What I’ve Been Reading Lately (October 2022) & #ScandiReadingChallenge Update

I love it when my reading selections bring me all over the place, and that was certainly the case this past month. I’ve been in San Francisco in the 1950s and on a cross country road trip in the 1930s. I was in Norway in the 1990s and 2010s and in South Korea at about the same time. I continue to join Modern Mrs Darcy’s Quick Lit where we share short and sweet reviews of what we’ve been reading lately.

2022 Scandinavian Reading Challenge Update

After having to pivot for September’s 1990s prompt, I am a bit behind on my Scandinavian Reading Challenge. When my initial pick didn’t work out, I read Anne Holt’s Blind Goddess instead. She’s a prolific Norwegian crime author who’s been on my TBR list for a long time. For October’s 2000s prompt, I just started reading Tante Ulrikkes vei by Zeshan Shakar. It’s a Norwegian novel about second generation immigrants in Oslo. It will take a little longer than usual to read this because it’s not just in standard Norwegian but it also contains “kebabnorsk”, a spoken dialect mixing Norwegian with foreign words, mainly Arabic and other Middle Eastern languages. (But I did sneak in a book set in the 2010s in Oslo this month so I should be up to speed for December!)

For details on the reading challenge and insight into past, current, and next decades, along with a few reading ideas, visit 2022 Scandinavian Reading Challenge.

What have you been reading lately?


Last Night at the Telegraph Club by Malinda Lo 🎧
(Narrated by Emily Woo Zeller)

This book had all the things that I love about a reading experience. It was historical fiction about a time, place, and history I’m not too familiar with (1950s San Francisco, Chinese American culture, Red Scare, queer community) and it had characters I admired and became very invested in. It was a story of an unlikely friendship, in this case a Chinese American teenager and a white American teenager. It was a story about girls with big dreams, one wanting to pursue a career in space science and the other wanting to be a pilot. Specifically, it was the story of Lily and Kath whose friendship slowly grows into something neither of them completely understands, and all of it was extremely compellingly written and narrated. A 5-star read!

Malinda Lo’s latest release, A Scatter of Light, is already on my TBR list since “almost 60 years after the end of Last Night at the Telegraph Club, A Scatter of Light also offers a glimpse into Lily and Kath’s lives since 1955.” (book description)


West with Giraffes by Lynda Rutledge 🎧
(Narrated by Danny Campbell)

I wasn’t sure about this book when it was suggested for book club and I wasn’t enamored by it to begin with when I started listening. However, when their journey across the country finally began, I was all in and went for longer walks and didn’t mind long, slow drives. I loved the characters, both human and animal, and their road trip was full of adventure meeting all sorts of people along the way, both good and bad. Based on the real story of San Diego Zoo’s first giraffes who survived a hurricane and then traveled by truck from the East Coast in 1938, it’s a fabulous story of a road trip, unexpected friendships both with other humans and with animals, and first love. It’s at times humorous, moving, captivating, and even upsetting. Set against the background of the Dust Bowl and the advent of World War II, it also provides a glimpse at life in this time period. Highly recommend!


Blind Goddess (Hanne Wilhelmsen #1) by Anne Holt 📖
(Translated from the Norwegian by Tom Geddes)

Anne Holt is a prolific Norwegian crime author who’s been on my TBR list for a long time. I started with her debut novel, the first in the Hanne Wilhelmsen series (published in Norway in 1993), which was about drug trafficking and corruption. What’s unique about this series is that it features a lesbian protagonist. I liked the Oslo setting and the police investigator Hanne. However, I was not a fan of the writing style in which mystery and suspense were infused by referring to characters in the third person instead of by name. There were also too many characters to keep track of which made it confusing at times.

I have not given up on Anne Holt, though. I already have her latest publication, Det ellevte manus (The Eleventh Script, published in Norway in 2021) on my shelf and I have my eye on both her Vik and Stubo series and newest Selma Falck series.


Blood Ties (Clara #2) by Ruth Lillegraven 🎧📖
(Translated from the Norwegian by Diane Oatley)
(Narrated by M. Crouch, A. Eiden, S. Nielsen, M. Naramore, S. Graybill, S. Nankani, C. Ciulla)

I read the first in this series, Alt er mitt, in Norwegian two years ago before it was available in English (it’s now available in translation, Everything Is Mine, by Diane Oatley). I was enthralled at the time of reading, but I ended up being extremely disappointed in the ending which affected my whole outlook on the book. Then, when listening to an Instagram interview with the author, I learned of the planned trilogy and immediately changed my opinion of the book (Reading Lately: August 2020) and was eager to read the next one when it came out. Thank you to Netgalley and Amazon Crossing for providing an advance copy of the second book in the series.

Blood Ties was another pageturner and didn’t disappoint. It continues the story of Clara, now a single mother to twins about 8 years old, who has just been appointed Minister of Justice but doesn’t have much time to accomplish anything before her boys disappear. I had to suspend disbelief for a couple of things (lack of surveillance/supervision on the boys and a character’s lapse in judgment), but it still worked for me. The story is written from different perspectives, including one of her boys, which provided interesting insight into the plot. I had both the audiobook going for drives and walks (great ensemble narration) and the ebook for bedtime reading. I’m looking forward to the final installment because there are definitely elements that need wrapping up. (See Ruth Lillegraven talk (in English) about the first two books.)


Winter in Sokcho by Elisa Shua Dusapin 📖
(Translated from the French by Aneesa Higgins)

This debut novel by a French Korean author was left over from my TBR list for Women in Translation Month in August. The story takes place in a seaside summer resort town in South Korea near the North Korean border during winter time. The unnamed narrator, a 24-year old Sokcho-born French Korean woman, works as a receptionist (as well as cook and cleaner) in a worn down guesthouse. One evening, a French cartoonist checks in for an extended visit with the hope of completing the last volume of his series. They form a tenuous, uneasy friendship as the narrator shows him authentic Korea, including the DMZ. I enjoyed the book; it’s a subtle and spare novel. What I appreciated the most was getting a glimpse of a part of the world very unfamiliar to me. The Pachinko Parlor, her next novel, was recently published in English and is already on TBR list.


What have you been reading lately?

By the way, if you’re interested in purchasing some Scandinavian ebooks at a great discount, visit 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.

November 2022 Nordic Events: Virtual & Los Angeles Area

I hope your fall season is off to a wonderful start. Believe it or not, the holiday season is around the corner which you will see in the following list of Nordic events. The events in my monthly postings are no longer exclusively virtual. Readers will now also find a selection of in-person events primarily in the Los Angeles area that may be of interest.

Online Nordic book clubs continue to be popular. Visit my page Online Nordic Book Club Meetings to see reading selections and meeting dates for November and upcoming months.


Los Angeles Area In-Person Events

The Norwegian Church’s annual Julebasar (Christmas Bazaar) will take place Friday, November 11, through Sunday, November 20, in San Pedro. The church will be transformed into a Christmas wonderland. There will be Christmas gifts for young and old, a bakery with Norwegian Christmas baked goods, and a café with delicious food. There will also be a raffle with great prizes. They guarantee a true Christmas atmosphere and a great experience! (The Christmas bazaar’s opening hours are 11:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., except on Sundays, when the shop and cafe will open after the service has finished, approximately at 12:00 p.m.)

SWEA Orange County’s annual Swedish Christmas Fair will take place on Sunday, November 20, in Huntington Beach. It is a traditional Christmas Fair with Lucia Pageants (12:30 p.m. and 3:00 p.m.), Swedish food and baked goods, glögg bar, handicrafts, kids activities, Santa, and much more. They offer a choice of attending one of two sessions, a mid-morning one (10:30 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.) or an afternoon one (1:30 p.m. – 4:00 p.m.).

Mark you calendars for the Scandinavian Film Festival LA with BalticFilmExpo@SFFLA which returns in person this winter season. After two virtual years, the festival will be back at the Writers Guild Theater in Beverly Hills for two weekends in January 2023 (14th & 15th and 21st & 22nd) with films from Scandinavia and their Nordic neighbors. Stay tuned for information about the program of Nordic and Baltic films. In the meantime, consider becoming a donor to help make it all possible.

The Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA) is currently hosting an exhibition, Scandinavian Design and the United States, 1890–1980, co-organized by the LACMA and the Milwaukee Art Museum in collaboration with the Nationalmuseum Sweden and the Nasjonalmuseet in Norway. It is the first exhibition to examine the extensive design exchanges between the United States and the Nordic countries (Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, and Sweden) during the 20th century. It will be open through February 5, 2023.


Virtual Events

NY Baltic Film Festival (November 2-13)

The three Baltic states of Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania have been producing motion pictures since 1910. While not as well-known as those in Scandinavia and other parts of Europe, their industries have met challenges in one era or another that ultimately only galvanized their creative ambitions for features, documentaries, and animation shorts. Through the screening of both the latest productions and selected classics, the New York Baltic Film Festival offers New Yorkers and audiences across the U.S. an unprecedented opportunity to enjoy the best in Northern European filmmaking and see the world through Baltic eyes. See the 2022 Festival Line-Up.

Meet the Author: Ryan Thomas Skinner, Afro-Sweden (Sunday, Nov. 6, 1:00 p.m. PT, Free)

Join National Nordic Museum in Seattle, WA, for  virtual conversation between author Ryan Thomas Skinner and Dr. Ethelene Whitmire (Professor and Department Chair of Afro-American Studies at the University of Wisconsin, Madison) as they discuss his book, Afro-Sweden: Becoming Black in a Color-Blind Country. Contemporary Sweden is a country with a worldwide progressive reputation, despite an undeniable tradition of racism within its borders. In the face of this contradiction of culture and history, Afro-Swedes have emerged as a vibrant demographic presence, from generations of diasporic movement, migration, and homemaking. In Afro-Sweden, Ryan Thomas Skinner uses oral histories, archival research, ethnography, and textual analysis to explore the history and culture of this diverse and growing Afro-European community.

Gift Guide Auction by The Norwegian American (November 10-20)

This year, why not beat the holiday rush and take some of the stress out of the Christmas season by shopping online with The Norwegian American? For the first time, they are offering the opportunity to purchase a selection of items in their Holiday Gift Guide Auction. Working with select vendors, they have tried to find something for everyone on your list: decorations, toys, books, clothing, treats, and more! For a preview of the auction, visit their website. Bidding will start on November 10 and end on November 20. All proceeds go to The Norwegian American.

Vesterheim Registration for Winter Session Opens (Thursday, Nov. 10)

Vesterheim Folk Art School registration for the winter session (January through March 2023) opens on Thursday, November 10, at 12:00 p.m. CT with many online classes in rosemaling, woodworking, metalworking, jewelry, cooking, fiber arts, weaving, and heritage and language, plus youth and family programming. View the class schedule. Classes sell out so don’t delay if interested.

Introduction to Finnish (Sunday, Nov. 13, 12:45 p.m. CT)

Are you curious about the Finnish 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 Finland? This two-hour introductory workshop taught by Joona Sundström 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.

Typical American/Typiskt svenskt Discussion (Tuesday, Nov. 15, 5:30 p.m. CT)

Enjoy a fun, open discussion about Sweden and the United States with instructor Gunn Edberg-Caldwell. What do we assume or generalize about each other’s countries? Let’s compare and find out how different yet alike we are. This class is also offered on November 17th.

Swedish Holidays Throughout the Year (Tuesday, Nov. 15, 5:30-7:00 p.m. CT)

Celebrate not just the jul season but the entire Swedish calendar year as you learn about all the traditional Swedish holidays in one evening! This class, taught by instructor Gregg White, will provide students with an overview of Swedish holidays with a specific focus on how they have historically been celebrated throughout time.

Typical American/Typiskt svenskt Discussion (Thursday, Nov. 17, 10:00 a.m. CT)

Enjoy a fun, open discussion about Sweden and the United States with instructor Gunn Edberg-Caldwell. What do we assume or generalize about each other’s countries? Let’s compare and find out how different yet alike we are. This class is also offered on November 15th.

ASI Demo: Host a Glögg Party with Kristi Bissell (Thursday, Nov. 17, 1:00 p.m. CT)

Celebrate the season Swedish-style with a glöggmingle or Mulled Wine Party! Kristi Bissell of True North Kitchen will share some of her favorite seasonal recipes, including her take on Swedish mulled wine or glögg, a trio of mini open-faced sandwiches, and a Pear Cardamom Cake. Whether you are inspired to host a feast or just incorporate these recipes into other seasonal meals, you’ll be set with great options for savory and sweet nibbles throughout the holidays. This live virtual class taught over Zoom includes access to the class recording for one month after the class; registrants may attend live or plan to watch the recording at their convenience during that time.

Introduction to Swedish (Saturday, Nov. 19, 10:00 a.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 introductory workshop taught by Jean Hanslin 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.

Viking Era Clothing and Jewelry (Saturday, Nov. 19, 1:00-2:00 p.m. CT, Free)

Join historian and artist Steph Anderson for an hour-long exploration of Viking era clothing and jewelry. From tunics and cloaks to arm rings, necklaces, and brooches, Vikings dressed according to sex, age, and economic status. This webinar will shed light on the traditions of people from more than 1,000 years ago! This program is free of charge. Registration is required.

Introduction to North Sámi (Sunday, Nov. 20, 2:00 p.m. CT)

Are you curious about the Sámi language and culture? Are you looking for a quick and low-pressure way to get excited and prepare for an upcoming visit to the north of Finland, Sweden, or Norway? This two-hour introductory workshop taught by Áila O’Loughlin is the perfect way to learn some history of the nine living dialects of Sápmi, get a feel for North Sámi, pick up a bit of grammar and learn how to pronounce some words as part of basic greetings. Families welcome!

Virtual Nordic Language Café with The Scandinavian School in San Francisco (Sunday, Nov. 20, 5:00-7:00 p.m. PT)

Get ready to practice your Danish, Finnish, Norwegian or Swedish! This is a perfect opportunity for you to practice your speaking and listening skills and meet other people who share your passion for all things Nordic. Are you a beginner? No worries! All levels are welcome. The Cafés are very relaxed and friendly, and if you feel more comfortable listening rather than speaking there is a spot for you in the Café too. Participants will be divided up into different breakout rooms in their chosen Nordic language. You don’t have to be a student at The Scandinavian School & Cultural Center to join.

The Reindeer Hunters—Virtual Book Talk with Lars Mytting and Maren Johnson (Tuesday, Nov. 22, 2:30 p.m. ET, Free)

Join Scandinavia House for the book launch of bestselling Norwegian author Lars Mytting’s The Reindeer Hunters out November 22 in translation by Deborah Dawkin from The Overlook Press. With moderator Maren Johnson, Associate Professor of Nordic Studies at Luther College (Decorah, IA), he’ll discuss the international bestseller and gripping historical novel set in the world of his novel The Bell in the Lake. Conceived on an epic scale, The Reindeer Hunters is a novel about love and bitter rivalries, sorrow and courage, and a world with a mythic and mystical undercurrent battling the pull of the future. This event will take place as a Zoom webinar. Registration is required at the link above.

Plan Ahead

Scandinavian Fest: Virtual Holiday Market (Friday, Dec. 2, and Saturday, Dec. 3)

Scandinavian Fest: Virtual Holiday Market returns Friday, December 2, and Saturday, December 3, on Facebook. Scandinavian Fest brings Nordic shops and businesses from around the globe together in one online location. Join the Virtual Holiday Market to discover unique Nordic products, take advantage of discounts, and win giveaways. To participate, mark that you are “Going” or “Interested” in the event and then follow the Discussion tab on the event page for products, discounts and giveaways. For more information, visit their website.

ASI Demo: Saffron Buns with Kristi Bissell (Thursday, Dec. 8, 1:00 p.m. CT)

Get ready for Luciadagen (St. Lucia Day) on December 13 by watching how Kristi Bissell of True North Kitchen completes all the hands-on steps for a batch of Swedish saffron buns (also known as lussekatter or lussebullar) in just an hour. Kristi will use multiple batches of dough to demonstrate how to mix and knead this special saffron yeasted dough, shape a pre-risen batch of dough into the typical lussekatter shapes, and bake the buns until golden. Students will leave with the recipe and lots of tips, inspired to bake their own batch of buns at home!

ASI Virtual Lucia Celebration Concert (Sunday, Dec. 11, 2:00-3:00 p.m. CT)

This magical concert set in American Swedish Institute’s Larson Hall brings light to the dark winter through a performance of classic and traditional Swedish- and English-language songs sung by the ASI Lucia Choir and ASI Lilla Lag. This is an in-person event in Minneapolis with tickets for live-streaming available.

Vesterheim TVprat: Hjem til Jul, Season 1 (Wednesday, Dec. 14, 7:00-8:15 p.m. CT, Free)

In a twist on Vesterheim’s monthly bokprat discussions, join Dr. Maren Anderson Johnson in December for a discussion of the Norwegian television series Hjem til Jul (Home for Christmas), available on Netflix. This rom-com follows Johanne as she scrambles to find a boyfriend to bring home for Christmas, making dubious decisions along the way. This program is free of charge. Registration is required.


Which 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 (September 2022)

September introduced a new reading challenge to me, #sakprosaseptember, a nonfiction reading challenge (“sakprosa” means nonfiction in Norwegian) hosted by Norwegian bookstagrammer readygoread. I finally read a book she has long recommended, Invisible Women, and checked off two which have been on my TBR list for a while, Fearless Females and We Should All Be Feminists. I don’t read a lot of nonfiction, but on the rare occasions that I do, I usually end up really enjoying it, and this was no exception. And then I wonder why I don’t read more of it. Good thing #NonfictionNovember is around the corner!

2022 Scandinavian Reading Challenge Update

For September’s 1990s prompt, I initially chose Gunnhild Øyehaug’s Present Tense Machine: A Novel translated by Kari Dickson. After reading Gunnar Staalesen’s Fallen Angels for the 1980s, which took place in Bergen, I thought it would be interesting to stay in Bergen for the 1990s. Unfortunately, I had to lay Present Tense Machine aside for the time being. The premise was intriguing and I was open to reading a non-traditional novel, but the writing style (long sentences, stream of consciousness) with the narrator occasionally speaking directly to the reader was not for me. I really enjoyed the author’s eclectic short story collection Knots: Stories a few years ago (Reading Lately, June 2018) so I have not given up on her, but I need to be in a different headspace for this one. Instead I am reading the crime fiction novel Blind Goddess (Hanne Wilhelmsen #1) by Anne Holt translated by Tom Geddes for the 1990s. My pick for October’s 2000s prompt is undetermined at the moment.

For details on the reading challenge and insight into the past, current, and next decades, along with a few reading ideas, visit 2022 Scandinavian Reading Challenge.

What have you been reading lately?


Invisible Women: Data Bias in a World Designed for Men by Caroline Criado Pérez
(Narrated by Caroline Criado Pérez)

I listened to this book read by the author herself which was a wonderful listening experience. The book was an eye-opening, thought-provoking, sometimes shocking, and oftentimes infuriating exploration of how women, their bodies, and their experiences have not been considered in planning, design, and decision-making around the world due to the fact that data fails to take gender into account. This book should be recommended reading for all and required reading in data science and statistics classes. I am seeing the world in a whole new way.

 


Fearless Females: The Fight for Freedom, Equality, and Sisterhood by Marta Breen, Illustrated by Jenny Jordahl

This graphic novel, written and illustrated by a Norwegian duo, presents an international history of women who have fought for the rights of women. There were many familiar names and events, but also some less well known ones. The contemporary, ongoing battles of female bodily integrity, with topics of contraception and abortion, as well as same sex relationships and gay marriage are also included. The text is accompanied by bold, monochromatic illustrations. It was a quick, entertaining, and educational read. In particular, I appreciated the occasional use of direct quotes from women’s papers and speeches, and I loved the sudden use of rainbow colors in the “Love Is Love” panels. It’s a great little intro to the history of American and European feminism, though I do not recommend it for young readers due to some of the mature content related to women’s bodies and violence towards women.


We Should All Be Feminists by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

Way back in 2017 I vowed to read this book as part of my resolution to “make a conscious effort to read books outside my normal tendency and comfort zone – more books by diverse authors and about issues or experiences new or unfamiliar to me” (My First Presidential Election as a U.S. Citizen & How I’m Moving Forward). I have certainly done that in general, but I never got around to reading that book in particular. It’s actually a short and relatable essay. I like Adichie’s voice and tone. I used to feel feminism was a somewhat extreme belief, not for me, but instead only for extreme, activist women. But over time, I’ve come to realize that it’s actually something we should all believe in. As Adichie writes herself, “a feminist is a man or woman who says, yes, there’s a problem with gender as it is today and we must fix it, we must do better. All of us, women and men, must do better.”


Fallen Angels (Varg Veum Series) by Gunnar Staalesen
(Translated from the Norwegian by Don Bartlett)

This was a great pick for the 1980s decade in the Scandinavian Reading Challenge. The protagonist, private investigator Varg Veum, is all over Bergen, Norway, while working the case, and the author’s descriptions of the city and its surroundings (fjords and mountains) are very vivid. It all starts with the funeral of an old classmate of Varg’s at which he is reunited with other friends and this takes him down memory lane, especially when he’s asked to track down a friend’s wife who happened to be an old crush of Varg’s. There is a murder mystery involved, actually a series of murders, but be warned that the resolution of this mystery is quite unsettling.


What have you been reading lately?

If you’re interested in purchasing some Scandinavian ebooks at a great discount, visit 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.

October 2022: Virtual Nordic Events Plus Art, Music, & Film in SoCal

Happy fall! The offerings for virtual Nordic events continue with presentations, cooking classes, book talks, and book clubs. If you’re a reader interested in seeing what online Nordic book clubs around the country are reading, visit my page Online Nordic Book Club Meetings to see reading selections and meeting dates. In addition to the virtual offerings, this month also offers some exciting in-person art, music, and film events in Southern California.

2022 Nordic Council Literature Prize Nominees

A special virtual event happening this month is Scandinavia House’s literary series with nominees for the 2022 Nordic Council Literature Prize. This prize has been awarded annually since 1962 to a work of fiction (poetry, prose, or drama) written in one of the Nordic languages. This year’s nominees span the entire Nordic region with works from all countries and language areas. The winner will be announced on 1 November in Helsinki, Finland.

In-Person Experiences

Are you local to the Los Angeles area? The Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA) presents a new exhibition, Scandinavian Design and the United States, 1890–1980, co-organized by the LACMA and the Milwaukee Art Museum in collaboration with the Nationalmuseum Sweden and the Nasjonalmuseet in Norway. It is the first exhibition to examine the extensive design exchanges between the United States and the Nordic countries (Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, and Sweden) during the 20th century. It will be open October 9, 2022 through February 5, 2023.

Two Norwegian musical performances will be in the area next month. First Norwegian pop star Sigrid will be in California as part of her “How To Let Go” tour. She’ll be performing with guest Ber first in San Francisco at Bimbo’s 365 Club on October 11, followed by October 12 in Los Angeles at The Novo, and then October 13 in San Diego at Music Box. Wardruna, a Norwegian “music constellation dedicated to creating musical renditions of ancient Norse and Nordic traditions” will be in California November 1 through 4 with concerts in Oakland (Nov. 1), El Cajon (Nov. 2), and Los Angeles (Nov. 4).

   

Another special event happening this month is the Newport Beach Film Fest at which both a Norwegian film and a Swedish film are being screened on Tuesday, October 18. Either watch the Norwegian film Long Flat Balls III: Broken Promises directed by Harald Zwart (followed by Q&A with cast and crew) or the Swedish film Tisdagsklubben (Food and Romance) directed by Annika Appelin, and then if you’d like, attend the Newport Beach Film Festival’s European Showcase Celebration honoring the best in European filmmaking.

What’s on your calendar for October?


The Way Further West (Sunday, October 2, 1:00-2:15 p.m. CT)

Join Vesterheim and the Slooper Society of America for this free 75-minute webinar, open to the public. Norwegian storyteller Anne Elisebeth Skogen will join the webinar from Ryfylkemuseet at Sand, Norway, to tell the story The Way Further the West. This story is the sequel to the program With Restauration through Hell Gate to the Promised Land, which Anne Elisebeth presented online with Vesterheim in October 2020. The first part of the story told about the initial Norwegian emigrant entourage that left Stavanger, Norway, on July 4, 1825. During The Way Further West, you will hear about what awaited the immigrants in Kendall, New York, and how their lives turned out there. Then you will follow them in new upheavals and their travels further west. Where did they settle and what happened to them? Storyteller Anne Elisebeth Skogen has followed in the footsteps of several of the Sloopers herself, and she looks forward to sharing their story with you.

The Nordic Council Literature Prize Nominees: Finland (Tuesday, October 4, 1:00 p.m. ET, Free)

One of this year’s Nordic Council Literature Prize nominees from Finland is Kaj Korkea-aho’s Röda rummet (Red Room, 2021). Korkea-aho, a Finnish-Swedish author, columnist, and comedian, will discuss his novel with critic and essayist Sara Abdollahi. This event will take place as a Zoom webinar. You may ask questions in the chat or send them in advance to info@amscan.org. Registration is required; please sign up at the link above. This conversation will be recorded and available later to stream on their Virtual Programming page and on their YouTube channel.

Vesterheim Benefit Auction (October 8, 12:00 p.m. CT – October 16, 9:00 p.m. CT)

Items are available to view now at www.biddingforgood.com/vest-auction. Each year this auction is full of one-of-a-kind folk art by artists working in the Norwegian tradition. Many of the pieces in the Benefit Auction are donated by Vesterheim Gold Medalists and exhibition ribbon winners from Vesterheim’s annual judged competition, The National Norwegian-American Folk Art Exhibition. Proceeds from the auction benefit Vesterheim’s Folk Art School, which has provided classes since 1967 in fiber arts, woodworking, painting, cooking, jewelry, blacksmithing, knifemaking, and more.

Pears in the Nordic Kitchen (Saturday, October 8, 3:00-5:00 p.m. CT)

Join Vesterheim and Kristi Bissell of True North Kitchen for a delicious afternoon of cooking and baking with pears. Begin by making a fragrant Roasted Pear Compote with Cardamom, Vanilla, and Fresh Ginger, and then Kristi will show you how to turn that compote into a savory appetizer with blue cheese and hazelnuts and a show stopping pear bundt cake.

New Nordic Grain Bowl (Sunday, October 9, 4:00-5:30 p.m. CT)

Join Vesterheim and instructor Hannah Garry in making a delicious grain bowl featuring traditional Nordic ingredients like barley, dill, and beets that makes for the perfect dinner party offering or lunch on the go. Use fresh vegetables that are in season in your region to top the bowl. Each participant’s meal will be a beautiful reflection of their own local food web. Class participants will also learn to make a creamy, vegan, herb-packed dressing that can be used on just about anything, as well as a Nordic-inspired apple cocktail (or mocktail) perfect for early fall.

The Nordic Council Literature Prize Nominees: Faroe Islands (Tuesday, October 11, 1:00 p.m. ET, Free)

One of this year’s Nordic Council Literature Prize nominees is Faroe Islands’ Beinir Bergsson’s poetry collection Sólgarðurin (Forlagið Eksil, 2021). In this talk, Bergsson will discuss the collection with translator Randi Ward, a 2021 ASF Translation Prizewinner. This event will take place as a Zoom webinar. You may ask questions in the chat or send them in advance to info@amscan.org. Registration is required; please sign up at the link above. This conversation will be recorded and available later to stream on their Virtual Programming page and on their YouTube channel.

Nordic Spirit Classics’ Second Friday Series—Margi Preus & West of the Moon and Other Places You Can’t Get Get to with GPS (Friday, October 14, 7:30 p.m. PT)

Join the Scandinavian American Cultural & Historical Foundation in Thousand Oaks, CA, for a live virtual presentation by children’s author Margi Preus from Duluth, Minnesota. An old family diary, true immigrant stories, and Scandinavian folk and fairy tales combine to tell the story of West of the Moon, a “mesmerizing tale of Astri’s treacherous and harrowing mid-19th century emigration to America.” (Booklist, starred review). Preus’s research into Norwegian immigration led her to startling revelations about the role of women healers, the relationship between a common 19th century childhood ailment and the belief in changelings, and the reverence and fear our Norwegian ancestors had for The Black Book, “whose pages teach how to recover lost goods, find buried treasure, turn back the attacks of snakes and dogs, and more.” Preus will discuss how she combined history, fiction, and folklore in this novel and may give a sneak preview of her brand new book Windswept, also inspired by Norwegian fairy tales and populated by trolls. Participation is free; registration is required.

Meet the Author: Nancy Marie Brown, Looking for the Hidden Folk (Sunday, October 16, 1:00-2:00 p.m. PST)

Join author Nancy Marie Brown in virtual conversation with filmmaker Sara Dosa, as she discusses her book, Looking for the Hidden Folk: How Iceland’s Elves Can Save the Earth. In exploring how Icelanders interact with nature—and their idea that elves live among us—Brown shows us how altering our perceptions of the environment can be a crucial first step toward saving it.

The Nordic Council Literature Prize Nominees: Iceland (Tuesday, October 18, 1:00 p.m. ET, Free)

One of this year’s Nordic Council Literature Prize nominees from Iceland is Elísabet Jökulsdóttir’s Aprílsólarkuldi. She will discuss her novel with translator Larissa Kyzer. This event will take place as a Zoom webinar. You may ask questions in the chat or send them in advance to info@amscan.org. Registration is required; please sign up at the link above. This conversation will be recorded and available later to stream on their Virtual Programming page and on their YouTube channel.

Cooking Class: Swedish Meatballs (Tuesday, October 18, 4:00-5:00 p.m. CT)

Join Swedish American Museum in Chicago, IL, for a cooking class to learn how to make variations to the Swedish meatball. What other Swedish dishes can be prepared with similar ingredients? You will receive the recipe in advance. You can then either cook alongside or watch and try later. It is an interactive Zoom so you will be able to ask questions.

The Nordic Council Literature Prize Nominees: Sámi Language (Thursday, October 20, 1:00 p.m. ET, Free)

One of this year’s Nordic Council Literature Prize nominees is Sámi language areas’ Mary Ailonieida Sombán Mari’s poetry collection Beaivváš mánát (Mondo Books, 2020). It draws readers into the Sámi experience of abuse of power, racism, and contempt on the part of public authorities. Written in two languages — Norwegian in the first part and Northern Sámi in the second — the collection empowers Sámi readers while offering insight to non-Sámi readers through its portrayal of moments in time. The author will discuss the collection with moderator Lisa Monica Aslaksen. This event will take place as a Zoom webinar. You may ask questions in the chat or send them in advance to info@amscan.org. Registration is required; please sign up at the link above. This conversation will be recorded and available later to stream on their Virtual Programming page and on their YouTube channel.

Demo: Fall Fika Favorites with Kristi Bissell (Thursday, October 20, 1:00 p.m. CT)

Apples, squash, and warm spices—what more do you need for fabulous fall treats? Join American Swedish Institute and Kristi Bissell of True North Kitchen for three delicious fall fika favorites to add to your baking repertoire. Kristi will demonstrate her takes on the Swedish apple cake, a sweet and quick Pumpkin Rye Bread with Cinnamon Sugar topping, and her grandmother’s pepparkakor (ginger snaps) recipe. This class is designed as a demonstration, so students can watch the entire process and ask questions before tackling the recipes at home at a later date. The recipe packet will be shared via email and available for download one week in advance.

Looking Across the Atlantic: Swedish-American Relations in the 20th Century (Thursday, October 20, 6:00 p.m. ET, Free)

Join the House of Sweden in Washington, DC, for a panel on Swedish-American relations and how ideas, conceptions and images travel between the two countries. Even though Sweden and the United States are separated by an entire ocean, the two nations have a close and longstanding relationship. Cultural, social, political and economic links bind the two countries together across the Atlantic. Dag Blanck, Director of the Swenson Center in Illinois, and Professor of North American Studies at Uppsala University, Sweden, will present in-person at the House of Sweden, but the event will be live-streamed on YouTube as well.

Workshop: Filmkväll – Ronja, the Robber’s Daughter (Thursday, October 20, 5:00-7:00 p.m. CT)

Join American Swedish Institute and Patrice Johnson for this one-of-a-kind Nordic Table class: cook a thematic menu in your own kitchen with Patrice’s guidance, then settle in for a filmkväll (movie night) at home with the classic 1984 Ronja Rovardotter. Patrice will pull inspiration from Ronja’s life in the castle and woods to build a menu that can be assembled over the two-hour class, before everyone settles in for the film at home over dinner.


Which 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 (August 2022) & #WITmonth Wrap-Up

I continue to join Modern Mrs Darcy’s Quick Lit where we share short and sweet reviews of what we’ve been reading lately.

For me, August was all about reading women in translation for Women in Translation Month. As I’ve written before, I usually focus on female authors outside of Scandinavia for this reading event, but this year I actually focused on Norwegian female authors since I had read so few of them so far this year. Of the two novels I read, one was a recently released debut novel and the other by a favorite author. Both were 5-star reads. Both were also longer books, so I wasn’t able to read as many as I would have liked to.

2022 Scandinavian Reading Challenge Update:

Neither of the novels I read for #WITmonth worked for August’s decade for the reading challenge, the 1980s. I was unable to find one by a Norwegian female author so I started reading Gunnar Staalesen’s Fallen Angels translated by Don Bartlett, a crime novel that takes place in Bergen in the 1980s. For September’s 1990s prompt, I plan to remain in Bergen with Gunnhild Øyehaug’s Present Tense Machine: A Novel translated by Kari Dickson. For details on the reading challenge and insight into the past, current, and next decades, along with a few reading ideas, visit 2022 Scandinavian Reading Challenge.

What have you been reading lately?


Agnes’s Place by Marit Larsen, Illustrated by Jenny Løvlie 📖
(Translated from the Norwegian by Kari Dickson)

I’m always curious about Norwegian children’s books that are translated into English. What aspects of Norwegian culture are present, if any? There’s nothing particularly Norwegian about this one besides a mention and illustration of heart waffles as a snack. However, noticeable is that the little girl is not your stereotypical white, blonde Norwegian, but instead she has darker skin and black hair. Diverse characters are also featured in the apartment building’s residents. It’s a very sweet book about a 5-year old girl who yearns to connect with a new girl who moves into her apartment building. The illustrations are lovely with lots of detail. This would make a great read-aloud with a young child — so much to observe in the illustrations and to discuss regarding Agnes’ feelings. (Currently available for free via kindle unlimited.)


Reptile Memoirs: A Novel by Silje Ulstein 🎧
(Translated from the Norwegian by Alison McCullough)
(Narrated by Julie Maisey)

I really enjoyed this one — the characters, the storylines, the structure, the settings, the writing/translation, the twists. It all came together for a great ride. But it’s certainly not for everyone. Not only do you have to keep track of different settings and multiple perspectives (including the snake’s!), but also trigger warnings abound. It’s a thriller that takes place in western Norway – Ålesund in the early 2000s and Kristiansund over 6 days in 2017. In Ålesund, Liv and her housemates spontaneously decide to buy a python and Liv becomes obsessed with it. In Kristiansund, Mariam’s 11-year-old daughter disappears and detectives immediately suspect Mariam. Over time, the two plot lines intersect. As the book jacket says and I can’t say it any better, it is “a brilliantly twisty and unusual literary thriller.” I highly recommend the audiobook. It was an excellent narration.

  • Summer Book Bingo: A mystery; Takes place in a country other than the US

The Last Wild Horses: A Novel by Maja Lunde 📖
(Translated from the Norwegian by Diane Oatley)

This is the third book in Maja Lunde’s The Climate Quartet. The fourth one is coming out this fall in Norway (English translation TBD). I loved the first installment, The History of Bees: A Novel, and enjoyed the second one, The End of the Ocean: A Novel. When I heard the fourth one was expected soon, I was very eager to read the third one that I already had on my shelf in Norwegian. I actually alternated between my Norwegian physical copy Przewalskis hest and the English ebook depending on my reading situation/mood. I really enjoyed this one. It jumped between Norway in 2064, Mongolia in 1992, and St. Petersburg/Mongolia in 1882. The thread among the three storylines is the extinction of wild horses, and each of the storylines explores complicated relationships with those closest to us. There were also ties to the first two novels in the quartet which I really appreciated (and caused me to like the second one even more). I highly recommend the quartet and am eagerly anticipating the fourth and final installment.

  • Summer Book Bingo: Takes place in a country other than the US

What have you been reading lately?

By the way, if you’re interested in purchasing some Scandinavian ebooks at a great discount, visit 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.

September 2022: Virtual Nordic Events & Vista Viking Festival

It’s with mixed feelings that I observe the shift from virtual back to in-person events. These last couple of years I’ve discovered many amazing new-to-me Nordic institutions around the country and participated in cooking and crafting classes, watched film screenings and listened to concerts, and attended author talks, book club meetings, and lectures that I otherwise wouldn’t have been able to. Now, the variety and frequency of such virtual opportunities is decreasing as in-person events are returning, but luckily there’s still much to share.

While many institutions are cutting back on virtual events, I do want to highlight two institutions and a particular area of interest that are continuing strong with virtual events: Vesterheim, the National Norwegian-American Museum & Folk Art School, in Decorah, Iowa; the American Swedish Institute in Minneapolis, Minnesota; and book clubs around the country! Visit Vesterheim and ASI for information on their offerings, many of which fill up fast. For upcoming book selections by online book clubs, visit my page to see if there’s a Nordic book you’d be interested in reading and discussing with fellow reading enthusiasts.

On the topic of the return to in-person events, this fall Southern Californians will see the triumphant return of the family friendly Vista Viking Festival. California’s premiere Viking festival and Norse heritage event takes place September 17 and 18 just north of San Diego. Visitors can mingle with Vikings and the Norse gods at the living history Viking Village, play and craft in the KidZone, splurge on Nordic goods at the marketplace, learn all things Norwegian with cultural demonstrations, indulge in festive foods and drinks, and enjoy live entertainment including the Viking band KRAUKA, straight out of Denmark. Will you be there?

This Labor Day Weekend, take advantage of the last discount opportunity and save 10% by buying your tickets with promo code LABORDAY (through midnight 9/5). Buy tickets here.

What’s on your calendar for September?


Demo: Swedish Breakfasts (Thursday, September 8, 1:00 p.m. CT)

Swedish breakfasts capture many traveler’s imaginations; whether you stay in a home or at a hotel, you’re sure to get a selection of open-faced sandwich ingredients as well as cold or hot cereals, juice, fruit and more. These spreads are not complicated to put together, but it can be helpful to have a formula ready to go for both casual mornings and more elaborate hosted affairs. Nordic Table coordinator Erin Swenson-Klatt will share her go-to Swedish breakfast table collections and a few simple recipes to deck out a perfect frukost buffet in this virtual class inspired by the exhibit, The Morning Dip.

Nordic Spirit Classics’ Second Friday Series—Trolls: A Retrospective: “Trolls of the Millennium” (Friday, September 9, 7:30 p.m. PT)

Britte Rasmussen Marsh, writer, educator, and researcher from Portland, Oregon, returns live for her fourth and final retrospective presentation on trolls. As Scandinavian immigrants set sail for new beginnings on the North American continent, so too do their troll stowaways. Trolls globalized and commercialized in the new Contemporary Era. Sometimes their shape and form resurged as nostalgically Nordic, other times they were redefined to reflect the cultural landscape of changing times. In any case, trolls dispersed along with the rapid expansion of media and found their germination through film, sculpture, marketing, gaming, and the arrival of the Internet Age. What does it mean now to be a 21st century troll? Why do trolls still resonate across demographics, and what’s next? Participation is free, but you must register to receive the link.

Nordic Book Club: The Last Wild Horses: A Novel by Maja Lunde (Tuesday, September 13, 6:00 p.m. ET, Free)

Read and discuss Scandinavian literature in translation as part of Scandinavia House’s online Nordic Book Club. Each month they select a novel from some of the best Nordic literary voices. On September 13, they’ll be discussing The Last Wild Horses by Norwegian author Maja Lunde, out in translation by Diane Oatley. Maja Lunde’s heart-wrenching new tale, set in the distant past and the dystopian future, explores extinction and survival, family and hope.

National Danish Book Club Series: Justine by Iben Mondrup (Tuesday, September 13, 5:00 p.m. PT, Free)

Explore a selection of Danish literature in English translation with this nationwide book club. Each month a celebrated Danish author is selected and discussed in a virtual setting via Zoom and YouTube. This month’s selection is Justine by Iben Mondrup in translation by Kerri A. Pierce. “A personal meditation on artistic identity, the creative process, and the male-dominated art scene, the novel veers between the erotic and the savage, resulting in a spellbinding read from one of Denmark’s edgiest contemporary feminist writers.”

October Family Norwegian Language Adventure: Vikinger og Mytologi with Evelyn Galstad (Register by September 16)

Join Vesterheim for some family fun and learn some Norwegian language and culture along the way! Through hands-on activities, fun crafts, light-hearted games, and short videos, you and your family will learn and practice your new Norwegian skills. A kit will be delivered right to your home containing supplies for these language activities, a helpful reference sheet for all the new words and expressions you will be learning, a fun craft, and a yummy treat. The theme for October is Vikings and Mythology. These videos and activities are geared towards all ages, but most appropriate for families with school-age children.

New Nordic Tapas and Cocktails with Patrice Johnson (Saturday, September 17, 4:00-5:30 pm CT)

Join the self declared “Nordic Food Geek” Patrice Johnson and throw a Nordic-inspired cocktail party that will dazzle your friends! Inspired by seasonal, local, and tasty New Nordic trends, you’ll spend a happy hour together preparing small bites that pair with aquavit and tasty cocktails/mocktails.

Swedish Princess Cake with Kristi Bissell (Sunday, September 18, 1:00 pm CT)

Swedish Princess Cake is a showstopper of a dessert but can be an intimidating project for a home baker. Fear no more! Join Kristi Bissell of True North Kitchen and learn how to make a foolproof Swedish Princess Cake at home. Kristi will walk you through the process step-by-step so that you can confidently make this gorgeous Scandinavian cake in your own kitchen. This class is currently sold out but you can be added to the waitlist.

Virtual Book Talk: The Viking Heart by Arthur Herman (Tuesday, September 20, 7:00 p.m. ET, Free)

This September, join Scandinavia House for a new virtual book talk on The Viking Heart: How Scandinavians Conquered the World with Arthur Herman, a New York Times historian and Pulitzer Prize finalist. In a follow-up to his 2021 talk at Scandinavia House on the book’s release, Arthur Herman returns to discuss themes that have gained new relevance over the past year — including recent archeological discoveries regarding the Viking legacy, Finland and Sweden’s application to join NATO, and the Viking context to the Marvel film Thor: Love and Thunder.

Virtual Book Talk: W. A Novel by Steve Sem-Sandberg with Saskia Vogel (Sunday, September 21, 2:30 p.m. ET, Free)

On September 21, August Prize-winning Swedish novelist Steve Sem-Sandberg and translator Saskia Vogel join Scandinavia House for a virtual discussion on W. A Novel, out on June 28 from The Overlook Press. They’ll discuss the writing and translation of this new literary reimagining of one of modern literature’s touchstone texts, the play Woyzeck.

Vesterheim Bokprat: Sophie’s World by Jostein Gaarder (Wednesday, September 21, 7:00 p.m. CT, Free)

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 September to discuss Sophie’s World: A Novel about the History of Philosophy by Norwegian author Jostein Gaarder. This page-turning novel is also an exploration of the great philosophical concepts of Western thought and has fired the imagination of readers all over the world with more than twenty million copies in print.

ASI Demo: Easy Kanelbullar (Thursday, September 22, 1:00 p.m. CT)

Get ready for kanelbullendag (Cinnamon Bun Day) on October 4 by watching how Kristi Bissell of True North Kitchen completes all the hands-on steps for a batch of easy Swedish cinnamon buns in just an hour. Kristi will use multiple batches of dough to demonstrate how to mix and knead the sweet yeasted dough, prepare the cinnamon filling, shape a pre-risen batch of dough into the typical knots, and bake the buns until golden brown. Students will leave with the recipe and lots of tips, inspired to bake their own batch of buns at home!

The Morning Dip Virtual Exhibit Tour (Tuesday, September 27, 5:00-5:45 p.m. CT)

Unable to explore the American Swedish Institute in person? Discover featured exhibitions The Morning Dip: Photography by Peggy Anderson and Birger Sandzén: Distant Horizons through a live, virtual tour led by an ASI educator. Get up close with Peggy Anderson’s large-format photos and Birger Sandzén’s captivating paintings while hearing stories of the artists’ techniques and their artwork. Have the opportunity to ask ASI educators all your questions about these exhibitions.

Symbols in Bandweaving: The Emojis of Traditional Handcraft (Wednesday, September 28, 7:00-8:00 pm CT, Free)

Join folk artist Kathleen Almelien for a webinar exploring the symbols used in bandweaving, the “emojis” of their time. Woven bands played an important role in traditional Norwegian clothing. Used to close or support clothing (the way we use zippers, buttons, and snaps), they also added beauty and interest to clothing. Additionally, the symbols woven into the band communicated that the person came from a particular area of Norway and imbued the band with meaning to the wearer. Almelien will highlight her own bands as well as those in Vesterheim’s collection and will draw parallels with the symbols used in other traditional Norwegian handcrafts. This program is free of charge. Registration is required.

Nordiska’s Book Club: Ronia (Thursday, September 29, 6:00 p.m. PT)

Nordiska, a boutique specializing in Nordic-inspired goods and gifts in Poulsbo, WA, hosts its own book club for fellow Nordic reading enthusiasts to connect and be in community with one another virtually. They invite you to expand your Nordic reading repertoire and discuss a variety of written works with them the last Thursday of each month. For September’s meeting, they will be reading Ronia, The Robber’s Daughter by Astrid Lindgren translated from the Swedish by Patricia Crampton. Receive 15% off your purchase of the book at Nordiska’s website by using the code “bookclub22”.


Which 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 (July 2022) & #ScandiReadingChallenge Update

July was a fun reading month! I had time to read and each book was so different from the others. I caught up on my Scandinavian Reading Challenge which I had fallen behind on, and a reading challenge happening at work gave me the incentive I needed to read some middle grade and YA that had been on my TBR list for a while.

2022 Scandinavian Reading Challenge Update: In July, I finally completed June’s 1960s prompt with the Norwegian book Bare en mor, the fourth book in The Barrøy Chronicles by Roy Jacobsen, which takes place along the coast in northern Norway. This reading experience was even more meaningful since I was on vacation in the same area at the time of reading it. For July’s 1970s prompt, I read Blood on Snow by Jo Nesbø which took place in Oslo. Details on both books can be found below.

I am unsure what to read for August’s 1980s prompt. Ideally, I would love to find a book by a Norwegian female author that takes place in the 1980s, but I’m having trouble finding titles. For details on the reading challenge and insight into the past, current, and next decades, along with a few reading ideas, visit 2022 Scandinavian Reading Challenge.

TBR List for WITMonth 2022

August is Women in Translation Month so this month I’m enjoying just that, women in translation, and I have many titles on my TBR list for the month. Normally, I focus on female authors outside of Scandinavia for WITmonth since I usually read many Scandinavian female authors throughout the year, but that has not been the case this year. I’m off to a great start with Reptile Memoirs: A Novel by Silje Ulstein translated from the Norwegian by Alison McCullough (listening to audiobook narrated by Julie Maisey) and The Last Wild Horses: A Novel by Maja Lunde translated from the Norwegian by Diane Oatley, which I’m alternating with the Norwegian version, Przewalskis hest.

What have you been reading lately?


“Bare en mor” (The Barrøy Chronicles, 4) by Roy Jacobsen

I loved the fourth and final book in Roy Jacobsen’s The Barrøy Chronicles series. I was sad to leave Ingrid’s world behind when it ended. Ingrid is a smart, independent, admirable woman born, raised, and living on a fictional remote island in northern Norway (south of Lofoten which is where we were visiting at the time of this reading). This final installment takes place when Ingrid is in her 50s and covers a time period of about 15 years. It’s been five years since she returned from her trip at the end of WWII seeking the father of her child in vain (book #3). The island is now alive with people, all ages, both immediate family and found family. The book chronicles their lives which includes the men leaving for winter fishing in Lofoten, a dangerous and risky endeavor, while the women stay home tending to the household. This may have been my favorite book of the series. (The English translation, Just a Mother translated by Don Bartlett and Don Shaw, will be released in the US on March 7, 2023.)


Other Words for Home by Jasmine Warga

I really enjoyed this reading experience. This is a middle grade book written in verse about Jude, a 12-year-old Muslim girl, who leaves Syria with her mother as unrest and violence escalate around the country and encroach upon their town by the sea. Leaving her father and older brother behind, they travel to Cincinnati to stay with family until it’s safe to return home again. Jude has to learn how to get along with her American cousin, navigate her new American school, make new friends, improve her English, and make sense of her place in this new world. It’s a moving and hopeful story of a brave, strong girl.

  • Summer Book Bingo: A book from my school’s reading list; A book that won a Newbery award (Medal or Honor book)

They Called Us Enemy by George Takei

This graphic novel has been on my shelf for a while and this summer’s book bingo was the just the right nudge to finally read it. It’s an eye-opening look at Japanese internment in the US during World War II. George Takei recounts his childhood when he and his family were forced to leave their home in Los Angeles and spent the next few years in “relocation centers” around the country only due to their Japanese ancestry. I learned quite a bit from this book: the process of how it was carried out, what living conditions were like, and how Japanese-Americans had to make difficult choices along the way that made the experience even worse.

  • Summer Book Bingo: A graphic novel; A book from my school’s reading list

I Am Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter by Erika L. Sánchez

This is a young adult novel that’s been on my TBR list for a while. It’s the story of Julia, daughter of Mexican immigrants, who has other plans than being the perfect Mexican daughter. She wants to leave town after graduation and go to college. At the same time, she’s dealing with the sudden death of her older sister who had been the perfect Mexican daughter, staying close to home once she was done with high school. It’s written in the first person perspective of Julia. Julia has a strong, at times brusque and confrontational personality, which I wasn’t a fan of. However, at the same time, she’s a voracious reader and a writer, so her language was at times very impressive. It was an interesting combination.

  • Summer Book Bingo: A book with a Hispanic or Latina main character

Stronghold: One Man’s Quest to Save the World’s Wild Salmon by Tucker Malarkey (Narrated by Cassandra Campbell)

I wasn’t thrilled when this nonfiction book was picked as our book club read, but I knew it would be good for me to read beyond my comfort zone. It turned out to be a five-star read for me. It was a surprisingly fascinating and engaging read about Guido Rahr and his passionate, lifelong mission to save the world’s wild salmon by protecting their rivers. In particular, I really enjoyed learning about his childhood and young adulthood, his travels all over the world to explore the natural world, and his passion and persistence for his work. A bonus was learning so much about salmon, a fascinating fish. I have a totally new understanding of and respect for wild salmon.


Blood on Snow (Blood on Snow, #1) by Jo Nesbø
(Translated from the Norwegian by Neil Smith)

Norwegian author Jo Nesbø is best known for his Harry Hole crime fiction series, of which I’ve read two. One, The Snowman, I really enjoyed, but the other, The Bat, not so much, so I was curious about some of his other non-Harry Hole work. Blood on Snow is a standalone book and not a typical crime fiction novel but more of a “crime fiction adjacent” one. It is Nordic Noir in the sense that it takes place in a bleak setting (dark, cold days during wintertime in Oslo), the plot includes brutal crimes, and the protagonist is troubled. However, the protagonist is not a police detective but instead the fixer of a crime boss and the story is from his perspective. Even though he kills for a living, he has a conscience, in particular with regards to the treatment of women. Despite having dyslexia, he enjoys reading and writing. It’s an interesting take on crime fiction which I enjoyed and I would consider reading the companion book in the series, Midnight Sun (mostly because it takes place in northern Norway which intrigues me).


What have you been reading lately?

If you’re interested in snagging some Scandinavian ebooks at a 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.

What I’ve Been Reading Lately (June 2022) & #ScandiReadingChallenge Update

With summer now upon us, I am back on track with my reading. My goals for the summer are to catch up on reading challenges, play along with a summer reading bingo that is happening at work, and prepare and participate in Women in Translation Month #WITMonth in August.

I continue to join Modern Mrs Darcy’s Quick Lit where we share short and sweet reviews of what we’ve been reading lately.

2022 Scandinavian Reading Challenge Update: I’m not quite up-to-date on my Scandinavian Reading Challenge at the moment. In June, I finished Eyes of the Rigel, book 3 of The Barrøy Chronicles, for the postwar/1950s period (May) and then decided to begin book 4, Bare en mor (Just a Mother out in English November 10, 2022) right away hoping it would cover the 1960s as well (June). I’m only half way through and have yet to find out.

For details on the reading challenge and insight into the past, current, and next decades, along with a few reading ideas, visit 2022 Scandinavian Reading Challenge.

What have you been reading lately?


The Arsonists’ City by Hala Alyan
(Narrated by Leila Buck, 14 hrs 15 min)

Last year I read the author’s debut novel Salt Houses, which I really enjoyed, so when her second novel was recommended on a recent podcast with an aside that the listening experience was amazing, it quickly became my next listen. It didn’t disappoint. It’s the story of Mazna and Idris, a Syrian woman and a Lebanese man who married and emigrated from Beirut to a small town in the California desert, and their three adult children who have dispersed to Beirut, Brooklyn, and Austin. They are all brought together in Beirut when the father decides to sell the family ancestral home. It’s full of family drama – deep secrets and fraught relationships – with the added layer of the Lebanese Civil War and its legacy. Told through different perspectives and storylines that go back and forth in time, it was a very engaging and absorbing listen, which once again brought a part of the world unfamiliar to me closer to home.


One Italian Summer by Rebecca Serle
(Narrated by Lauren Graham, 6 hrs)

I needed a light and easy audiobook that I could wrap up before our summer trip, and what better choice than one that would take me to the Amalfi Coast in Italy. Sadly, this book wasn’t for me. Yes, I escaped to Positano and vicariously enjoyed delicious food and fabulous views, but I was not a fan of the storyline. Thirty-something Katy’s mother, who was her best friend, just died of cancer and Katy decides to take the trip that they had planned to do together anyways. She’s distraught and lost, and on top of that, questioning her marriage. While in Positano she meets two Americans, Carol, who is just like her mother, and Adam, who is totally unlike her husband. There’s a lot of self-reflection and I’m not sure whether time travel or mental breakdown, but she finds herself actually with her mother as a 30-year-old. At that point, I almost stopped listening, but curiosity and the fact that it was a short listen got me to finish it.

  • Summer Reading Bingo: Takes place outside the US

Unhinged (Alexander Blix #3) by Jørn Lier Horst and Thomas Enger
(Translated from the Norwegian by Megan Turney)

I needed a book that would jump start my summer reading so I finally read the third and latest English language installment in this Norwegian duo’s crime series. Like the others, it took place in Oslo and there were many places I recognized and knew, but the structure was very different, at least for the first half. It alternated between the interrogation of police office Alexander Blix about why he had shot someone, the interrogation of journalist Emma Ramm who saw what had happened, and the storyline of how the person was killed, so a lot of telling with jumps to actual action. The second half returned to a more traditional structure, but with a change in the focus of the investigation and a change in role for Blix. Unfortunately, the book was a bit of a disappointment for me. I wasn’t a fan of the structure of the first half and I didn’t like the new role for Blix.

  • Summer Reading Bingo: One-word title

Eyes of the Rigel (The Barrøy Chronicles Book 3) by Roy Jacobsen
(Translated from the Norwegian by Don Bartlett and Don Shaw)

This is the third in a series of four about Ingrid, an independent woman born, raised, and living on a remote island in Northern Norway in the 1900s. This installment takes place just after World War II. Ingrid leaves the island with her baby girl and travels throughout Norway on foot/train/bus to track down the father, a Russian prisoner of war who spent a short while on the island towards the end of the war as Ingrid nursed him back to health after he had  survived the sinking of the prisoner ship Rigel. All sorts of people help her find the way, provide shelter and food, and share information on the father providing an interesting picture of postwar Norway. The writing style and dialogue are spare and minimal, but Ingrid’s journey and determination to find him kept me engaged. Book 4 is already purchased and ready to be read (in Norwegian since it is not available in English translation yet, but expected November 10, 2022, by MacLehose Press, UK).


What have you been reading lately?

By the way, if you’re interested in snagging some Scandinavian ebooks at a 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.

What I’ve Been Reading Lately (April & May 2022) & #ScandiReadingChallenge Update

It’s been a slow and unproductive reading period these last couple of months. My reading started strong with spring break in the beginning of April, but then work and family obligations took over and limited my time and energy to read. I’m grateful for my book club which provided incentive to finish two books at least, and bonus that they were both unread Book of the Month selections! With summer now upon us, I hope to get back on track and catch up.

I continue to join Modern Mrs Darcy’s Quick Lit where we share short and sweet reviews of what we’ve been reading lately.

2022 Scandinavian Reading Challenge Update: April’s focus was the 1940s and I read White Shadow, the second book in Roy Jacobsen’s Barrøy series. The first book in the series took place in the 1910s/1920s and this one jumped ahead a couple of decades to 1944-1945, the last year of the German occupation.

For the purposes of this challenge, I’ve decided that the 1950s prompt can include anything postwar (1945-1959) since World War II was such a significant time for Norway and it took years for the country to recover. I will continue the Barrøy series with Eyes of the Rigel which follows the main character as she leaves the island after the war on a journey during which “she will encounter partisans and collaborators, refugees and deserters, sinners and servants in a country still bearing the scars of occupation.”

For details on the reading challenge and insight into the past, current, and next decades, along with a few reading ideas, visit 2022 Scandinavian Reading Challenge.

What have you been reading lately?


White Shadow (The Barrøy Chronicles Book 2) by Roy Jacobsen
(Translated from the Norwegian by Don Bartlett and Don Shaw)

The first book in the series covered Ingrid’s childhood on Barrøy, a remote island in Northern Norway, at the beginning of the 20th century. This book jumped ahead a couple of decades to the last year of the German occupation, 1944-1945. As Nazis withdrew from Northern Norway, they forcibly evacuated more than 70,000 people, including children, young people, the elderly and sick, and destroyed everything to delay the advance of the Russian forces. The book wasn’t directly about this (it happened further north than the setting of the book), but refugees made their way to the area and played a role in the story. It was a part of Norwegian World War II history that was unfamiliar to me so I appreciated the insight into it. I continued to enjoy following Ingrid’s journey in life and look forward to the next installment.


A Good Neighborhood by Therese Anne Fowler

This book was not at all what I expected, and sadly, I did not enjoy it. It started off fine introducing the two very different families who became neighbors, a newly rich white family who built a new house, and a single black mother, a professor of  forestry and ecology, and her biracial teenage son who lived next door. I thought the narrator of the story, a first person plural representing the neighborhood (a la Greek chorus), was interesting and unique, though the obvious foreshadowing annoyed me after a while. I assumed the focus of the story would stay on the relationship between the white daughter and the biracial son and the fate of historic oak tree affected by the new construction, which in and of itself would have been plenty (race, class, privilege, environment) for this little, tight-knit community, but it did not. A whole new element entered the picture which I did not enjoy (and won’t spoil). And the ending left me empty.

  • #unreadBOTMchallenge

Olga Dies Dreaming by Xochilt Gonzalez

I don’t really know where to start with this one, but the bottom line is that I really enjoyed it. There were so many elements that resonated with me – a strong, complex female character; family drama and secrets; engaging storylines and writing; and most uniquely, a look at Puerto Rico, both its history and current status, of which I knew next to nothing. A very contemporary story (even a reference to the pandemic at the end!) that takes place in Brooklyn, it’s about Olga, a high profile wedding planner, and her brother Prieto, a popular congressman representing their gentrifying Latinx neighborhood. Their mother abandoned them at an early age to fight for a militant radical cause and their drug-addicted father died of AIDS leaving them to be raised by their grandmother and close family. It was refreshing to read a story of successful characters from a marginalized group. A lot of issues were packed into this book, but it worked for me.

  • #unreadBOTMchallenge

What have you been reading lately?

By the way, if you’re interested in snagging some Scandinavian ebooks at a 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.

Summer 2022: Virtual Nordic Events & Scandinavian Festival

View towards Oslofjorden from Grefsenkollen, taken June 2019

Happy Summer! I’m combining June, July, and August events into one post and will update as new events come on my radar. Don’t delay in signing up for classes you may be interested in. They fill up quickly. Of particular interest for some may be the many online Nordic cooking classes offered by Vesterheim, American Swedish Institute, and The Nordic Heart this summer. Explore herring, gravlax, Scandinavian waffles and cakes, Nordic inspired cocktails and meals, and more!

Interested in joining other readers to discuss Nordic books? Find summer selections for online book clubs listed at the end of the post.

And finally, for Los Angeles area readers, I hope you’re planning to attend the 45th Scandinavian Festival in Thousand Oaks on June 4 and 5 at California Lutheran University. It’s the largest Nordic-themed event in Southern California celebrating the cultures and traditions of Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, Sweden and the Sami people of the Arctic regions of Scandinavia. Enjoy historical craft demos, food demos, a Viking village and games, Saami camp, country crafts, a children’s stage in addition to the main stage (which will feature ABBA FAB – Tribute to the Music of ABBA both days), Nordic vendors, Nordic food booths, and more. See festival map.

New in-person event addition!  Norwegian 80s band a-ha has two concerts scheduled in California in July. On Friday, July 29, they will perform in Napa at Oxbow RiverStage (ticket information). Then on Sunday, July 31, they will perform at the Hollywood Bowl in Los Angeles (ticket information). Will you go see them?

What’s on your calendar this summer?


Family Friluftsliv Adventure with Vesterheim (Register by June 1)

Looking for a fun way to explore Norwegian culture with your family on your own schedule? Vesterheim’s June Family Friluftsliv Adventure is for you! Through hands-on activities and short videos, you and your family will explore the Norwegian concept of friluftsliv, spend time outdoors together, and learn and practice Norwegian words and phrases, all on your own schedule. A kit will be delivered right to your home containing supplies for these activities along with a helpful reference sheet for all the new words and expressions you will be learning and a yummy treat.

National Nordic Museum’s Virtual Meet the Author: The Border by Erika Fatland (Saturday, June 4, 11:00 a.m. PT)

Join Dr. Scott Radnitz, the Herbert J. Ellison Associate Professor of Russian and Eurasian Studies in the Jackson School of International Studies at the University of Washington, as he talks with Norwegian author Erika Fatland about her latest book The Border. “An astute and brilliant combination of lyric travel writing and modern history, The Border is a book about Russia without its author ever entering Russia itself. Erika Fatland gets to the heart of what it has meant to be the neighbor of that mighty, expanding empire throughout history. As we follow her on her journey, we experience the colorful, exciting, tragic, and often unbelievable histories of these bordering nations along with their cultures, people, and landscapes.”

Typiskt svenskt/Typical American Discussion (Tuesday, June 7, 9:30 a.m. CT)

What is assumed or generalized about Sweden and the United States? Compare and find out how different yet alike Swedes and Americans are in this fun and open discussion hosted by American Swedish Institute. This class is also offered Thursday, June 16, at 5:30 p.m. CT.

Scandinavia House’s The Border Virtual Book Talk with Erika Fatland (Tuesday, June 7, 1:00 p.m. ET)

Join Scandinavia House for a virtual talk with acclaimed Norwegian author Erika Fatland on her new book The Border: A Journey Around Russia Through North Korea, China, Mongolia, Kazakhstan, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Ukraine, Belorussia, Lithuania, Poland, Latvia, Estonia, Finland, Norway, and the Northeast Passage, out now from Pegasus Books. This event will take place as a Zoom webinar;  ask questions in the chat or send them in advance to info@amscan.org. Registration is required; please sign up at the link above. This conversation will be recorded and available later to stream on their Virtual Programming page and on their YouTube channel.

ASI Nordic Table Demo: Family Camp Recipes with Emily Vikre (Wednesday, June 8, 6:30 p.m. CT)

Seeking some fun inspiration for outdoor drinks and snacks this summer? Look no further than the new The Family Camp Cookbook from Emily Vikre. Emily will share a little about her newest cookbook and talk about pinnebrød, a favorite camping bread from across the Nordic countries. And because Emily owns Vikre Distillery in Duluth, she’ll also show us how to whip up a couple beverages, one alcoholic cocktail and one family friendly option. Recipes will be shared in advance so you can prepare a drink alongside Emily if you like.

ASI Workshop: Intro to Papercutting (Thursday, June 9, 6:30 p.m. CT)

Papercutting is an art that spans history and cultures, from simple silhouettes to intricate designs. Join artist Anna Brones to learn the basics of papercutting and how to create your very own papercuts using a craft knife and cutting mat. This evening workshop will cover everything from paper and cutting techniques, to composition and design inspiration.

ASI Nordic Table Demo: Midsommar Made Simple with Patrice Johnson (Friday, June 10, 6:30 p.m. CT)

Whether you are going all out with a big celebratory smörgåsbord or taking a simpler approach, we could all use a few easy recipes for our Midsommar tables. Follow along as Patrice demonstrates simple preparations for gravlax, herring, potatoes and strawberries. You’ll feel totally ready to tackle some of these classic dishes at home after class!

Celebrate Midsummer with Aquavit and Herring with Kristi Bissell (Saturday, June 11, from 2:00-3:30 p.m. CT)

No Midsummer gathering is complete without aquavit and herring. Join Kristi Bissell of True North Kitchen and learn how to make an aquavit cocktail to pair with three unique flavors of pickled herring, all starting with jarred pickled herring from the store. Students will be sent the ingredients list and class preparation approximately one week before the class in order to prepare. Enrollment deadline: June 3.

Workshop: The Fantastic Art of Paper Cutting (Sunday, June 12, 12:00 p.m. ET)

Join Scandinavia House and learn to create wonderful paper-cut beings with celebrated Danish paper-cutting artist Torben Jarlstrøm Clausen in a class held via Zoom. Clausen, who has held paper-cutting workshops in Denmark, Japan and the U.S., has created a magical paper-cut universe inhabited by beings previously confined inside the paper. In this online workshop, Clausen will share his techniques and guide viewers through creating their own paper-cut magic. Participants will also explore the paper-cut artwork of renowned storyteller Hans Christian Andersen, and hear about Clausen’s own journey to becoming a paper-cutting artist. The class will be limited to 30 participants to allow for audience interaction.

ASI Nordic Table Workshop: Knäckebröd Two Ways with Kristi Bissell (Thursday, June 16, 1:00 p.m. CT)

Join Kristi for this cook-along virtual workshop where you will practice baking two different types of Swedish knäckebröd! Knäckebröd, or crispbread, is a classic part of the Midsommar table, but also a great snack to have on hand for light summer meals and picnics. Students will work in their own kitchens to make a batch of rye and oat-based crispbread and a gluten free seed-based crispbread. While the breads bake, Kristi will even share some ideas for tasty seasonal toppings for your homemade knäckebröd! This class is designed as a cook along experience, perfect for cooks who want a few extra tips and tricks while tackling a classic Swedish baked good.

Typiskt svenskt/Typical American Discussion (Thursday, June 16, 5:30 p.m. CT)

What is assumed or generalized about Sweden and the United States? Compare and find out how different yet alike Swedes and Americans are in this fun and open discussion hosted by American Swedish Institute. This class is also offered Tuesday, June 7, at 9:30 a.m. CT.

July Family Book Adventure: Lena, The Sea, and Me (Enroll by June 16)

Join Vesterheim for this family-fun reading and outdoor adventure! Your family can be any combination of folks as long as there’s at least one adult to help navigate the online portion. Decorah schools librarian Shannon Horton will get you reading, thinking, creating, and even up and moving – indoors and out! A kit delivered right to your home contains supplies for book-reading, a fun craft, a snack, and a scavenger-hunt-type adventure. This program has been designed for families to experience on their own schedules. There is no live Zoom event and no scheduled class time – your family can participate anytime during the month when it works for your schedule! On the first of the month, you will receive an email with the links and information about how to access.

Nordic Lit in Translation: Laxness’s Salka Valka with Philip Roughton & Doug McIntyre (Tuesday, June 21, 1:00 p.m. ET, Free)

Translator Philip Roughton joins Scandinavia House with Doug McIntyre for a discussion on celebrated Icelandic novelist and Nobel Prize Laureate Halldór Laxness’s novel Salka Valka, out June 7 in new translation from Archipelago. “A feminist coming-of-age tale, an elegy to the plight of the working class and the corrosive effects of social and economic inequality, and a poetic window into the arrival of modernity in a tiny industrial town, Salka Valka is a novel of epic proportions, living and breathing with its vibrant cast of characters, filled with tenderness, humor, and remarkable pathos.”

Viking Metal-Weaving Bracelet Class (Saturday, June 25, 10:00 a.m. PT)

Dating back to the Viking era, this metal-weaving project is a great introduction to jewelry making. In this virtual class, learn the steps for metal knitting—a simple looping technique—using copper and silver wire 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 steps in the process. Materials will be sent by mail upon registration.

Nordiska’s Book Club: Jansson’s Moomintrolls (Thursday, June 30, 6:00 p.m. PT)

Nordiska, a boutique specializing in Nordic-inspired goods and gifts in Poulsbo, WA, invites you to expand your Nordic reading repertoire and discuss a variety of written works the last Thursday of each month. For June’s meeting, they will be reading their first children’s novels featuring the Moomins, lovable hippo-like characters created by the talented Tove Jansson. Since the Moomin books are shorter in length, they have selected the first two books for June’s book club discussion: Moomins and the Great Flood (1945) and Comet in Moominland (1946).


JULY

Swedish Museum Series: Alma Löv Museum of Unexpected Art (Wednesday, July 6, 12:00-1:00 p.m. CT)

ASI’s Swedish Museum Series returns with a virtual tour of Alma Löv, the unique contemporary museum nestled deep in the forests of Värmland. This low-budget museum project, with high artistic ambitions, was founded by artist Marc Broos in 1998 and is today run by his daughter Stella Broos.

Summer Scandinavian Waffles with Patrice Johnson (Sunday, July 10, 11:00 a.m.-12:30 p.m. CT)

Nordic waffles are one of Scandinavia’s most iconic foods. They can be sweet or savory and are topped with a variety of (occasionally unusual) garnishes. Join the “Nordic Food Geek” Patrice Johnson as you create your own versions of Nordic waffles. Waffles aren’t just for brunch anymore! Enrollment deadline: June 24.

Book Talk—A Postcard to Annie with Ida Jessen, Martin Aitken, & Désirée Ohrbeck (Wednesday, July 13, 1:00 p.m. ET)

Acclaimed Danish author Ida Jessen joins Scandinavia House with translator Martin Aitken for a virtual discussion on the new book A Postcard for Annie, available June 28 from Archipelago. With moderator Désirée Ohrbeck, they’ll discuss the writing and translation of the prizewinning anthology hailed as an “insightful, original collection” (Kirkus Reviews) following the inner lives of several women on the brink, or sidelines, of catastrophe.

Introduction to Swedish (Wednesday, July 13, 6:00-8:00 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 introductory workshop 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.

ASI Nordic Table Demo: Blueberries in the Nordic Kitchen with Kristi Bissell (Thursday, July 14, 1:00-2:30 p.m. CT)

Blueberries are a classic summer fruit in the north, whether you gather them in the wild or find them at the market. Just in time for blueberry season, join Kristi as she demonstrates a trio of Nordic-inspired recipes featuring this fruit in different ways: Blueberry Rye Crumble Bars, Blueberry Cardamom Compote and a Blueberry Creme Fraiche Tart with Rye Crust. Students are sure to leave with new ideas and baking tips.

Summer Potatoes In The Nordic Kitchen with Kristi Bissell (Friday, July 15, 3:00-5:00 p.m. CT)

Join Kristi as she prepares three delicious recipes for tender summertime new potatoes! Make an Herbed New Potato Salad with Pickled Golden Beets and Capers and a Savory Goat Cheese and New Potato Tart. Finally, Kristi will demonstrate a few ideas for potato open-face sandwiches on rye bread (smørbrød), which are very popular in the Scandinavian region and a great way to use up leftover potatoes. Enrollment deadline: July 1.

Introduction to Finnish (Sunday, July 17, 12:45-2:45 p.m. CT)

Are you curious about the Finnish 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 Finland? This two-hour introductory workshop 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.

ASI Nordic Table Demo: A Dip into Swedish Seafood with Patrice Johnson (Wednesday, July 27, 6:30-8:00 p.m. CT)

Summertime calls for casual seafood lunches and dinners in Sweden. Join Patrice for a fun demo of easy, breezy summer dishes inspired by the coast! Patrice will share three simple courses, including a caviar dip appetizer, a Skagen-inspired shrimp salad first course, and a stunning (but not so tricky to pull off) Västkustsallad, or West Coast Salad filled with vegetables and shellfish. With Patrice’s coaching, you’ll be ready to dive right into any of these dishes!

Nordiska’s Book Club: The Cold Song (Thursday, July 28, 6:00 p.m. PT)

Nordiska, a boutique specializing in Nordic-inspired goods and gifts in Poulsbo, WA, invites you to expand your Nordic reading repertoire and discuss a variety of written works the last Thursday of each month. For July’s meeting, they will be reading The Cold Song by Linn Ullmann, translated from the Norwegian by Barbara J. Haveland.


AUGUST

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

From August 1-31, let the National Nordic Museum in Seattle, WA, inspire you to keep moving and remain active, while having fun with your friends and family! Choose between a 5K, 10K, or half-marathon challenge race. International participation is encouraged! All entrants will receive a custom Run Like A Viking T-shirt, racing bib, and two (2) general admission tickets (expire August 2023) to the National Nordic Museum. For more information about the National Nordic Museum, visit www.nordicmuseum.org.

ASI Nordic Table Demo: Nordic Cocktail Hour with Patrice Johnson (Friday, August 5, 6:30-8:00 p.m. CT)

Whether you’re entertaining or not, sometimes we all just need a few fun recipes to play with for a Friday night. Join Patrice for some light bites that can stand alone as a snack or appetizer or can be combined for tapas style grazing for a summery dinner. And we won’t forget a few drinks with both alcoholic and N/A options, all taking their inspiration from a glorious northern summer, to complete our seasonal Nordic cocktail hour.

FamilieTid: How To Get Along With The Hulderfolk (Saturday, August 13, 11:00 a.m. CT, Free)

More than just stories from ancient folklore, the belief in the Hulder Folk is alive and well in the high grazing areas of Northern Gudbrandsdalen. It is a centuries-old belief that serves as an explanation for the mischief that occurs on farms as well as the practices for the protection of animals and farms. Instructor Arna Rennan met with Asta, Anna, and Ann Helen Brimi, shepherd girls on Brimi seter (mountain grazing farm) who shared their encounters with the Hulder Folk or “Hidden Folk.” She also learned local folk songs from Jarnfried Kjoek that the Hulder sing to wake up sleepy shepherd girls to milk their cows. Gather the family for this special program that includes images, folk songs, and stories and draws you into the special life in the high mountains of Norway! This event is perfect for the young and the young at heart.

New Nordic Light Summer Meal with Kristi Bissell (Saturday, August 13, 3:00-5:00 p.m. CT)

Get ready to wow your friends and family with this light and delicious Nordic-inspired summer supper! Kristi will show us how to make a Roasted Beet Salad with Whole Grains, Arugula and Creamy Skyr Sauce, Lingonberry Cordial, Gluten Free Seed Crackers (Norwegian Crispbread), and a stunning Summer Skyr Tart with Fresh Berries. Enrollment deadline: July 29.

ASI Nordic Table Demo: Scandinavian Summer Salads with Kristi Bissell (Thursday, August 18, 1:00-2:00 p.m. CT)

Make the most of your garden produce this harvest season with a bevy of inspiration for some Scandinavian summer salads! Watch Kristi prepare New Potato Salad with Pickled Golden Beets and Capers, Creamy Cucumber Salad with Lemon and Dill, and Warm Barley Salad with Fresh Garden Herbs. Students will get lots of inspiration for using up their late summer garden bounty or farmers markets finds.

New Nordic Cocktails Featuring Locally Sourced Herbs (Friday, August 19, 7:00-8:00 p.m. CT)

Celebrate the herbs growing in your garden or your community’s local farms with this class via Zoom! Join instructor Hannah Garry to learn how to make four New Nordic cocktails featuring traditional Scandinavian flavors along with fresh summer herbs like basil, mint, thyme, and rosemary. Enrollment deadline: August 5.

New Nordic Brunch With Rye Bagels and Gravlax with Patrice Johnson (Saturday, August 27 and Sunday, August 28)

Join Patrice Johnson, the self-titled “Nordic Food Geek,” for a delicious Nordic-inspired brunch! This two-day class via Zoom will have your kitchen smelling like a Nordic deli! We’ll make rye bagels topped with caraway and everything else, gravlax, a signature cocktail and mocktail, and other delicious bites perfect for your favorite weekend meal. Enrollment deadline: August 12.

Nordic Language Café (Sunday, August 28, 5:00-6:00 p.m. PT, Free)

Join The Scandinavian School & Cultural Center virtually to practice your Danish, Finnish, Norwegian or Swedish, the choice is yours! This is a perfect opportunity for you to practice your speaking skills and meet other people who share your passion for all things Nordic. All levels are welcome. Participants will be divided up into different breakout rooms in their chosen Nordic language according to their conversational skills, ranging from beginner to advanced. You don’t have to be a student at SSCC to join, but they are of course hoping to see both current and former language adult learners on the screen. Are you a native speaker up for a chat? They would love for you to join them.

Vesterheim Bokprat: Sophie’s World by Jostein Gaarder (Wednesday, September 21, 7:00 p.m. CT, Free)

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 September to discuss Sophie’s World: A Novel About the History of Philosophy by Jostein Gaarder. This page-turning novel is also an exploration of the great philosophical concepts of Western thought and has fired the imagination of readers all over the world, with more than twenty million copies in print!


Virtual Summer Book Clubs

Scandinavia House Online Nordic Book Club

  • Tuesday, June 7: Quake by Auður Jónsdóttir, tr. from the Icelandic by Meg Matich
  • Tuesday, July 12: The Land of Short Sentences by Stine Pilgaard, tr. from the Danish by Hunter Simpson
  • Tuesday, September 13: The Last Wild Horses by Maja Lunde, tr. from the Norwegian by Diane Oatley

Swenson Swedish Immigration Research Center in Illinois

Swedish American Museum


Which 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.