifts. For more information and to register for this free online event, visit the event page.

Summer of Suspense: The Bridge, Season 1, Episodes 1 & 2 (Thursday, June 24 – Sunday, June 27)

In the second series of Summer of Suspense, viewers are introduced to the Danish series The Bridge (Broen) which follows Detective Saga Norén as she and her colleagues investigate a series of crimes committed around the bridge connecting Sweden and Denmark. Season 1 (episodes 1 & 2) will be available June 24-27, Season 2 (episodes 1 & 2) will continue from July 8-11, followed by Season 3 (episodes 1 & 2) from July 15-18, and Season 4 (episodes 1 & 2) from July 22-25.

Summer 2021 Virtual Folk School Series: Rosemaling with Lise Lorentzen (Sunday, June 27, 10:00-10:30 a.m. PST)

Welcome to Rosemaling with Lise Lorentzen. What is rosemaling, you may ask? Rosemaling is the beautiful, Norwegian decorative folk art painting style that thrived in Norway from the late 1600s through the late 1800s. In this presentation, Lise will demonstrate the lyrical stroke work of rosemaling and discuss some of the history and fine points of this artform. Lise truly believes that for rosemaling and other art forms to survive they must be shared as much as possible. This class is a part of National Nordic Museum’s summer-long series of mini classes highlighting traditional Nordic craft. You do not need materials or supplies for these classes.

Vesterheim “TVprat” – Atlantic Crossing (Monday, June 28, 7:00-8:15 p.m. CT)

With a twist on Vesterheim’s monthly bokprat discussions of Scandinavian authors and Scandinavian life, join Dr. Maren Johnson, Luther College’s Associate Professor of Nordic Studies and Torgerson Center for Nordic Studies Director, for a “TVprat” discussion of the popular series Atlantic Crossing. Inspired by a true story of a friendship forged in wartime, Atlantic Crossing explores politics and ambition as Norway’s Crown Princess Martha flees to America for safety when her country is invaded by the Nazis, and is taken under the wing of the U.S. president, Franklin Roosevelt. Registrants should have viewed all eight episodes of Atlantic Crossing discussion before the meeting. Enrollment deadline: June 24.


Which June events or experiences look interesting to you?

Be sure to visit previous months’ listings of virtual Nordic events. Many of the events are now available to view as saved recordings.

Virtual 17th of May Celebrations for Norway’s Constitution Day

Curious how you can celebrate Norway’s national day on Monday, May 17? With the pandemic still limiting how we can celebrate, organizations are hosting virtual events this year as well. Below you’ll find a sampling of virtual events from various locations around the U.S. with strong Norwegian ties as well as Norway’s own national broadcast. In this listing, all times have all been converted to Pacific Daylight Time for ease of planning.

On our national day, Norwegians celebrate the signing of their constitution which happened on May 17, 1814. However, Norway’s call for independence was not accepted and so it stayed in a union with Sweden and didn’t become independent until 1905.

It is known to be a day of children’s parades and marching bands, hot dogs and ice cream, speeches and songs, and bunads and flags. “The celebration of the Norwegian Constitution Day is a party like no other.”


11:50 p.m. (5/16) – 7:00 a.m. (5/17) Pacific Daylight Time — NRK’s Gratulerer med dagen!

This is a tough one for folk on the U.S. West Coast to watch live due to the time difference, but you’ll be able to watch a recording at your convenience. Produced by Norway’s national TV station, program hosts Nadia Hasnaoui og Christian Strand will be filming from Oslo’s Akershus festning (Akershus Castle) overlooking the Oslo Harbor. In addition to seeing how Norwegians all over Norway celebrate, you will also get a glimpse of how the royal family will commemorate the day. There will be food and entertainment segments as well. For details on the program, visit Slik blir 17. mai 2021 på NRK (in Norwegian).

7:00 a.m., 8:00 a.m., and 1:00 p.m. PDT — Norway Day: A Virtual Celebration from New York City & Washington DC

Norway Day is a collaboration between Sjømannskirken in New York and Norwegian groups and organizations in New York and Washington, D.C. At 7:00 a.m. PT, join the Raising of the Flag ceremony which includes a speech by the Norwegian Ambassador to the U.S., Anniken Ramberg Krutnes, and music from Rockville Brass Band. This is followed by a church service from the Norwegian Church in New York at 8:00 a.m. PT (service in Norwegian). Finally, at 1:00 p.m. PT enjoy a 17th of May concert with musicians from both Norway and USA.

9:00 a.m. PDT – 17. mai Celebration at Pacific Lutheran University/Scandinavian Cultural Center

Join PLU’s Scandinavian Cultural Center in Tacoma, WA, for the premiere of their 17. mai – Norwegian Constitution Day celebration.

10:00-11:00 a.m. PDT — Virtual Kids’ Craft: Collage a Norwegian Flag for Syttende Mai

Join National Nordic Museum in Seattle, WA, and celebrate Syttende Mai with a Norwegian flag art project! Make a Norwegian collage flag. Cost: Free; RSVP required to receive the link.

10:00 a.m. PDT — Syttende Mai with Vesterheim

Join Vesterheim in Decorah, Iowa, for a free webinar as they celebrate Syttende Mai with friends from Norway and the United States! First Norwegian storyteller Anne Elisebeth Skogen will join the webinar from Ryfylkemuseet at Sand, Norway, to tell the story, Schoolgirl and My Very First May 17th Parade in 1962. Next, Decorah musicians Beth and Jon Rotto (playing fiddle and rhythm guitar, respectively) will offer Norwegian and Norwegian-American tunes from the Bethania Church in Vesterheim’s Heritage Park.
Register to receive the free Zoom link.

11:30 a.m. – 1:00 p.m. PDT — Syttende Mai Celebration with Seattle

Join an online celebration from Seattle’s historic Ballard neighborhood. It will begin with a pre-program lineup of entertainment and fun from 11:30 a.m. to noon. Then a virtual program from The National Nordic Museum will feature remarks from Grand Marshal Mayor Marte Mjøs Persen from Seattle’s Sister City Bergen; Honorary Marshal Eric Nelson, CEO, National Nordic Museum; and Ambassador Anniken R. Krutnes, Royal Norwegian Embassy; and His Majesty King Harald V of Norway. It will also include memories from past Syttende Mai celebrations and Syttende Mai song sing-alongs.

5:00-6:00 p.m. PDT — Syttende Mai Celebration with Minnesota

Syttende Mai Minnesota will host an online event in honor of Norway’s Constitution Day. Connect with the Norwegian-American community and hear remarks from Her Excellency Ambassador Anniken Krutnes, Norway’s Ambassador to the United States. Afterwards, Ethan Bjelland from Norway House and Mindekirken’s Norwegian Language & Culture Program will lead us in singing a few celebratory songs! This event is complimentary and accessible to everyone. Register by May 16.

5:30 p.m. PDT — 17. mai feiring med Sjømannskirken i Los Angeles

Sjømannskirken in Los Angeles is hosting an in-person celebration with limited capacity. However, festivities will be live-streamed on their Facebook page for those who would like to follow along. The program includes speeches, music, song, Norwegian flags, and a raffle.


How will you be celebrating 17. mai this year?

What I’ve Been Reading Lately (April 2021)

Lately, it turns out I’ve been varying my reads by setting. In March, I visited South Korea, Norway, and the USA through my books. In April, I returned to the USA and also visited the United Kingdom and the Netherlands. I usually read and listen to more than one book at a time so different settings help keep the books’ characters and plots from blending. And with the pandemic still interrupting international travel, it’s a great way to escape to another world.

Where have you traveled lately in your reading?


🇺🇸 🎧 Tightrope: Americans Reaching for Hope by Nicholas D. Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn (Narrated by Jennifer Garner)

This is the book I wish I could have read back in 2017 when I made a pledge to understand our country’s political outcome. But Tightrope wasn’t published until January 2020. At first I wasn’t interested in this book because I thought it just focused on a small group of people in one small, rural area of the U.S., but it actually explores issues and personal stories all over the U.S. It’s an eye-opening book sharing at times shocking and disturbing scenarios about “the other America”. But intertwined are stories of hope about organizations and people making a difference and providing hope. A shoutout to my mother who read it and told me it was a must-read book, and many thanks to my book club for joining me in reading it.


🇬🇧 📖 I Let You Go by Clare Mackintosh

This was my very first Book of the Month pick back in 2016, and I finally read it now. Why did I wait? I really enjoyed it. I stayed up too late reading and was eager to return home from work so I could continue reading. The alternating perspectives and storylines were extremely engaging. The twists were very well done. It’s about Jenna whose life in Bristol, England, turns upside down after a tragic hit-and-run accident. She escapes to a small cottage along the coast in Wales, but she is haunted by the past which makes it difficult to move forward. At the same time, detectives back in England try to get to the bottom of the accident. I highly recommend this psychological thriller. I look forward to reading more by Clare Mackintosh, but don’t know where to continue so feel free to recommend!


🇳🇱 📖 Searching for Sylvie Lee by Jean Kwok

This book intrigued me because it was an immigrant story with a twist. It was about a Chinese immigrant family in America, but the oldest daughter, Sylvie, had been raised in the Netherlands until she was nine years old and then reunited with her parents and younger sister in New York City. When the grandmother in the Netherlands is dying, Sylvie returns to the Netherlands only to disappear without a word. Her sister travels to try to find her. It alternated between the perspectives of the sister and the mother in the present and Sylvie a month before she disappeared. I really enjoyed the setting in the Netherlands and the slow unraveling of the family secrets as the story progressed. Unfortunately, I guessed the biggest secret before it was revealed but I still enjoyed the ride.


What have you been reading lately?

By the way, if you’re interested in snagging some Scandinavian ebooks at great discount, check out my Scandinavian Ebook Deals. Currently, there are several ebooks available for $0.99. Some offers stay around for a long time, others only a short period. If anything looks intriguing, grab it before it’s gone.

Disclaimer: AVikingInLA is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com.

Virtual Nordic Events for May 2021: Norway’s National Day, Syttende Mai 🇳🇴

It was a year ago this month that virtual events started making an impression on me. Norway’s national day was coming up on May 17 with nowhere to celebrate. However, I soon discovered virtual events were being hosted by various organizations which allowed me to celebrate in a new way. I published my How to Celebrate Norway’s Constitution Day, May 17, during Coronavirus Times with a list of virtual events and activity ideas. My favorite event was Norway’s own day-long virtual celebration where they shared footage of traditions and Norwegians all over Norway celebrating interspersed with food, music, and interview segments.

Little did I know there would be virtual events for the 17th of May in 2021 as well, though maybe not as many since this year there is some reopening and 17th of May falls on a Monday instead of a Sunday. Scroll down for a listing of current virtual Syttende mai events. More will added as I learn of them. Once again, Norway’s national television station will be broadcasting a day-long program of festivities from all over Norway. On Monday, May 17, starting at 7:50 a.m. Central European Time, you can watch along. In the meantime, watch highlights from last year’s broadcast here.

In case you missed the news, Denmark’s Another Round directed by Thomas Vinterberg won the Oscar for Best International Feature Film at the 93rd Academy Awards on Sunday, April 26. It’s a comedy about four high school teachers who consume alcohol on a daily basis to see how it affects their social and professional lives. Interestingly, English language remake rights have been sold and the remake may star Leonardo DiCaprio. If you haven’t seen it, you can rent, buy, or stream through Amazon Prime Video, Apple TV+, Hulu, and other services.

What events interest you?


New Nordic Cinema Week 10: Diana’s Wedding (Norway) (Friday, April 30 – Thursday, May 6)

The tenth session of the New Nordic Cinema series features the film Diana’s Wedding (Norway, 2020; dir. Charlotte Blom). On July 29, 1981, Lady Diana Spencer is marrying Prince Charles in the majestic St. Paul’s Cathedral in London. And on that same day, another celebration is taking place in the canteen of a Norwegian small-town factory: the wedding party of Liv and Terje, attended by their newborn daughter Diana. While less glamorous than those of the royal counterpart, the wedding and its following years are indisputably more fun — for all but the young Diana, who sees it as a rollercoaster filled with chaos, inflicted by the worst parents in the world.

The Fairytale World of Elsa Beskow (Premieres Saturday, May 1, 11:00 a.m. ET)

On Walpurgis Day on May 1, join Scandinavia House in New York, NY,  to welcome in the spring with a special celebration of the iconic Swedish author Elsa Beskow! Special guest Ingrid Kullberg-Bendz (Scandinavian American Theater Company) will introduce Beskow’s world of beautiful illustrations and children’s literature, which Swedish children have grown up with for over 100 years, and have since made the author known internationally as the “Beatrix Potter” of Sweden. Ingrid Kullberg-Bendz will introduce her work with examples of illustrations, followed by a virtual art workshop based on Beskow’s literature. The video will premiere at 11:00 a.m. ET on May 1 and be available through Saturday, May 8.

Virtual Book Talk: Meet the Author w/Patrik Svensson (Sunday, May 2, 10:00-11:00 a.m. PST)

Join National Nordic Museum in Seattle, WA, on May 2 for a virtual book talk with Swedish author Patrik Svensson to discuss his book The Book of Eels: Our Enduring Fascination with the Most Mysterious Creature in the Natural World. “Drawing on a breadth of research about eels in literature, history, and modern marine biology, as well as his own experience fishing for eels with his father, Patrik Svensson crafts a mesmerizing portrait of an unusual, utterly misunderstood, and completely captivating animal.” Dr. Elizabeth DeNoma moderates the talk and the session includes an opportunity to ask questions.

Thursday Night Soup: Fish Chowder with Patrice Johnson (Thursday, May 6, 5:30-6:30 p.m. CT)

Join celebrated Nordic cookbook author and food historian Patrice Johnson (AKA the Nordic Food Geek) to make a traditional Nordic-style fish chowder. Fish is an important part of many food traditions around the world and particularly in Scandinavia with its abundance of lakes, rivers, and seacoast. To accompany the course, we will make a loaf of simple rye bread. Patrice will also discuss the differences in fish soup across the region. This Vesterheim cooking class is designed as a small-group cook-along and Vesterheim invites exchange between the instructor and students in order to build community around food traditions. Enrollment Deadline: April 29.

New Nordic Cinema Week 11: Run Uje Run (Sweden) (Friday, May 7 – Thursday, May 13)

The 11th session of the New Nordic Cinema series features the film Run Uje Run (Sweden, 2020; dir. Henrik Schyffert). The autobiographical story of Uje Brandelius, a family father, radio host and keyboard player in his pop band Doktor Kosmos, Run Uje Run stars Uje and his family in their initially harmonious and ordinary suburban life outside Stockholm: where family dinners, homework, negotiation on drop-offs to the kindergarten, and his daughter’s chess and fencing training are their main concerns. But Uje finds himself faced with a life-changing crisis upon learning that he has Parkinson’s disease — which he at first keeps as a secret, while also reflecting on many of the the big questions in life.

Virtual Nordic Table Workshop: Bake Your Own Kardemummabullar with Erin Swenson-Klatt (Friday, May 7, 10:30 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. CT)

This class is sold out, but you may be added to the waitlist. New to baking and want to make a batch of cardamom buns start-to-finish with a (virtual) helper right in your kitchen? Join Erin for this three-part class (10:30 a.m. – 12 p.m., 1-2 p.m. & 3-4 p.m. with breaks for the dough to rise) to make these Swedish classics at home. This is a participatory class and spots are intentionally limited to allow interaction between students and the instructor.

Growing Up in Iceland (Friday, May 7, 7:30-8:30 p.m.)

Join Nordic Northwest virtually and listen to Dr. Líney Árnadóttir share about her lived experience growing up in Iceland. Dr. Líney Árnadóttir is an Associate Professor in Chemical Engineering at Oregon State University. Líney was born in the late seventies and grew up in Reykjavik. Like many children her age she spent summers on a farm in the south of Iceland with her grandparents. Líney got her B.S. in chemistry from the University of Iceland after which Líney moved to Seattle for graduate school and has lived in the Pacifc Northwest since. Líney visits Iceland often to see family, hike and go horseback riding with her father. This is offered as both an online streaming event and in-person program.

Tradition for Inspiration – A Contemporary Interpretation of Traditional Folk Art with Artist Siri Bergløff Berrefjord (Saturday, May 8, 12:00-1:00 p.m. CT)

Join Vesterheim and celebrated artist Siri Bergløff Berrefjord, author and mother of the artform bunadsplast, as she and Vesterheim Collections Manager Jennifer Kovarik discuss her journey of examining and questioning the traditions of Norwegian jewelry and textiles and reimagining them for the modern world. Norwegian cultural heritage has been defined by centuries of tradition and is made visible in the crafting and wearing of bunader and søljer. Today, there is growing interest in applying modern materials and techniques to traditional artforms, combining both the past and the present into new and innovative jewelry and clothing. Enrollment deadline: May 6. Program is free but you must register.

Virtual Nordic Table Demo: How to Make Kardemummabullar with Erin Swenson-Klatt (Saturday, May 8, 1:00-2:30 p.m. CT)

Swedish cinnamon rolls get a lot of press, but even more unique are their cousin – the kardemummabulle, or cardamom roll. These sweet yeasted rolls are flavored exclusively with Sweden’s favorite spice, with the cardamom acting as the main event in the dough, the filling and the glittery sugar topping! This class is designed as a demonstration, so students can watch the entire process and ask questions before tackling the dishes at home at a later date. The recipe packet will be available for download one week in advance and a recording will be shared after class, offering the ability to re-watch as needed.

Virtual Lecture: Among Forests and Lakes Curators’ Talk (Saturday, May 8, 2:00-3:00 p.m. PST)

Join Anu Utriainen, Senior Researcher, and Hanne Selkokari, Curator, from the Ateneum Art Museum, the Finnish National Gallery in Helsinki, for an in-depth look at National Nordic Museum’s new exhibit, Among Forests and Lakes: Landscape Masterpieces from the Finnish National Gallery. Selected scenes cover more than 150 years and 800 miles, with artworks capturing the splendor and grandeur of Finland from the coast and archipelago in the south to Sápmi and the Arctic Ocean in the north.

Online Nordic Book Club: Anxious People by Fredrik Backman (Tuesday, May 11, 6:00 p.m. ET)

The Nordic Book Club at Scandinavia House in New York, NY, selects novels from some of the best Nordic literary voices. On May 11, they’ll be discussing Fredrik Backman’s new book Anxious People.

Sámi-Inspired Sparkle Hoop Earrings (Wednesday, May 12, 6:30-8:00 p.m. CT)

Join Vesterheim and Liz Bucheit to explore a new “twist” on a traditional craft! Using pewter wire thread and a macramé style weave, students will create a pair of hoop earrings with a silver drop and sterling silver French hook ear wires. Finished hoops are approximately 1 inch in diameter and display a soft shimmery sparkle in sunlight and candle light. No previous experience is necessary, but a willingness to use hand tools is required. Kits come with all supplies needed (an $80 value!) with the exception of pliers. This class is also offered on Friday, May 14.

Travel Seminar – Spectacular Mountains, Waterfalls, and Fjords of Norway (Wednesday, May 12, 6:30-8:30 p.m. CT)

Join Magne Hatlevik of Mindekirken Norwegian Language & Culture Program in Minneapolis, MN, for a tour across beautiful landscape as you visit some of Norway’s most important national symbols featured in Eidvoll, Hamar, Lillehammer, Åndalsnes, and Trollstigen. We will also travel through Western Norway’s rugged terrain winding our way from Sunnmøre all the way back to Oslo.

Virtual Poetry Reading and Discussion: Outgoing Vessel and Sense Violence (Thursday, May 13, 2:00 p.m. ET)

On May 13, see a virtual poetry reading and discussion with Nordic poets and translators Helena Boberg, Johannes Göransson, Katrine Øgaard Jensen, and Ursula Andkjær Olsen, moderated by Paul Cunningham (The House of the Tree of Sores). Helena Boberg and Johannes Göransson will present readings of works from Boberg’s new book Sense Violence, now out in English translation by Göransson from Black Ocean, and Ursula Andkjær Olsen and Katrine Øgaard Jensen will present readings from Olsen’s new book Outgoing Vessel, now out in English translation by Jensen from Action Books. Following the readings, they will discuss new topics in Nordic poetry and translation.

Rick Steves – Travel to the Nordic Countries (Thursday, May 13, 7:00-8:15 p.m. PT)

Join Nordic Northwest for lively evening with Rick Steves, widely considered America’s most respected authority on travel to Europe. Steves will highlight travel to the Nordic countries with special sites to visit, travel tips and how to have a fun, affordable and culturally broadening experience. We will also learn from Steves how to discover the Nordic countries through the backdoor. This event will include an extensive Q & A period where you can ask Steves your burning questions.

Nordic Spirit Classics’ Second Friday Series: Viking Archaeology in Saga Iceland (Friday, May 14, 7:30 p.m. PT)

The Scandinavian American Cultural & Historical Foundation in Thousand Oaks, CA, is hosting a monthly series of Second Friday Nordic Spirit Classics, a virtual program of selected presentations from 21 years of Nordic Spirit Symposia. This month join them for Viking Archaeology in Saga Iceland, a fascinating illustrated talk by Professor Jesse Byock, UCLA. Participation is free. Register here to receive link.

Norwegian Strawberry Cream Cake for Syttende Mai with Kristi Bissell (Saturday, May 15, 11:00 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. CT)

This class is sold out, but you can join the waitlist. Join Kristi Bissell of True North Kitchen to make a show-stopping Norwegian celebration cake filled with roasted strawberries and pastry cream and topped with whipped cream and fresh strawberries. Perfect for Syttende Mai or any summer occasion! This Vesterheim cooking class is designed as a small-group cook-along and they invite exchange between the instructor and students in order to build community around food traditions.


🇳🇴 17th of May Celebrations 🇳🇴

NRK’s Gratulerer med dagen! (Monday, May 17, 7:50 a.m. – 3:00 p.m. Central European Time)

Program hosts Nadia Hasnaoui og Christian Strand will be filming from Akershus festning overlooking the Oslo Harbor. In addition to seeing how Norwegians all over Norway celebrate, you will also get a glimpse of how the royal family celebrates. For details on the program, visit Slik blir 17. mai 2021 på NRK.

Norway Day: A Virtual Celebration from New York City & Washington DC (Monday, May 17, 10:00 a.m., 11:00 a.m., and 4:00 p.m. ET)

Norway Day is a collaboration between Sjømannskirken in New York and Norwegian groups and organizations in New York and Washington, D.C. At 10:00 a.m. ET, join the Raising of the Flag ceremony with a speech by the Norwegian Ambassador to the US, Anniken Ramberg Krutnes, and music from Rockville Brass Band. This is followed by a church service from the Norwegian Church in New York at 11:00 a.m. ET (service in Norwegian). Finally, at 4:00 p.m. enjoy a 17th of May concert with musicians from both Norway and USA.

Virtual Kids’ Craft: Collage a Norwegian Flag for Syttende Mai (Monday, May 17, 10:00-11:00 a.m. PST)

Join National Nordic Museum in Seattle, WA, and celebrate Syttende Mai with a Norwegian flag art project! Make a Norwegian collage flag. Cost: Free; RSVP required to receive the link.

Syttende Mai with Vesterheim (Monday, May 17, 12:00 p.m. CT)

Join Vesterheim in Decorah, Iowa, for a free webinar as they celebrate Syttende Mai with friends from Norway and the United States! First Norwegian storyteller Anne Elisebeth Skogen will join the webinar from Ryfylkemuseet at Sand, Norway, to tell the story, Schoolgirl and My Very First May 17th Parade in 1962. Anne Elisebeth grew up in the little town of Egersund, Norway, south of Stavanger. With an education in drama and storytelling, Anne Elisebeth runs her own storytelling business, telling stories for schools, organizations, festivals, and companies. Next, Decorah musicians Beth and Jon Rotto (playing fiddle and rhythm guitar, respectively) will offer Norwegian and Norwegian-American tunes from the Bethania Church in Vesterheim’s Heritage Park.

Syttende Mai Celebration with Seattle (Monday, May 17, 11:30 a.m. – 1:00 p.m. PT)

Join an online gala celebration from Seattle’s historic Ballard neighborhood. It will begin with a pre-program lineup of entertainment and fun from 11:30 a.m. to noon. Then a virtual program from The National Nordic Museum will feature remarks from Grand Marshal Mayor Marte Mjøs Persen from Seattle’s Sister City Bergen; Honorary Marshal Eric Nelson, CEO, National Nordic Museum; and Ambassador Anniken R. Krutnes, Royal Norwegian Embassy; and His Majesty King Harald V of Norway. It will also include memories from past Syttende Mai celebrations and Syttende Mai song sing-alongs.

Syttende Mai Celebration with Minnesota (Monday, May 17, 7:00-8:00 p.m. CT)

Syttende Mai Minnesota will host an online event in honor of Norway’s Constitution Day. Connect with the Norwegian-American community and hear remarks from Her Excellency Ambassador Anniken Krutnes, Norway’s Ambassador to the United States. Afterwards, Ethan Bjelland from Norway House and Mindekirken’s Norwegian Language & Culture Program will lead us in singing a few celebratory songs! This event is complimentary and accessible to everyone. Please register by May 16.


Vesterheim Bokprat (Book Group): The Snowman (Wednesday, May 19, 7:00-8:15 p.m. CT)

Dr. Maren Johnson, Luther College’s Associate Professor of Nordic Studies and Torgerson Center for Nordic Studies Director, facilitates a monthly bokprat discussing Scandinavian authors and Scandinavian life. Join for a conversation about one of Jo Nesbø’s most famous novels, The Snowman, part of the Harry Hole detective series. Harry investigates the disappearance of a young boy’s mother when he comes to discover that women have disappeared on the day of the first snow for the past several years. Enrollment deadline: May 17.

Vesterheim June Family Book Adventure (Register by May 20)

Join Vesterheim for this family-fun reading and outdoor adventure! A kit delivered right to your home contains supplies for book-reading, a fun craft, a snack, and a scavenger-hunt-type adventure. In the spirit of the Norwegian concept of friluftsliv, the scavenger-hunt-type activity will get you up and moving in the great outdoors. For June, you will follow Norwegian author Håkon Øvreås through his fun and moving book, Brown, the first book in the award-winning My Alter Ego Is a Superhero series from Norway. Enrollment deadline: May 20.

Handcraft at Home with Vesterheim: Try Kroting! (Register by May 20)

Kids and parents, learn a simple technique to personalize anything made out of wood! Kroting is a type of decoration that began long ago on the western coast of Norway. The oldest examples are often geometric, but the tradition later evolved to include tulips and vines. In this at-home experience, you’ll be encouraged to be creative and make pictures and designs that are entirely your own! The price of the class includes a special folk-art class kit designed for two participants to explore kroting. Kit includes all of the specialized folk-art materials needed, some images as inspiration from the Vesterheim Collection, and a treat. Enrollment Deadline: May 20.

Norwegian Language + Genealogy with Michael Knudson (Thursday, May 20, 6:30-7:30 p.m.)

Language is a powerful tool that not only allows us to communicate thoughts and events, but that inherently transmits the context and world within which each letter, document, or record was produced. Michael Knudson, Ph.D. candidate in Scandinavian Studies–Philology at the University of Wisconsin–Madison, will walk through the history of Norwegian from the earliest times to the present day and look at ways we as researchers can more fully make sense of the records we read. The session will conclude with an opportunity to ask questions to get guidance on your own genealogy research.

Virtual Folk School Class: Skolt Sámi Mittens with Laura Ricketts (Saturday, May 22, 10:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. PST)

Join this two-part class (also May 29) to knit a pair of Skolt Sámi mittens based on a pair held in the The National Museum of Finland. While Skolt Sámi knitting is normally in white or grey base yarn with red and blue accents, this mitten was knitted in grey, red, yellow, and green. The green shows the influence of the neighboring Inari Sámi peoples, who regularly use green in their traditional garments. The yellow most likely indicates the original mitten was used by a woman. Lastly, the original yarn was spindle spun. This class requires students to provide their own materials.

Nordiska Book Club: For the Love of Cod: A Father and Son’s Search for Norwegian Happiness (Thursday, May 27, 6:00 p.m. PST)

Join Nordiska as they discuss For the Love of Cod by Eric Dregni, a comic travelogue that focuses on the intergenerational relationship between Dregni and his son, Eilif, as they explore the concept of Norwegian happiness asking why this Nordic country consistently rates at the top of the World Happiness Report and how it translates into other contexts. Not only is Norway’s Constitution Day the 17th of May, but also Dregni and his son travel to Norway during the month of May in order to experience the festivals and the beginnings of the midnight sun. Therefore, this Nordic travelogue represents a perfect pick for this month’s book club as it should lend itself well to a discussion on contemporary Norway and the Nordic America connection.

Virtual Nordic Talks: Fine Dining for All: How Chefs Fed Communities during COVID-19 (Saturday, May 29, 12:00-3:00 p.m. PST)

The National Nordic Museum in Seattle, WA,  will host a series of Nordic Talks, sponsored by the Nordic Council of Ministers, focused on the theme of food security and sustainability. The first of the Nordic Talks series, this panel will explore how fine dining pivoted during the COVID-19 pandemic, serving households that are food insecure or adopting new business models. COVID-19 pandemic lockdowns, curfews, quarantines, and stay-at-home orders exacted a heavy toll on fine dining restaurants. However, creative chefs and resilient restauranteurs responded swiftly with innovative solutions to continue serving the public. Among the panelists are Danish Chef Rasmus Munch from The Alchemist in Copenhagen and Finnish Chef Sasu Laukkonen from Ora Restaurant in Helsinki. Cost: Free; RSVP to receive the link.


Ongoing Events

PBS Masterpiece: Atlantic Crossing (Premiered April 4)

The Norwegian eight-part drama series Atlantic Crossing came to PBS Masterpiece on April 4. A princess steals the heart of the president of the United States in an epic drama based on the World War II relationship of Franklin Roosevelt and Norwegian Crown Princess Martha. Kyle MacLachlan (Twin Peaks, Sex and the City) stars as Roosevelt, opposite Swedish star Sofia Helin (The Bridge) as the beautiful Martha, who flees the Nazis with her three young children and lives under Roosevelt’s protection.

Digital Exhibition: Conversations with a Shipwreck (Through June 5)

On March 4, Scandinavia House Online introduced the interactive digital exhibition Conversations with a Shipwreck, a haunting, multimedia meditation on the Swedish warship Vasa, created in word and image by ASF Fellows Joan Wickersham and Adam Davies. Through presentations of poems and large-format photographs, with short durational video and audio, this digital art and literary exhibition responds to the legendary warship — which sank only minutes into her maiden voyage — exploring themes of memory and oblivion, technological triumph and fiasco, permanence and impermanence, mortality and time.


Which May events or experiences look interesting to you?

Be sure to visit previous months’ listings of virtual Nordic events. Many of the events are now available to view as saved recordings.

What I’ve Been Reading Lately (March 2021) & Latest #ScandiReadingChallenge Reads

March was quite the mixed bag in regards to the setting and genre of my books which made for a great month of very interesting and engaging reading. I also made good progress on my 2021 Scandinavian Reading Challenge checking off two more prompts. What have you been reading lately?


The Island of Sea Women by Lisa See
(Narrated by Jennifer Lim)

I love novels that teach me about a real time and place that I know little or nothing about. This book did exactly that, and it had strong female characters to boot. The story takes place on the South Korean island of Jeju starting in the late 1930s. Women were the main providers for their families by diving and harvesting from the sea, while men watched the children and cooked. It follows the close friendship of two women from very different backgrounds as they begin their diving careers. Readers follow their struggles and their resolve during the Japanese colonization of the island, World War II, Korean War, and into modern times. It provides fascinating insight into a unique culture where women are in charge. The language was also beautiful. It was almost like reading a foreign book but yet it was in English. I listened to the book which was a wonderful experience because it helped with Korean names and words which were used often. I highly recommend this, but don’t expect a light and easy read. It’s a moving story, at times heartbreaking, about women during very challenging times.


The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas

This young adult book has been on my TBR list since it was published in 2017. I didn’t want to see the movie because the book is always better. It was worth the wait and didn’t disappoint. Sadly, the book’s topic is still very relevant today. What I thought most interesting about the story was how the main character, Starr, navigated her two identities, her Black self from the poor, gangridden neighborhood where she lived with her family and her private school self in a nice neighborhood away from home. She was careful to watch her language and behavior both places so she wouldn’t stand out. That became hard when she was witness to a police shooting of a childhood friend from her home neighborhood which became headline news. This is a powerful story that inspires empathy and compassion without being preachy.


The Mercies by Kiran Millwood Hargrave

It was the setting of this historical fiction novel that piqued my interest: early 1600s on an island in the extreme northeastern part of Norway. You can practically not get any further north or east in the country. And the story is based on true events that were unfamiliar to me, a storm in 1617 that killed the men of a village and the 1621 witch trials in the same area. It’s a story about women’s resilience and ability to fend for themselves and strong female bonds in the aftermath of the storm and at the arrival of a man sent to set these women straight and rid the community of witchcraft. The setting was intriguing and I love a story with strong female characters.

Scandinavian Reading Challenge 2021: A book originally written in a language other than Norwegian, Swedish, or Danish that takes place in Scandinavia


Jeg vet hvor du bor by Unni Lindell (In Norwegian)

I read this book as part of a virtual Norwegian language and literature class with Mindekirken in Minneapolis, MN. They had already read the first third in the fall, and I joined them for the second third this winter. The return to work and the gradual restarting of sports and school for my boys made it hard for me to continue with the class this spring, so I finished reading it on my own. It is hard to read a crime novel over many months! You forget what turns out to be important details. I really enjoyed being able to read the last third on my own in a matter of days. I didn’t always like the decisions the main investigator made, but overall, the story and plotting were very engaging. It took place in Oslo which is always a bonus for me. Book #2 in the series, Dronen (in Norwegian), is on my TBR list.

Scandinavian Reading Challenge 2021: A buddy read or group read (in real life or virtually) of a Nordic book


What have you been reading lately?

By the way, if you’re interested in snagging some Scandinavian ebooks at great discount, check out my Scandinavian Ebook Deals. Some offers stay around for a long time, others only a short period. If anything looks intriguing, grab it before it’s gone.

Disclaimer: AVikingInLA is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com.