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

I finished the 2021 reading year on a high note, and thinking back, it’s been a very good reading year – many good books in a variety of genres from diverse authors in many different settings.

Mid-year I discovered The Book Girls’ Book Voyage: Read Around the World reading challenge and completed it with books I had already read during the year and continued on my own schedule for the rest of the year. It’s an impressive selection of books I’ve read, if I may say so myself; click here to see the map with completed reads. One area remains, Arctic & Antarctic, which I plan to complete in January with a book that takes place in the Scandinavian Arctic area.

I also completed my Scandinavian Reading Challenge by the end of year unlike other years when I’ve had to wrap up some reads in the first month of the new year. Of the 12 books I read for the challenge, half were by non-Norwegian authors, which I was pleased to see, but only three were in Norwegian, a number I would like to increase in the next year.

Speaking of my next Scandinavian Reading Challenge, it will be a little different in 2022. Instead of creating my own prompts for the challenge, I will be participating in The Book Girls’ Decades Reading Challenge and reading Scandinavian plus potentially Icelandic and Finnish books to complete those prompts. Stay tuned for more information on that.

How’s your reading year been, and what have you been reading lately?


The Last Thing He Told Me by Laura Dave

This was a spontaneous read that was nowhere near my TBR list, but I was immediately drawn to the cover and the premise: a mother and teenage stepdaughter’s journey to discover what’s going on when their husband/father suddenly disappears leaving only a mysterious note. The question of whether we can ever truly know the people we love the most is an intriguing one. I enjoyed the evolving relationship between the stepdaughter and mother. It was a fun read that took me from the houseboats of Sausalito, CA, to the university town of Austin, Texas.

 


The Tenant (Kørner and Werner #1) by Katrine Engberg
(Translated from the Danish by Tara Chace)

Katrine Engberg is a Danish crime writer, a new-to-me Scandinavian author whom I learned about from Abby at Crime by the Book, a great fan of Nordic Noir. I definitely enjoyed the setting of Copenhagen during summer time, and the crime and ensuing investigation were intriguing. However, I was not a fan of the pair of male and female investigators. They just did not seem like good partners. Also, I wasn’t a fan of the writing and/or the translation was not as smooth as I had expected. There were unnecessary sexual descriptions and subplots. At times some translated words seemed more vulgar than they needed to be and this turned me off. Upon checking a Norwegian version of the book, it seems this may be a translation issue?

🇩🇰 Scandinavian Reading Challenge 2021: A book by a new-to-me Scandinavian author


Leave the World Behind by Rumaan Alam

This was an unread Book of the Month selection that my book club chose to read, and it made for a very good discussion. It’s an unusual reading experience, a suspenseful, slow burn with nothing really happening, just the characters going about their business as something unknown and mysterious is happening in the background. A family with teenage kids rents a house for a week’s vacation on Long Island, NY, but their stay is interrupted when an older couple arrives after a blackout has hit New York City. With no TV, Internet, or cell service, they try to figure out what’s happening. It’s a book that leaves the reader with many questions, many of which stay unanswered. It’s a great one for book clubs because everyone will have different opinions on the writing style, characters, and plot.

📚 #unreadBOTMchallenge


The Darkness (Hidden Iceland/Hulda Series, #1) by Ragnar Jónasson
(Translated from the Icelandic by Victoria Cribb)

This best-selling Icelandic crime author has been on my radar for a long time thanks, once again, to Abby at Crime by the Book. I didn’t know whether to start with his debut crime series, Dark Iceland, or this newer one, Hidden Iceland. I ended up just selecting what was available immediately. A traditional police procedural, it was a very captivating read. I liked the main character Hulda Hermannsdóttir, a 64-year-old detective forced into early retirement, who takes on one last case, a cold case about a dead female Russian asylum seeker. I liked the setting, Iceland during spring time with glimpses of winter time. I learned after finishing the book that this trilogy is in reverse chronological order. Knowing this and with the ending as it was, I’m eager to continue the series sooner rather than later.

🇮🇸 Scandinavian Reading Challenge 2021: A book set in a Nordic country you would like to visit or revisit


Winter Stories by Ingvild H. Rishøi
(Translated from the Norwegian by Diane Oatley)

I don’t normally read short stories, but at a virtual event with Norwegian authors, this particular author was mentioned as a must-read and I was drawn to the serene winter cover, so I decided I’d save it as a winter read. It’s a collection of three long short stories, all of which take place during winter time in Norway and are about vulnerable people (a young single mother, an ex-convict, and a teenager) trying to do their best for the young children in their lives, but with difficulty. The author does a compelling job of exploring their struggles, and in every story there’s an unexpected stranger whose compassion makes a significant difference. A five-star read for me.

🇳🇴 Scandinavian Reading Challenge 2021: A Nordic book you chose for the cover AND A Nordic book in genre you don’t normally read


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.

Virtual Nordic Events for January 2022: Scandinavian Film Festival LA #SFFLA & Nordic Spirit Symposium plus more!

Fireworks from midnight January 1, 2022, in Oslo. Photo credit to my mother.

Happy New Year! 

I was thinking that December 2021 might be my last Virtual Nordic Events post, but with a virtual Scandinavian Film Festival LA around the corner followed by a virtual Nordic Spirit Symposium at the end of the month, I saw the need for at least one more such post.

Mark your calendars for the next three weekends of January to catch “top films from the top of Europe” in the comfort of your own home at the 23rd Scandinavian Film Festival LA with BalticFilmExpo@SFFLA in cooperation with Scandinavia House in New York, NY. All the information is available on the SFFLA website. You can purchase a festival pass (select “2022 Nordic and Baltic Oscar Contenders” for $65) to catch all the screenings or buy individual tickets. Be aware that for some films, the screening options are limited due to restrictions.

Happening at the end of the month, the Nordic Spirit Symposium will offer presentations on a variety of topics including the history of trolls; stories of Finnish immigrant women; the Poetic Edda, stories of Norse gods and heroes; King Harald Fairhair and the control of Norway’s maritime traffic during and before the Viking Age; and animal allies and enemies of Sámi. Participation is free, but registration is required.

Which events look intriguing to you?


Friluftsliv or Lost in the Mountains: Nature Literature from Norway with Torbjørn Ekelund and Are Kalvø (Streaming Now)

Norway is known for its dramatic and beautiful nature, with fjords, mountains and endless hiking trails. Norwegians love to spend time outside, so called friluftsliv. In this event from December 2021, get to know two fantastic authors with different approaches to nature. The event begins with a literary talk with Torbjørn Ekelund, author of In Praise of Paths and A Year in the Woods, and is followed by a stand-up routine by Are Kalvø. Take refuge from the cold weather and curl up on the couch with this inspiring recorded event.

Scandinavian Film Festival LA: Weekend One (Thursday-Sunday, January 6-9)

In cooperation with Scandinavia House in New York, NY, the Scandinavian Film Festival LA will be virtual one more year. Watch individual screenings or purchase a festival pass to catch all the films (select “2022 Nordic and Baltic Oscar Contenders” for $65). The schedule for the first weekend includes Oscar submissions from Latvia (The Pit), Lithuania (Isaac), and Sweden (Tigers).

Vesterheim Bokprat: Lars Mytting’s The Bell in the Lake (Sunday, January 9, 1:00-2:15 p.m. CT)

In the first bokprat discussion of the new year, Dr. Maren Johnson, Luther College’s Associate Professor of Nordic Studies and Torgerson Center for Nordic Studies Director, will be joined by best-selling Norwegian author Lars Mytting for a discussion of The Bell in the Lake. With its broad-canvas narrative about the intersection of religion, superstition, and duty, this novel offers a unique perspective about Scandinavian life.

National Danish Book Club & Literary Event Series: We, the Drowned (Tuesdays, January 11, 10:00 a.m. PT & January 18, 5:00 p.m. PT, Free)

Explore a selection of Danish literature in English translation with a new nationwide book club. Each month a celebrated Danish author will be selected and discussed in two virtual settings: Book Club group discussions and accompanying Literary Events. This month’s selection is We, the Drowned by Carsten Jensen. The Literary Event will take place Tuesday, January 11, 10:00 a.m. PT and the Book Club group discussion will take place Tuesday, January 18, 5:00 p.m. PT.

Virtual Book Talk – Present Tense Machine (Tuesday, January 11, 12:00 p.m. ET, Free)

Join Scandinavia House in New York, NY,  for a virtual book talk on Present Tense Machine with award-winning Norwegian author Gunnhild Øyehaug. “With author Jennifer Offill as moderator, Øyehaug will discuss the exquisite, wistful, and slyly profound new novel, out January 11 in translation by Karl Dickson from Farrar, Straus and Giroux.” This event will take place as a Zoom webinar.

Scandinavia House’s Online Nordic Book Club: Dog Park by Sofi Oksanen (Tuesday, January 11, 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 January 11, they’ll be discussing Dog Park by acclaimed Finnish-Estonian author Sofi Oksanen, who recently joined Scandinavia House for a virtual panel now streaming here.

Scandinavian Film Festival LA: Weekend Two (Thursday-Sunday, January 13-16)

This is the second weekend of the film festival and screening options are a little different due to restrictions placed on some of the movies. The schedule includes Oscar submissions from Iceland (Lamb) and Estonia (On The Water), both of which are available all four days of the weekend by single admission ticket or Festival Pass. Denmark’s Flee and Norway’s The Worst Person in the World are only available to Festival Pass holders in NY, NJ, and CA beginning Saturday, January 15, and remain available to view for 24 hours after start of viewing.

ASI Workshop: Needle Felted Polar Bear (Friday, January 14, 1:00-4:00 p.m. CT)

Join American Swedish Institute and create a cute felted polar bear ready for winter fun in this virtual, afternoon class. Students will follow step-by-step instructions to transform hand dyed wool from the instructor’s own sheep into a felted polar bear that will fit in the palm of your hand. Needle felting is fun, easy and therapeutic, and as your wooly friend comes to life you’ll enjoy conversation with other students and learn more about wool and the sheep who produced your kit materials! Your kit even contains enough wool to make a second polar bear, perfect for continuing with this craft beyond class. Ages 13 and up are welcome to register alongside an adult.

Nordic Spirit Classics’ Second Friday Series — Trolls: A Retrospective Episode 1 (Friday, January 14, 7:30 p.m. PT, Free)

In anticipation of the 23rd annual Nordic Spirit Symposium happening later in the month, the first episode of a trolls retrospective will be given ahead of time. In this first episode, Troll Genesis: From the Hammer to the Cross, Britte Rasmussen Marsh, writer, researcher, and educator in Portland, Oregon, will take audience members back in time to the origin of the universe, human, and troll, according to Norse mythology. How did trolls come to populate the forests of Nordic lands? What were the first recorded interactions between trolls and humans? As medieval times graduated into renaissance, how were these encounters interpreted by the folks who lived them? Participation is free, but registration is required.

Innovators & Inventors Lecture Series: An Innovator Abroad with Rick Steves (Sunday, January 16, 7:00 p.m. CT, Free)

Vesterheim welcomes Rick Steves, a popular public television host and a best-selling guidebook author, to join them in conversation. He is the founder and owner of Rick Steves’ Europe, a travel business with a tour program that brings more than 30,000 people to Europe annually. Rick is also an outspoken activist who encourages Americans to broaden their perspectives through travel. He will talk about travel for the purpose of challenging cultural assumptions, travel to Norway, and his background as a Norwegian American. Register here for the free Zoom link.

The Scandinavian School and Cultural Center’s Language Café! (Sunday, January 16, 5:00-6:00 p.m. PT, Free)

This is a perfect opportunity for you to practice your speaking skills and meet other people who share your passion for all things Nordic. The topic, as well as the event, is free. 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 us, but we 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.

Vesterheim Bokprat (Book Club): We, the Drowned (Rescheduled, Wednesday, January 19, 7:00-8:15 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 (book club) discussing Scandinavian authors and Scandinavian life. Seafaring has long been a part of Scandinavian culture and history. In We, the Drowned, Danish author Carsten Jensen crafts an enlightening tale of family and sailors. Examining the hardships and adventure that come with the work out on the sea, the town of Marstal, and its inhabitants – the waiting mothers and wives, the adventure-seeking young men, and the old who are bound to the sea but trapped on land. Enrollment deadline is January 12.

Scandinavian Film Festival LA: Weekend Three (Thursday-Sunday, January 20-23)

This is the final weekend of the film festival and screening options are a little varied due to restrictions placed on some of the movies. The schedule includes feature documentaries from Sweden (The Most Beautiful Boy in the World), Lithuania (The Jump), and Norway/Denmark (The President), all of which are available all four days of the weekend by single admission ticket or Festival Pass. Finland’s Oscar submission, Compartment No 6, is only available on Saturday and Sunday to Festival Pass holders (select “2022 Nordic and Baltic Oscar Contenders” for $65).

 Virtual Book Talk: Meet the Author – The White Bathing Hut with Thorvald Steen (Saturday, January 22, 10:00-11:00 a.m. PT)

Join National Nordic Museum in Seattle, WA, on January 22 as moderator Dr. Elizabeth DeNoma  discusses The White Bathing Hut, a unique story of a family coming to grips with carrying a serious hereditary illness and a history of denial, concealment, and shame. Thorvald Steen’s literary career began in 1983, and he has since produced a diverse body of work spanning a variety of genres. Translated into 30 languages so far, Steen has received praise and prizes for the quality of his authorship.

The Familiar & The Absurd: Literature from Copenhagen (Saturday, January 22, 11:00 a.m. PT, Free)

Join Scandinavian House in New York, NY, for a virtual Danish literary panel with Copenhagen-based authors Ida Marie Hede, Ursula Scavenius, and Steven Zultanski moderated by editor and writer Tom Conaghan. The authors will discuss their newly translated books each exploring themes of the body and intimacy from unique sci-fi perspectives. This conversation will be recorded and available later to stream on their Virtual Programming page and on their YouTube channel.

Grassroots Resettlement: Refugee Support and Community Creation in Scandinavia (Tuesday, January 25, 10:00 a.m. PT, Free)

The American Scandinavian Foundation invites you to a discussion on refugee support and community creation in Scandinavia. In this panel highlighting the work of local people supporting incoming refugees in Norway and Sweden, you’ll hear from a Norwegian asylum center director, a Swedish community organizer, and two resettled refugees to Norway who have made it their life’s work to advocate for their communities and build bridges between refugees and native-born Scandinavians. This conversation will be recorded and available later to stream on their Virtual Programming page and on their YouTube channel.

Demo: Danish Rye with Erin Swenson-Klatt (Thursday, January  27, 1:00 p.m. CT)

Hearty, healthy Danish rye bread is a Scandinavian standard, and a must-have for open-faced sandwiches. Erin will introduce an easy take on rugbrød, no sourdough starter required. She’ll cover the basics of baking with rye as she works through the steps to create a sweet, whole grain-based rye loaf, and also discuss the possibilities for tackling a sourdough starter-based loaf. Even if you might think you’re not the biggest fan of rye bread, you have to give this recipe a spin! This class is designed as a demonstration, so students can watch the entire process and ask questions before tackling the dishes at home at a later date.

Nordiska Book Club: An Elderly Lady Must Not Be Crossed (Thursday, January 27, 6:00 p.m. PT, Free)

Nordiska in Poulsbo, WA, has launched its own book club for fellow Nordic reading enthusiasts to connect and be in community with one another virtually. For their January book club, they will be reading and discussing An Elderly Lady Must Not Be Crossed by Helene Tursten, translated from the Swedish by Marlaine Delargy. Visit Nordiska’s event page for more information and to register.

From Northern Lights and Winter Nights: A Symposium of Nordic Stories and Culture (Friday, January 28 & Saturday, January 29)

Scandinavian American Cultural and Historical Foundation’s 23rd annual Nordic Spirit Symposium will be a virtual program of live presentations from Scandinavia and the United States on diverse topics including the history of trolls; stories of Finnish immigrant women; the Poetic Edda, stories of Norse gods and heroes; King Harald Fairhair and the control of Norway’s maritime traffic during and before the Viking Age; and animal allies and enemies of Sámi. The program starts Friday evening and continues on Saturday with two sessions. Participation is free, but registration is required.

FamilieTid: Cook-Along with Patrice Johnson (Saturday, January 29, 11:00 a.m.- 12:00 p.m. CT, Free)

Vesterheim’s online FamilieTid this month is a cook-along inspired by the classic heroine Pippi Longstocking! Grab your copy of the book (or click here to order one from Vesterheim’s Museum Store) and then join for a fun afternoon cooking adventure with Nordic Cuisine heroine Patrice Johnson. Patrice is excited to lead this fun intergenerational cooking adventure where you will recall special moments in the book that inspire your cooking of pancakes and meatballs.


LOOKING AHEAD TO FEBRUARY – Register Now!

ASI Workshop: Sámi-Inspired Bracelets with Liz Bucheit (Saturday, February 5, 1:00-4:00 p.m. CT)

The indigenous Sámi people of Scandinavia incorporate elements of their northern landscape such as reindeer leather, braided pewter wire, and sculpted antler to embellish their clothing and handmade items. In this virtual, afternoon class, students will use these materials to make a soft bracelet inspired by the tenntråd (pewter thread) embroidery techniques often found on Sámi handcraft. Students will learn to triple braid coiled pewter wire, then sew the finished braid to a softened reindeer leather strip and finish the bracelet with an antler button. Discover this unique tradition with veteran instructor Liz Bucheit and create a beautiful bracelet in just one day. Open to ages 16 and up. Registration for this kit-based class closes on January 23.

Knife Skills in the Nordic Kitchen with Kristi Bissell (Saturday, February 19, 1:00-3:00 p.m. and 5:00-6:00 p.m. CT)

In this online class hosted by Vesterheim, instructor Kristi Bissell of True North Kitchen will share tips and tricks for slicing, dicing, chopping, and mincing quickly and safely and discuss how to care for your knives. Best of all, at the end of the class, you’ll have a delicious Nordic soup and salad prepped and ready for dinner! Enrollment deadline is February 11.

Sámi-Inspired Bracelets with Norma Refsal (Saturday, February 26, and Sunday, February 27)

In this online class of three sessions over two days offered by Vesterheim, you will learn to make a Sámi-inspired, iconic, three-strand braided bracelet using traditional materials of reindeer leather, pewter thread, and a reindeer antler button. The pewter is nickel-free and contains 4% silver. Each session will be accompanied by a short video that will help you see the hand-work techniques up close. In between each session, you will have time to complete the steps that instructor Norma Refsal has discussed and demonstrated before moving on to the next part of the bracelet construction. The three class sessions are Saturday, February 26 (12:30-2:30 p.m. and 6:00-7:30 p.m. CT) and Sunday, February 27 (1:00-2:30 p.m. CT). Enrollment deadline is February 11.

ASI Workshop: Swedish Meatballs with Patrice Johnson (Friday, February 18, 5:00-7:00 p.m. CT)

Cook up a Friday dinner at home with this fun virtual class! Grab some family members or friends to prep and cook a menu of Swedish meatballs, plus potatoes, lingonberries, quick pickles and a super simple dessert in two hours. Patrice will offer both a meat based and vegetarian version of the main course, and she’ll talk about the differences between Sweden’s preferred meatballs and those from other Scandinavian countries – you may be inspired to seek out even more versions after class! 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 meal.

ASI Workshop: Bake Your Own Semlor with Erin Swenson-Klatt (Friday, February 25, 10:30 a.m. - 2:30 p.m. CT)

This class meets online from 10:30 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. and 1:00-2:30 p.m. CT. Once the provenance of a single holy day, Fat Tuesday, Swedes now enjoy semlor from Christmas until Easter. These sweet, yeasted buns are perfumed with cardamom, stuffed with marzipan, filled with whipped cream, and dusted with powdered sugar, a real treat. Join Erin for a baking day from your own kitchen. Start by mixing and kneading the dough, then step away from your devices while the yeast does its work. After lunch, return to shape, bake, fill, and decorate semlor. Finish with a fika in true Swedish style.

Koselig Nordic Dinner with Patrice Johnson (Sunday, February 27, 4:00 p.m. CT)

The acclaimed Nordic cooking instructor and self-proclaimed “Nordic Food Geek” Patrice Johnson has prepared an inspiring winter Nordic-style meal that will have your family and friends salivating as you reveal this creative menu! Join this intimate cooking class to prepare an appetizer of brandade (Nordic style), a seasonal soup (apple, pumpkin, squash, or gjetost with cider), plus rye crisps, a special surprise dessert, and a cocktail/mocktail to pair with the delicious food! As you are cooking, Patrice always shares her extensive knowledge of Nordic cuisine, revealing both the history of these dishes and her own personal family traditions along the way. The cooking class is sold out. Register by February 18 to join the waiting list.


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 (October & November 2021)

Better late than never in sharing recent reads! October and November were busy months with less time and energy to read and write. Hence the two months are shared together now at the end of December. At least they were very productive months in the sense that I finished three unread Book of the Month selections, checked off two new areas of the world for The Book Girls’ Guide Book Voyage: Read Around the World reading challenge, and made progress on my Scandinavian Reading Challenge. I also felt a great sense of accomplishment when I finished The Eighth Life, a 41-hour audiobook which took me 3 months to finish but was so worth it.

How’s your reading life been lately?


The Eighth Life (for Brilka) by Nino Haratischvili
(Translated from the German by Charlotte Collins and Ruth Martin)
(Narrated by Tavia Gilbert)

This audiobook was phenomenal. I think it’s one of the best experiences I’ve had. Not only was the story engrossing and eye-opening, but also the narrator had such great expression and feeling for each of the many characters. It’s the story of a Georgian family, in particular its women, beginning in the early 1900s until the present day. We get an insider’s view of the tumultuous and at times gruesome history of the Russian Empire/Union of Soviet Socialist Republics/Russia. There’s a secret and dangerous chocolate recipe, love and loss, happiness and heartbreak. I highly recommend it, but it is a big undertaking and commitment.

🌍 Book Voyage: Read Around the World: Eastern Europe & Russia


The Four Winds by Kristin Hannah

I didn’t hesitate to pick this book up since I really enjoyed both The Nightingale and The Great Alone. However, I wasn’t as much a fan of this one, though I still enjoyed it. This one takes readers to the Dust Bowl, Texas in particular, during the Great Depression and follows Elsa as she struggles to make a life for herself and her kids with her husband, whom she was forced to marry, and his family. I did not realize just how hard and tenuous life in the Great Plains was at this time. I admired Elsa and agonized with her about her children’s lives. The insight into life in California for migrants was an unexpected but welcomed reading experience. Nothing was ever easy for Elsa, but she powered through with great perseverance and strength.

🌎 Book Voyage: Read Around the World: North America
📚 #unreadBOTMchallenge


A Nearly Normal Family by M. T. Edvardsson
(Translated from the Swedish by Rachel Willson-Broyles)

This is a legal/psychological thriller that takes place in Lund, Sweden, in the southern end of Sweden. An 18-year-old girl is accused of murdering a man 15 years older than her. Both her father, a pastor, and her mother, a criminal defense attorney, struggle with trying to understand and defend her. I always appreciate a story about complicated family dynamics, and this book has a unique structure as well. The first part is from the father’s perspective which is followed by the daughter’s perspective. Finally, the mother’s perspective is shared. I really enjoyed it, in particular how the whole story was revealed through the different perspectives one after the after.

🇸🇪 Scandinavian Reading Challenge 2021: A Scandinavian book I’ve been meaning to read📚 #unreadBOTMchallenge


Infinite Country by Patricia Engel

This was an unread Book of the Month selection inspired by Hispanic Heritage Month (September 15 to October 15) and The Book Girls’ Book Voyage’s focus on South America in October. It was a short novel that packed a powerful punch. It’s about a mixed status family separated by unfortunate circumstances. The mother and two children are in the United States while the father and one daughter are back in Colombia. The story alternates between the past (shedding light on how the family, who was at one point all together in the US, got to this point) and the present (when the daughter in Colombia is urgently trying to return to her father from a correctional facility so she can be reunited with her mother in the US). I really appreciated the insight into life in Bogotá as well as into the experiences of undocumented in the US.

🌎 Book Voyage: Read Around the World: South America (Colombia)
📚 #unreadBOTMchallenge


Sankofa by Chibundu Onuzo
(Narrated by Sara Powell)

I picked this somewhat on a whim. I wanted something different from what I’d recently been reading, and the setting of London and a West African country intrigued me. It was a surprisingly compelling listen. The narrator’s interpretation of the main character was wonderful. Anna Bain, a mixed race woman in her late 40s, is newly separated from her husband of many years. Her adult daughter is busy with work, and her mother recently died. While going through her mother’s belongings, she discovers a diary belonging to her African father whom she never knew. This discovery takes her to her father’s country, fictional Bamana, where she encounters a variety of new experiences. I really enjoyed this story of new beginnings.


What have you been reading lately?

As always, 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.

Virtual Nordic Events for December 2021: Christmas & Scandinavian Film Festival LA #SFFLA

A new round of virtual events is here, many of them Christmas themed. Looking ahead, the Scandinavian Film Festival LA will be virtual once again! Mark your calendars for the weekends of January 6-9 and January 13-16 and look forward to “top films from the top of Europe” at the 23rd Scandinavian Film Festival LA with BalticFilmExpo@SFFLA. All the information will be available soon on the website and at their Facebook page.

Mindekirken’s Norwegian Language & Culture Program is currently accepting registrations for the next semester of Norwegian classes (January – March 2022). They offer language and literature classes, most online. They also offer an online Norwegian club for youth ages 6 to 10, Den norkse klubben. It is a Norwegian language and culture group that explores the theme sanger og fortellinger (songs and stories) with an informal structure. Activities may include games, songs, art projects, and dramatic play.

And for LA-area readers, the Norwegian Church in San Pedro is hosting in-person Christmas events. See the latest newsletter for details on a Christmas sing-along, Christmas concert, Christmas services, and more. Visit their Facebook page for updates on Christmas events.

Now without further ado, here are the upcoming virtual events. Which look intriguing to you?


The Norwegian American Julekalender 2021 (Ongoing until December 24)

Each day in December, The Norwegian American brings you a special yuletide highlight to make your days merry and bright. Not a subscriber? This is the perfect time to become one! Visit Subscribe to learn more about print and online subscriptions, as well as how to purchase a gift subscription.

Vesterheim’s Virtual Norwegian Christmas Celebration (Ongoing until January 2, Free)

For those who can’t make it to Vesterheim for their in-person Norwegian Christmas Celebration, join in the warm and koselig spirit virtually! Vesterheim is offering 15 different interactive family activities that explore iconic Norwegian Christmas traditions. Download the free GooseChase app (available for both iOS or Android) and search for “Koselig Norwegian Christmas” or enter code number J5GK43 to get started.

Demo: Sweet Treats for the Holiday Pantry with Erin Swenson-Klatt (Friday, December 10, 1:00-2:00 p.m. CT)

Stash away some sweet treats just in time for holiday entertaining and snacking! Erin will draw on up-to-date Scandinavian favorites to demo a handful of goodies to tuck away in your fridge or pantry for the season. She’ll turn to the flavors of saffron, cinnamon, almonds and more to inspire this collection that will keep through the rest of December – if you don’t eat it first!

Nordic Spirit Classics’ Second Friday Series: A Delightful Sankta Lucia Holiday Celebration (Friday, December 10, 7:30 p.m. PT, Free)

Once, long ago, an apparition appeared out of the mists of a lake — a ship with a woman dressed in white and bathed in light on the prow — to distribute food to a starving village. This is the core of the legend of Sankta Lucia that will be told by Dr. Ernst F. Tonsing as an introduction to a beautiful celebration of the saint in song in Gränna, a small community in Sweden. Participation is free, but you must register to receive the link. The monthly series of Nordic Spirit Classics is a virtual program of selected presentations from 21 years of Nordic Spirit Symposia hosted by The Scandinavian American Cultural & Historical Foundation in Thousand Oaks, CA.

Norway House: The 12 Days of Christmas – an Online Silent Auction (December 11-22)

Norway House’s Christmas auction is back on this year! Check back to learn about the fun Norwegian gifts that will be on their list this Christmas season – and bid online using the GiveSmart bidding platform.

Fika på svenska! Swedish Language Table (Saturday, December 11, 10:00-11:30 a.m. CT, Free)

Vill du ha mer svenska i ditt liv? Häng med på det nya programmet – Fika på svenska! Vi träffas virtuellt på den andra lördagen varje månad och diskutera ämnen kring det svenska språket, svensk kultur, historia och mer. Kom och prata svenska med oss! Fika på svenska is a conversation table held entirely in Swedish. New topics each month explore Swedish language, culture, history and connection to Minnesota.

ASI’s Virtual Lucia Sing Along (Saturday, December 11, 2:00–2:30 p.m. CT)

Start your Lucia festivities early with this virtual sing-a-long for the family hosted by American Swedish Institute. ASI’s Lucia Choir Director, Ingrid Aune, will lead everyone in your family through classic Lucia songs.

ASI’s Virtual Lucia Celebration Concert (Sunday, December 12, 2:00–3:00 p.m. CT)

Enjoy ASI’s daytime Lucia Celebration Concert live via Zoom. Celebrate light during the long winter in this special concert featuring the youthful voices of the ASI Lucia Choir! The choir is joined by Lilla Lag, a youth fiddle and cello group. If you can’t tune in live, ASI will record this concert and email it to participants the following week. Participants can enjoy the recording until December 19, 2021.

The Scandinavian School and Cultural Center’s Language Café! (Sunday, December 12, 5:00-6:00 p.m. PT, Free)

This is a perfect opportunity for you to practice your speaking skills and meet other people who share your passion for all things Nordic. The topic, as well as the event, is free. 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 us, but we 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.

National Danish Book Club & Literary Event Series: Babette’s Feast (Tuesday, December 14, 5:00 p.m. PT, Free)

Explore a selection of Danish literature in English translation with a new nationwide book club. Each month a celebrated Danish author will be selected and discussed in two virtual settings: Book Club discussions and accompanying Literary Events. Join the online Book Club in December to discuss Babette’s Feast by Isak Dinesen (Karen Blixen). The accompanying Literary Event will take place December 16.

Demo: Making Glögg at Home with Emily Vikre (Wednesday, December 15, 6:30-7:30 p.m. CT)

Amp up your glögg game in this fun evening workshop with Emily Vikre, co-owner of Vikre Distillery in Duluth, MN. Emily will share her go-to recipes for glögg, Scandinavia’s favorite holiday mulled wine. With a few different approaches, her recipes will have you prepared to celebrate the darkest days of the year with warmth and cheer.

Nordiska Book Club: A Very Scandinavian Christmas (Thursday, December 30, 6:00 p.m. PT, Free)

Nordiska in Poulsbo, WA, has launched its own book club for fellow Nordic reading enthusiasts to connect and be in community with one another virtually. For their December book club, they will be reading and discussing A Very Scandinavian Christmas: The Greatest Nordic Holiday Stories of All Time. The fourth installment of the Very Christmas series by New Vessel Press, this collection of Nordic stories features some old familiar names in Scandinavian literature like Hans Christian Anderson as well as more contemporary authors like Karl Ove Knausgård. Visit Nordiska’s event page for more information and to register.

Virtual Book Talk – Present Tense Machine (Tuesday, January 11, 12:00 p.m. ET, Free)

In January, join Scandinavia House in New York, NY,  for a virtual book talk on Present Tense Machine with award-winning Norwegian author Gunnhild Øyehaug. “With author Jennifer Offill as moderator, Øyehaug will discuss the exquisite, wistful, and slyly profound new novel, out January 11 in translation by Karl Dickson from Farrar, Straus and Giroux.”

Demo: Danish Rye with Erin Swenson-Klatt (Thursday, January  27, 1:00 p.m. CT)

Hearty, healthy Danish rye bread is a Scandinavian standard, and a must-have for open-faced sandwiches. Erin will introduce an easy take on rugbrød, no sourdough starter required. She’ll cover the basics of baking with rye as she works through the steps to create a sweet, whole grain-based rye loaf, and also discuss the possibilities for tackling a sourdough starter-based loaf. Even if you might think you’re not the biggest fan of rye bread, you have to give this recipe a spin! This class is designed as a demonstration, so students can watch the entire process and ask questions before tackling the dishes at home at a later date.


Which December 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.

A Long-Awaited Return to Oslo: A Look at What’s New in 2021

I’m thrilled to have a trip to Oslo on my calendar for this month. It’s the first time I’m back since the summer of 2019, and it’s a rare visit back in a season other than summer. Might I get some snow or even catch a glimpse of the Northern Lights? Both have made an appearance in Oslo already this fall. My highest priority will be spending time with my parents and family, but I do hope to explore some of what’s new in Oslo since my last visit also. There is plenty!

MUNCH

Photo by Einar Aslaksen / Munchmuseet

Top of my wishlist is a visit to MUNCH, the new Munch museum in the Bjørvika harbor area of Oslo dedicated to the Norwegian artist Edvard Munch. It opened less than a month ago, and social media and news have been abuzz with the excitement of the long awaited opening. It’s been a work-in-progress since 2008. I’m intrigued by the architecture and location and eager to see it in person. Luckily, my father was quick to become a MUNCH member and has already secured tickets for a visit while I’m there. 😱

Diechman Bjørvika

Photo credit: Deichman Bjørvika

Bjørvika is not only home to the new MUNCH museum but also the new main public library Diechman Bjørvika (opened in March 2020) with its similarly striking architecture and an award-winning interior. In addition to extensive book collections, a movie theater, media workshops, gaming zones, lounges, work areas, a cafe, and a restaurant, it is home to the manuscripts of the Future Library, which will remain unpublished until 2114. Diechman Bjørvika was just named the best library in the world. Another must-see for me.

The Rose Castle

Photo by Sandbox / Roseslottet

Also on my list of Oslo must-sees for this visit is Roseslottet, or the Rose Castle, at Frognerseteren which opened in 2020. It is a large-scale art installation that commemorates 80 years since the German attack on Norway in 1940 and the 75th anniversary of Norway’s liberation in 1945. It “aims to tell the story of the German occupation of Norway and the basic principles of democracy, rule of law, and humanism that were then put out of force.” It is on display until December 31, 2022. Since it is higher up in elevation, this might be my chance to experience some snow while home.

National Museum of Art, Architecture and Design

Photo by Borre Hostland / Nasjonalmuseet

Another recent addition to the museum scene in Oslo is the new National Museum (Nasjonalmuseet) by Rådhusplassen/Akerbrygge opening June 11, 2022. It will be the largest art museum in the Nordic countries. I may not be able to view the exhibits quite yet, but the museum’s unique architectural characteristics will be admired, in particular The Light Hall which definitely stands out in the cityscape.

Oslo is a constantly evolving city and I’m impressed with how much has changed in the last several years. The pandemic doesn’t seem to have slowed it down, and I’m eagerly awaiting my return home to see what’s new.

Are you a first time visitor to Oslo? See my original page Oslo Activities and Attractions and my follow-up post The New and Less Traveled Oslo for suggestions of what to see when visiting Oslo and then add and substitute as you see fit. I’d love to hear what’s on your wishlist to see in Oslo.

Virtual Nordic Events for November 2021 + an LA Norwegian Christmas Market

A new round of virtual events is here. Many institutions are transitioning back to in-person events, but they have found that virtual events have their place, too. Read on to learn of the many opportunities to cook, read, watch, make, learn, and discuss virtually with others from around the country.

On November 10, registration opens for Vesterheim Folk Art School’s winter quarter (January-March 2022). Find online classes in the fields of Fiber Arts, Weaving, Woodworking, Youth & Family, Rosemaling & Painting, Nordic Cooking, Knifemaking & Metalwork, Heritage & Language, and Jewelry. View classes here and start making your plans. Spots fill quickly!

For my local LA readers, the annual Julebasar, or Christmas Market, hosted by the Norwegian Church in San Pedro returns Friday, November 12, through Sunday, November 21. What used to be just a weekend affaire before the pandemic is now (once again) a week-long opportunity to stock up on Norwegian Christmas food essentials, treats, and fresh baked goods, as well as Christmas decorations and gifts. Apparently, this year will see the return of the café and raffle as well!


Virtual Events

17th of May Pin Design Competition
(Until November 15)

Help the Seattle 17th of May Committee design the commemorative 17th of May pin for 2022. Enter your design in the shape of a shield showcasing a Norwegian flag and celebrating Norway’s culture and heritage in the Pacific Northwest. The winning design will be the festival’s official pin. You can win five pins and a family membership to the National Nordic Museum in Seattle. Find pins from previous years, all of the contest rules, and how to submit your design by clicking here. Submit your design by Monday, November 15, 2021.

Scandinavian Fest: Virtual Holiday Market
(November 12-14)

Scandinavian Fest brings Nordic shops and businesses from around the globe together in one online location. Join the Virtual Holiday Market on Facebook 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.

2021 Nordic Knitting Conference — A Celebration of Nordic Fabric Arts (November 12-14)

Perfect your skills and learn new techniques at the much-awaited biennial Nordic Knitting Conference. The 2021 conference features classes on knitting, felting, and weaving taught by renowned instructors from the Nordic countries and North America. Spanning two weekends, the keynote lecture and the majority of classes offered November 5-7 will be on-site at the National Nordic Museum in Seattle, WA, and classes offered November 12-14 will be virtual live-streaming events. The keynote lecture will also be available online beginning November 12.

Nordic Spirit Classics’ Second Friday Series: The Viking Impact on England and Europe (Friday, November 12, 7:30 p.m. PT, Free)

The Scandinavian American Cultural & Historical Foundation in Thousand Oaks, CA, hosts a monthly series of Nordic Spirit Classics, a virtual program of selected presentations from 21 years of Nordic Spirit Symposia. In November, Nordic Spirit Classics presents “The Viking Impact on England and Europe” by Dr. Richard Hall, former Director of the Jorvik Viking Centre and of the York, England, excavations. Participation is free, but you must register to receive the link.

Fika på svenska! Swedish Language Table
(Saturday, November 13, 10:00-11:30 a.m. CT, Free)

Vill du ha mer svenska i ditt liv? Häng med på det nya programmet – Fika på svenska! Vi träffas virtuellt på den andra lördagen varje månad och diskutera ämnen kring det svenska språket, svensk kultur, historia och mer. Kom och prata svenska med oss! Fika på svenska is a conversation table held entirely in Swedish. New topics each month explore Swedish language, culture, history and connection to Minnesota.

Young Children & Teachers’ Experiences During COVID: Perspectives from the U.S. and Scandinavia (Saturday, November 13, 10:00 a.m. ET)

In this program, teachers from Scandinavia and the United States will discuss their experiences teaching in very different contexts during the pandemic, ranging from a forest school to a NYC public school to a small private school. What were the challenges? What have we learned from all of this? What do we want to hold on to from this period?

Introduction to Finnish
(Sunday, November 14, 12:45-2:45 p.m. CT)

Are you curious about the Finnish language, but not yet ready to commit to a multi-date class? Are you looking for a quick and low-pressure way to get excited about a new language? This two-hour 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.

Introduction to Swedish
(Sunday, November 14, 3:00-5:00 p.m. CT)

Are you curious about learning Swedish, but not ready yet to commit to a multi-date class? This two-hour introductory workshop is the perfect way to get a feel for the language — pick up a bit of grammar and learn how to pronounce some words as part of basic conversation.

Vesterheim’s FamilieTid: Scandinavian Storytelling!
(Sunday, November 14, 1:00 p.m. CT, Free)

Gather the family together and join author, actress, and oral storyteller Rose Arrowsmith for an hour of Scandinavian stories! Rose’s imaginative style will bring traditional tales to life and delight participants of every age.

The Scandinavian School and Cultural Center’s Language Café!
(Sunday, November 14, 6:00-7:00 p.m. PT, Free)

This is a perfect opportunity for you to practice your speaking skills and meet other people who share your passion for all things Nordic. The topic, as well as the event, is free. 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 us, but we 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? We would love for you to

Virtual Book Talk – The Book of Reykjavik
(Tuesday, November 16, 2:00 p.m. ET, Free)

Join Scandinavia House in New York, NY,  for a virtual book talk on the new fiction anthology The Book of Reykjavik: A City in Short Fiction out November 11 from Comma Press. Authors Kristín Eiríksdóttir and Björn Halldórsson and translator Larissa Kyzer will discuss the novel and its translation, as well as the themes explored in the book, with moderator Halla Þórlaug Óskarsdóttir.

National Danish Book Club: Victim 2117 by Jussi Adler-Olsen
(Tuesday, November 16, 5:00 p.m. PT, Free)

Explore a selection of Danish literature in English translation with a new nationwide book club. Each month a celebrated Danish author will be selected and discussed in two virtual settings: a Book Club discussion and an accompanying Literary Event. Join the online Book Club in November to discuss Jussi Adler-Olsen’s Victim 2117. The accompanying Literary Event will take place November 23. Register here.

Writing as a Vehicle for Change: Swedish Women Authors
(First Class: Tuesday, November 16, 5:30-7:00 p.m. CT)

Texts in translation by Swedish women writers, from Fredrika Bremer to Lena Andersson, will be discussed in their historical and social contexts, reflecting on emancipation, social rights, class and gender over four weeks. Discussion will take place in English. Materials will be provided by the instructor.

Virtual Travel Seminar: Skiing Norway
(Wednesday, November 17, 6:30 p.m. CT)

During a time when international travel is limited for all but necessary travel, this travel seminar will bring a little piece of Norway to you. Magne Hatlevik, a Møre og Romsdal native, will provide you with a taste of the sights and culture surrounding Norwegian downhill ski culture. In this two-hour seminar, he will share tips about what you need to bring and explore destinations such as Lillehammer, Holmenkollen and a few side excursions to Iceland and Denmark as well.

Vesterheim “TVprat” (TV Club): Occupied
(Wednesday, November 17, 7:00-8:15 p.m. CT, Free)

With a twist on Vesterheim’s monthly bokprat (book club) discussions of Scandinavian authors and Scandinavian life, join Dr. Maren Johnson, Luther College’s Associate Professor of Nordic Studies and Torgerson Center for Nordic Studies Director, for a “TVprat” discussion of the acclaimed Norwegian TV series Okkupert (Occupied). Set in a future where Europe is in an energy crisis after Norway has opted out of oil and gas production because of their environmental impact, Russia and the rest of the European community respond to Norway’s dramatic decision. Enrollment Deadline: November 10.

Repatriation & Restitution in the Nordic Countries
(Thursday, November 18, 12:00 p.m. ET)

Join Scandinavia House in New York, NY, for this conversation in which panelists Martin Appelt (Senior Researcher and Curator, National Museum of Denmark), Eero Ehanti (Head of the Conservation Department, National Museum of Finland), Eeva-Kristiina Harlin (Archeologist & Osteoarchaeologist), and Daniel Thorleifsen (Director, Greenland National Museum and Archives) will discuss topics including the restitution of Greenlandic and Sámi collections from the National Museum of Denmark and National Museum of Finland, respectively, as well as the longer-term impacts of restitution and repatriation of museum collections.

Nordiska Book Club: The Northern Lights
(Thursday, November 18, 6:00 p.m. PT, Free)

Nordiska in Poulsbo, WA, has launched its own book club for fellow Nordic reading enthusiasts to connect and be in community with one another virtually. For their November book club, they will be reading The Northern Lights by Lucy Jago about Norwegian scientist Kristian Birkeland who dedicated his career to understanding the aurora borealis as a natural phenomenon. Visit Nordiska’s event page for more information and to register.

Demo: Savory Standards for the Holiday Pantry
(Friday, November 19, 1:00-2:00 p.m. CT)

It’s time to fill up that holiday pantry with some make ahead recipes using favorite holiday flavors! Erin Swenson-Klatt will draw on up-to-date Scandinavian standards to demo a handful of goodies to tuck away in your fridge or pantry as we start the holiday season. Throughout the class she’ll offer lots of inspiration for how to use these recipes for snacks, apps and as part of the dinner table. This is a live virtual class taught over Zoom. This class is designed as a demonstration, so students can watch the entire process and ask questions before tackling the dishes at home at a later date.

Skål to Aquavit
(Friday, November 19, 7:00-8:00 p.m. CT)

Aquavit is a traditional Scandinavian spirit with centuries of tradition and celebration. Each of the Scandinavian countries has their own preferred style(s) of aquavit, and people also often make their own homemade versions. In this class we will learn about aquavit and a handful of Norwegian, Danish, and Swedish aquavit traditions (including drinking songs!). Participants will choose herbs and spices to start their own aquavit steeping and will learn two aquavit cocktail recipes. Enrollment Deadline: November 12.

National Danish Literary Event: Victim 2117 by Jussi Adler-Olsen
(Tuesday, November 23, 10:00 a.m. PT, Free)

The Literary Event for Victim 2117 is on November 23 and will be an interview with Jussi Adler-Olsen. Moderator Desiree Ohrbeck will select some questions from readers to ask the author. Submit your questions here by November 8. To receive a reminder for the literary event, register here.

Workshop: Needle Felted Reindeer
(Friday, November 26, 1:00-4:00 p.m. CT)

Join the American Swedish Institute to create a felted reindeer ready to take off for the North Pole. Students will follow step-by-step instructions to transform hand dyed wool from the instructor’s own sheep into a felted reindeer complete with antlers and bell! This class builds on basic needle felting skills and is appropriate for students who have previous needle felting experience. Ages 13 and up are welcome to register alongside an adult. This is a live virtual class taught over Zoom. Kits ($25 value) are included in the class fee. Each kit includes everything you need for needle felting a reindeer. Registration for this kit-based class closes November 15.

Vesterheim Bokprat (Book Club): We, the Drowned
(Registration Deadline: December 1)

Join Dr. Maren Johnson, Luther College’s Associate Professor of Nordic Studies and Torgerson Center for Nordic Studies Director, on Wednesday, December 15, 7:00-8:15 p.m. CT, for a discussion of We, the Drowned by Danish author Carsten Jensen, translated from the Danish by Charlotte Barslund with Emma Ryder. An enlightening tale of family and sailors, it examines the hardships and adventure that come with the work out on the sea, the town of Marstal, and its inhabitants – the waiting mothers and wives, the adventure-seeking young men, and the old who are bound to the sea but trapped on land. Enrollment Deadline: December 1.

The Scandinavian School’s Nordic Book Club: The Nordic Theory of Everything by Anu Partanen (Sunday, December 5, 4:00-5:00 p.m. PT, Free)

Jjoin The Scandinavian School in San Francisco for a discussion about The Nordic Theory of Everything by Finnish author Anu Partanen.

Scandinavia House’s Online Nordic Book Club: The Pastor by Hanne Ørstavik (Tuesday, December 7, 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 December 7, they’ll be discussing The Pastor by award-winning Norwegian novelist Hanne Ørstavik, who recently joined Scandinavia House for a virtual panel now streaming here.


Which November 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 & September 2021): #WITmonth

I devoted August along with September to reading women in translation (#WITmonth) from outside Scandinavia, thus unfortunately making little progress on my Scandinavian Reading Challenge these last couple of months. This year’s #WITmonth selections brought me all over the world — Basque Country in Spain, Gulf of Finland, Moroccan countryside, working class neighborhood in Thailand, and the former Soviet republic of Georgia — through the eyes of female authors intimately familiar with their regions. Their perspectives provided a deeper look at the history and culture of these countries, many of which I have little knowledge of.

What have you been reading lately?


The Silence of the White City (Trilogy of the White City #1) by Eva García Sáenz 🇪🇸📖 (Translated from the Spanish by Nick Caistor)

I loved how this crime fiction novel transported me to Basque Country in northern Spain. A police inspector and his partner are assigned to investigate a series of brutal, ritualistic murders that resemble ones from 20 years ago. However, the perpetrator of those murders is still behind bars. Is he involved from within or has he been wrongly imprisoned? The storyline was complex and layered, jumping back and forth in time, and incorporated elements of the region’s traditions and mythology, resulting in a very engaging read. I’m eager to read book 2 in the series!

 

Book Voyage: Read Around the World: Western Europe (Spain)


The Summer Book by Tove Jansson 🇫🇮📖
(Translated from the Swedish by Thomas Teal)

This was a very enjoyable book, a perfect quiet, summer read. It’s a series of vignettes about a very young girl and her elderly grandmother during summer time on a remote island in the Gulf of Finland. Their relationship is very sweet. The girl is at times temperamental and demanding, but the grandmother is always understanding and straightforward, at times playful and creative. They discuss and handle topics ranging from the inconsequential to the very significant. The island and nature play equally important roles in the story as the girl and her grandmother. Sometimes this is exactly the type of book you need.

I felt a special connection to the book because I grew up spending summers on an island along the eastern coast of Norway, not as remote as this one, but somewhat rustic. Reading this book brought back many warm memories from my island summers as a child.

Book Voyage: Read Around the World: Book Set on an Island (Finland)


In the Country of Others: A Novel by Leïla Slimani 🇲🇦📖
(Translated from the French by Sam Taylor)

This is the story of French woman Mathilde who falls in love with Amine, a Moroccan soldier fighting for France in World War II. They marry, move to an inherited farm in Morocco, and raise a family during the time when colonial Morocco is fighting for independence from France. Mathilda struggles with their isolated life on the rocky farm in a tough climate. Also, raising two interracial children is not easy in a community where she is not accepted fully by anyone. The story weaves seamlessly between the different characters’ perspectives making this a compelling look at colonial Morocco in the 1950s. This appears to be the first in a planned trilogy, and I look forward to seeing how Mathilda’s life and those of her children evolve in the future.

Book Voyage: Read Around the World: Africa (Morocco)


The Last Exiles: A Novel by Ann Shin 🇰🇵📖

This novel was a departure from my books by women in translation these last two months, but I was inspired by an upcoming author chat on Instagram hosted by @owlslittlelibrary. The story of a young university couple from very different backgrounds and their defection from North Korea to China was an intriguing one. I appreciated the insight into brokers, the black market, human trafficking, and the general plight of illegal immigrants in China. However, I felt the love story between the couple didn’t warrant the woman’s actions, and I felt their journeys were too easy and quick. Their experiences in China, however, were more descriptive and plausible, and that aspect of the book made a great impression on me.

Book Voyage: Read Around the World: North Asia (North Korea)


Bright by Duanwad Pimwana 🇹🇭📖
(Translated from the Thai by Mui Poopoksakul)

This book has been on my TBR for #WITmonth for a couple of years now, and I’m so glad I finally checked it off. It reminded me a bit of Tove Jansson’s The Summer Book that I recently read in that it also is a series of vignettes about a young child and their experiences with people around them. In this case, five-year-old Kampol, or Boy as he’s known to those around him, is abandoned by his parents outside their run-down apartment building in their working class neighborhood in Thailand. The community steps up and takes turns housing and feeding him. The reader meet all sorts of characters, young and old, who help Boy overcome his abandonment and sadness. It’s a heartwarming book that gives intriguing glimpses into the lives of a Thai working class neighborhood.

Book Voyage: Read Around the World: South Asia (Thailand)


The Eighth Life (for Brilka) by Nino Haratischvili
(Translated from the German by Charlotte Collins and Ruth Martin)
(Narrated by Tavia Gilbert)

I’m a little over half way through the book but that is the equivalent of about 2 books! This is a long one, 944 pages or 41 hours of listening, but it’s extremely engrossing and I’m always eager to return to it. I’m grateful that hoopla offers the audiobook because then I can just keep reborrowing it until I’m done. It’s the story of a Georgian family, in particular its women, beginning in the early 1900s. We get an insider’s view of the tumultuous history of Russian Empire/Union of Soviet Socialist Republics/Russia. Niza, born in 1974, is telling the family’s story to her niece Brilka starting with their great grandmother Stasia. If long books or audiobooks are your thing, I highly recommend this one even though I’m not done yet.

Book Voyage: Read Around the World: Eastern Europe & Russia


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.

Virtual Nordic Events for October 2021

Virtual events are still going strong despite reopening across the country. This month continues to see plenty of opportunities to cook, read, watch, make, learn, and discuss virtually with others from around the country. What interests you?


17th of May Pin Design Competition (October 1 – November 15)

With a new year comes a new 17th of May commemorative pin design. This year help the Seattle 17th of May Committee design the commemorative pin for 2022. Enter your design in the shape of a shield showcasing a Norwegian flag and celebrating Norway’s culture and heritage in the Pacific Northwest. The winning design will be the festival’s official pin. You can win five pins and a family membership to the National Nordic Museum in Seattle. Find pins from previous years, contest rules, and how to submit your design by clicking here. Submit your design by Monday, November 15, 2021.

FamilieTid: Learn Folk Dances with The Nordic Dancers of Decorah (Saturdays, October 2, 9, 16, and 23, 2:00 p.m. CT, Free)

Gather the family together on Saturdays in October to learn traditional folk dances as performed by the Nordic Dancers from Decorah, Iowa. Each Saturday, a new video will be released. You’ll learn about the history of each dance, the dance steps, and then be able to dance along with the Nordic Dancers from your home. Click here to subscribe to Vesterheim’s YouTube channel so you don’t miss any of the dances.

Leif Eriksson International Festival 2021 (October 5 – 17, Free)

This year’s festival will be a hybrid of in-person and virtual events. Leif Eriksson Day on October 9 will be celebrated with a short virtual appearance by the beloved Norwegian singer and actor Hanne Krogh, who will be coming to Minneapolis for the festival in 2022. Krogh is one of Norway’s most celebrated stars. Other highly anticipated virtual events are a tour of Norwegian Emigrant Museum in Hamar, Norway, and a concert with mother-son duo Elizabeth and Trygve Misvær with Sámi songs, stories, and joik, a unique form of musical expression for the Sámi people. View the program here.

Nordic Book Club: Wild Swims (Tuesday, October 5, 5:00-6:00 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 October 5, they’ll be discussing the new story collection Wild Swims by Danish author Dorthe Nors (Karate Chop; Mirror, Shoulder, Signal), out in translation by Misha Hoekstra from Graywolf Press.

Nordic Spirit Classics’ Second Friday Series: Leif Erikson (Friday, October 8, 7:30 p.m. PT, Free)

The Scandinavian American Cultural & Historical Foundation in Thousand Oaks, CA, is hosting a monthly series of Nordic Spirit Classics, a virtual program of selected presentations from 21 years of Nordic Spirit Symposia. In October, join to learn about Leif Erikson. Leif’s story of how he discovered America for Europeans is one that includes encountering polar bears, being stranded on an island, being tutored by King Olaf, and enjoying feasts of salmon and wine in his longhouse in the New World. He then sailed home to Greenland and into legend. Dr. Ernst F. Tonsing, Professor Emeritus of California Lutheran University, will recount the amazing legend of Leifr Eiriksson in anticipation of the national commemoration of the Scandinavian hero the next day. Participation is free, but you must register to receive the link.

Vesterheim Benefit Auction (October 9 – 17)

The auction includes a variety of beautifully handcrafted folk art, Norwegian sweaters, a Viking River Cruise, and a Colorado Getaway, along with many additional unique items. Proceeds from the auction will benefit Vesterheim’s Folk Art School, which has provided classes since 1967 in fiber arts, woodworking, painting, cooking, jewelry, blacksmithing, knifemaking, and more. Vesterheim’s annual Benefit Auction items are ready for viewing! Check out the pieces at www.biddingforgood.com/VEST-AUCTION, register your account, and get ready to start bidding from anywhere in the world.

Fika på svenska! Swedish Language Table (Saturday, October 9, 10:00-11:30 a.m. CT, Free)

Vill du ha mer svenska i ditt liv? Häng med på det nya programmet – Fika på svenska! Vi träffas virtuellt på den andra lördagen varje månad och diskutera ämnen kring det svenska språket, svensk kultur, historia och mer. Kom och prata svenska med oss! Fika på svenska is an online conversation table held entirely in Swedish. New topics each month explore Swedish language, culture, history and connection to Minnesota.

Book Talk: Dog Park (Sunday, October 10, 3:00 p.m. ET, Free)

On October 10, join Scandinavia House in New York, NY, and Politics & Prose in Washington, D.C., for a virtual book talk with acclaimed Finnish-Estonian author Sofi Oksanen on her new novel Dog Park. With moderator Bethanne Patrick, she’ll discuss the writing of the novel, an international bestseller, out in translation by Owen Frederick Witesman from Knopf on September 21.

Visit Binkhaven! (Sunday, October 10, 1:00-2:00 p.m. CT, Free)

Binkhaven is a real-life Norwegian fantasy nestled in Door County, Wisconsin. Join Vesterheim for a conversation with owner Elliot Taillon about the story behind Binkhaven as well as a guided tour of this one-of-a-kind historic cottage that is filled to the brim with one of the biggest collections of American rosemaling in the country. Not only is the main building designed in a Nordic theme, two of the cottages on the property were imported from Telemark, Norway!

Scandinavian Fall Baking Favorites: Swedish Apple Cake and Homemade Apple Donuts with Kristi Bissell (Sunday, October 10, 3:00-4:30 p.m. CT)

Join Vesterheim and Kristi Bissel of True North Kitchen for an afternoon of delicious fall-themed baking! Begin with Swedish Apple Cake, baked with a hint of cardamom and topped with caramelized apples, and then Kristi will share a recipe for one of her family’s favorite autumn treats . . . Easy Baked Apple Donuts! This Vesterheim cooking class is designed as a small-group cook-along and encourages exchange between the instructor and students in order to build community around food traditions. Participants will be provided with a shopping list and recipes prior to class.

Kindertransport Virtual Exhibition Tour (Tuesday, October 12, 5:00-6:00 p.m. CT)

Explore American Swedish Institute’s special exhibition Kindertransport – Rescuing Children on the Brink of War during a live, virtual tour via Zoom. Each week will feature an ASI staff member and a special guest. Participants can look forward to a distinct, highly interactive tour led by experts each month. Throughout this series, each speaker will provide a unique perspective on the exhibit’s content. October 12: Special guest Rabbi Alexander Davis, Senior Rabbi of Beth El Synagogue in St. Louis Park, MN, will use themes from Judaism to bring a faith-based approach to this story.

National Danish Book Club: The Employees (Tuesday, October 12, 8:00 p.m. ET, Free)

Explore a selection of Danish literature in English translation with this new nationwide book club. Each month a celebrated Danish author will be selected and discussed in a virtual setting via Zoom. Book Club Discussions will be moderated by Faculty Associate Nete Schmidt from the University of Wisconsin – Madison. Former Danish lecturer, Désirée Ohrbeck, will facilitate accompanying Literary Events. Current and classic works of Danish literature will be read and discussed, accompanied by author and special guest interviews. Join the online book club on October 12 to discuss Olga Ravn’s The Employees (De ansatte) translated by Martin Aitken.

Smørbrød with Patrice Johnson (Wednesday, October 13, 5:30-7:00 p.m. CT)

Join celebrated Nordic cookbook author and food historian Patrice Johnson (AKA the Nordic Food Geek) to explore the rich tradition of Nordic-style open-face sandwiches. From Sweden (smörgåsar) to Norway (smørbrød) to Denmark (smørrebrød) these sandwiches bring together some of the Nordic region’s best flavors, colors, and ingredients. You will prepare several classic sandwiches and even some with modern twists and you will learn the crucial elements that make a perfect smørbrød. This Vesterheim cooking class is designed as a small-group cook-along and encourages exchange between the instructor and students in order to build community around food traditions.

Taikon – The Untold Story of a Roma Freedom Fighter (Thursday, October 14, 6:00 p.m. CT, Free)

Join American Swedish Institute for a special talk by Lawen Mohtadi, the 2021 Out of Scandinavia Artist-in-Residence in the Department of Scandinavian Studies at Gustavus Adolphus College, on the Swedish civil rights activist and author, Katarina Taikon (1932-1995). She debuted in 1963 with the groundbreaking book Gypsy Woman, which also became the starting point for the struggle against institutional racism against the Roma minority in Sweden. Her most famous work is Katitzi, a 13-volume autobiographical children’s book series, that is widely read by generations of children and is today a part of the Swedish literary canon.

Twin Cities Jewish Film Festival: Kindertransports to Sweden (October 18-22)

The 2021 Virtual Twin Cities Jewish Film Festival includes the film Kindertransports to Sweden, which is the subject of the American Swedish Institute’s current featured exhibition. The film sheds light on the rescue effort that brought Jewish children from Nazi Germany to Sweden between 1938 and 1939, in particular highlighting four survivors.

The Pastor — Virtual Book Talk with Hanne Ørstavik and Rebecca Dinerstein Knight (Tuesday, October 19, 1:00 p.m. ET, Free)

Join Scandinavia House in New York to celebrate the release of the new novel The Pastor in a virtual book talk with award-winning Norwegian novelist Hanne Ørstavik (Love). With moderator Rebecca Dinerstein Knight, Ørstavik will discuss her new release, out that day in translation by Martin Aitken from Archipelago Books.

Demo: Mouthwatering Mushrooms with Erin Swenson-Klatt (Thursday, October 21, 1:00-2:00 p.m. CT)

Swedes love mushrooms – a quintessential fall ingredient in many dishes. Join Swedish American Institute for this demo where Erin will talk a little about the tradition of mushroom foraging in Sweden and demonstrate a couple of recipes that highlight these forest treasures. Even if you find them in the grocery store instead of the woods, you’ll know just what to do with those wonderful svampar (mushrooms). This class is designed as a demonstration, so students can watch the entire process and ask questions before tackling the dishes at home at a later date.

Voices of Sapmi: Yoiking (October 24, 11:00 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. PT)

What is yoik? What does it feel like to yoik? What can it reveal to us about ourselves and our world? In this one-hour Zoom class, Sapmi musician, composer, and actor Ingor Ántte Áilu Gaup (Ailloš) will introduce participants to yoiking, the traditional singing of the Sapmi people. The Sami are the indigenous people of Sapmi, which extends across Northern Scandinavia and Northwestern Russia. More than simply a “style of singing,” yoiking is an ancient practice that reflects a way of being and relating to the world that is rare in modern times.

Kindertransport Virtual Exhibition Tour (Tuesday, October 26, 5:00-6:00 p.m. CT)

Explore American Swedish Institute’s special exhibition Kindertransport – Rescuing Children on the Brink of War during a live, virtual tour via Zoom. Each week will feature an ASI staff member and a special guest. Participants can look forward to a distinct, highly interactive tour led by experts each month. Throughout this series, each speaker will provide a unique perspective on the exhibit’s content. October 26: Special guest Byron Nordstrom, Professor Emeritus in History and Scandinavian Studies at Gustavus Adolphus College, will provide a tour rooted in historical examination. He will also explore the Kindertransport experience from a Swedish perspective.

Vesterheim Bokprat (Book Club): Viking Economics (Wednesday, October 27, 7:00-8:15 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 (book club) discussing Scandinavian authors and Scandinavian life. Viking Economics: How the Scandinavians Got It Right-and How We Can, Too by George Lakey gives the non-economist the tools they need to examine, compare, and contrast the economic systems used in developed countries today. Lakey primarily compares the “Viking” or Nordic model with the United States. He gives all the history and statistics one needs to understand and form opinions while never boring the reader. Lakey brings in his personal experience and conversations with his Norwegian in-laws that stimulate the broader discussion.

Murder and Mayhem with Jo Nesbø (Thursday, October 28, 4:00 p.m. PT, Free)

A master of mystery and suspense, Jo Nesbø has shocked readers worldwide with his chilling Harry Hole novels — The Redeemer and The Snowman, and other fast-paced thrillers like The Kingdom. Now he’s back with a sinister collection: The Jealousy Man and Other Stories, filled with twisted minds, unscrupulous lovers, and heartrending fate. Avenue Magazine praises: “Our current love affair with Nordic noir continues unabated, and the Norwegian writer Jo Nesbø is a virtuoso of the genre.” Nesbø’s atmospheric books with twists that keep readers’ guessing have sold more than 45 million copies worldwide.
This event is part of the Fall for the Book Festival, which runs from October 14-31.

Nordiska Book Club: The Bell in the Lake (Thursday, October 28, 6:00 p.m. PT, Free)

Nordiska in Poulsbo, WA, has launched its own book club for fellow Nordic reading enthusiasts to connect and be in community with one another virtually. Expand your Nordic reading repertoire and discuss a variety of written works the last Thursday of each month. In October, they will be discussing the Norwegian novel The Bell in the Lake (Søsterklokkene) by Lars Mytting in translation by Deborah Dawkin. Visit Nordiska’s event page for more information and to register.

4th Annual Sámi Film Fest (Saturday, October 30, 11:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m. PST)

This year, National Nordic Museum in Seattle, WA, is partnering with Scandinavia House in New York and the Pacific Sámi Searvi in Seattle for this must-see hybrid event, which explores Sámi values, visions, and stories through film. There will be an opportunity to participate both in-person and virtually from anywhere in the world. The program will include a variety of contemporary Sámi documentaries and short films, as well as panel discussions with the filmmakers.

Online Nordic Book Club: The Memory Theater (Tuesday, November 2, 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 November 2, they’ll be discussing The Memory Theater by Swedish author Karin Tidbeck (Amatka; Jagannath). The author discussed the novel this past February in a virtual panel now available here.


Which October 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 2021)

I’m back with my monthly round-up of what I’ve been reading lately inspired by Modern Mrs. Darcy’s monthly Quick Lit where readers share short and sweet reviews of what they’ve been reading lately. All the books didn’t quite hit the mark for me last month, but the variety in both setting and genre kept it interesting.

As I write and post this, I’m enjoying books in translation by women outside of Scandinavia for August’s Women in Translation Month. I’ve got my stack of options (see my Instagram post, if you’re curious) and will read what appeals to me when I’ve finished a book. In the background of my reads, I’m listening to the 40-hour long The Eighth Life (For Brilka) by Georgian author Nino Haratischvili, translated from the German by Charlotte Collins and Ruth Martin and narrated by Tavia Gilbert. I am engrossed in this multigenerational family saga that begins at the start of the 20th century and takes place mostly in Georgia and Russia. So far a great story and fabulous narration of tumultuous history through the eyes of women.

What have you been reading lately?


Malibu Rising by Taylor Jenkins Reid 🇺🇸📖

This was my first Taylor Jenkins Reid story. I was intrigued by the local setting of Malibu in the 1980s, and it seemed like the perfect summer read. Unfortunately, it didn’t quite meet my expectations. I definitely enjoyed the first half. This is when the Riva family is introduced by alternating between the past when June and Mick meet and begin their family (starting in the 1950s) and the present (1983) when the Riva siblings are about to host the annual not-to-be-missed celebrity end-of-summer party. The mother and siblings did not have an easy life with the famous musician father absent for years. I enjoyed seeing how they persevered and supported each other. The second half which featured the party appealed to me much less. There was too much alcohol, drugs, sex, and out of control behavior. It got to be too much for me.


Sølvveien (The Silver Road) by Stina Jackson 🇸🇪📖
(Translated from the Swedish to the Norwegian by Inge Ulrik Gundersen)

(This book is available in English translation by Susan Beard.) It’s billed as crime fiction (won Best Swedish Crime Novel, 2018), but I felt it was more a story of loss and grief due to crime. It’s a dual narrative set in a remote and isolated part of northern Sweden which plays a significant role in the story. Lelle’s 17-year-old daughter disappeared 3 years ago. His marriage dissolved, and he is being torn apart from the inside. He has obsessively spent summer nights driving The Silver Road, where his daughter disappeared, looking for her in abandoned and hidden areas. Meanwhile, teenager Meja and her dysfunctional mother have moved to the area to live with a man the mother had met online. Over time Lelle’s and Meja’s paths cross. It was a very engaging read with main characters I cared about. The ending, however, was somewhat predictable in my opinion, but the visit to this community in northern Sweden was worth it. Stina Jackson’s next book, The Last Snow, is already on my TBR.

Scandinavian Reading Challenge 2021: A prize-winning Scandinavian book (Best Swedish Crime Novel, 2018; and Glass Key Award, 2019) OR A book by a new-to-you Scandinavian author


Her Dark Lies by J. T. Ellison 🇺🇸🇮🇹🎧
(Narrated by Brittany Pressley)

This is the story of a high-profile destination wedding that goes totally awry. Bad weather, dead bodies, and a ruined wedding dress are just a few obstacles before up-and-coming artist Claire and wealthy, handsome, and charming Jack can marry on rocky Isle Isola off the coast of Italy. It was a fun listen. I liked the unique setting, a secluded island with history and mystery. The rotating perspectives, including one that I was unsure about until later in the story, made the story even more intriguing and suspenseful.

 


A Woman Is No Man: A Novel by Etaf Rum 🇺🇸🇵🇸🎧📖
(Narrated by Ariana Delawari, Dahlia Salem, Susan Nezami)

Just last month I read Salt Houses by Palestinian-American author Hala Alyan, and  A Woman Is No Man by another Palestinian-American writer was an interesting companion read/listen. While Salt Houses revolved around a Palestinian family that remained in the Middle East, this book focused on a Palestinian family that immigrated to Brooklyn, New York. It was a disturbing and heartbreaking story of three generations of Palestinian women in America whose lives were dictated by the patriarchal beliefs of the homeland. The story alternated between Fareeda, the matriarch, who emigrated from Palestine as a young mother; Isra who was brought over at the age of 17 as the wife of Fareeda’s eldest son; and Deya, Isra’s oldest daughter born in Brooklyn. While an important story to hear, this particular story seemed very one-dimensional. All was very negative and repetitive in regards to men and women’s status in this community.


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.

August 2021: Virtual Nordic Events & #WITMonth

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

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

Of particular interest to me this month is the Norwegian Film Festival presented by The Clark Art Institute and Images Cinema in Williamstown, MA, in conjunction with the current exhibition Nikolai Astrup: Visions of Norway at The Clark. It is a four-week series of recent Norwegian films. All films are free to view virtually.

  • August 4–10: Astrup: Catching the Flame (2019), biopic directed by Pål Øie
  • August 11–17: Hope (2019), drama written and directed by Maria Sødahl
  • August 18–24: What Will People Say (2017), drama directed by Iram Haq
  • August 25–31: The Men’s Room (2017), an award-winning music documentary directed by Petter Sommer and Jo Vemund Svendsen

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

What events pique your interest?


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Painting as a Harvest: Nikolai Astrup’s Bountiful Landscapes (Tuesday, August 10, 6:00–7:00 p.m. ET)

In this illustrated conversation, arborist/writer William Bryant Logan and painter/horticulturist Rebecca Allan discuss the intertwined labors of Nikolai Astrup’s life—farming and painting—as a model for re-establishing an intimate connection between people and the land. Reflecting upon how the artist and his wife Engel cultivated fruits, vegetables, flowering plants, and trees as a source of sustenance for their family, they explore how the farm-garden reverberated in Astrup’s singular images of planting, tending, and harvesting the gifts of the earth in early twentieth-century western Norway during the Industrial Revolution. Focusing on a selection of paintings from the exhibition and notes from Astrup’s motif books, Logan and Allan highlight the relevance of Astrup’s life to our time, reminding us of the enduring value of observing the climatic and chromatic qualities of each place and season. Event is free.

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

The Scandinavian American Cultural & Historical Foundation in Thousand Oaks, CA, is hosting a monthly series of Nordic Spirit Classics, a virtual program of selected presentations from 21 years of Nordic Spirit Symposia. This month, from Scandinavians in the Old West, learn about the life and work fo Birger Sandzén, 1894 immigrant to Bethania College and the Swedish community of Lindsborg, Kansas, and “van Gogh of the West”. Participation is free, but you must register to receive the link.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Summer Book Club: The Complete and Original Norwegian Folk Tales of Asbjørnsen and Moe (Wednesday, August 25, 7:00–9:00 p.m. ET)

This month wraps up The Clark Art Institute‘s summer book club series featuring novels by Norwegian authors. Participants have discussed how these authors’ treatment of identity and sense of place resonate with the life and work of Nikolai Astrup, whose paintings and prints are presented in Nikolai Astrup: Visions of Norway. The summer book club series concludes this month with The Complete and Original Norwegian Folk Tales of Asbjørnsen and Moe, compiled by Peter Christen Asbjørnsen and Jørgen Moe and first published in 1841. Nikolai Astrup read and deeply admired these stories as a child. A new translation of the tales by Tiina Nunnally introduces readers to giant trolls, talking animals, and other remarkable beings that inspired Astrup in his creation of magical landscapes.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Which August events or experiences look interesting to you?

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