#NordicFINDS – Sweden Week – My Gateway Book – a different take

Let the Right One In by John Ajvide Lindqvist & its movie adaptations Although a rather baggy novel at over 500 pages, Let the Right One In, translated by Ebba Segerberg, blew me away when I read it back in 2009. My full review from back then is here. At the novel’s heart is the Read More

#NordicFINDS – Norway Week – A feminist dark metal manifesto?

Girls Against God by Jenny Hval Translated by Marjam Idriss I was browsing the Verso books website (as you do when there’s an offer on!). I don’t think I’d read any of their publications before, but I knew they had some Scandi authors in their list. I was drawn to the cover of this one, Read More

#NordicFINDS – Norway Week – A Modern Classic

The Ice Palace by Tarjei Vesaas Translated by Elizabeth Rokkan Literally everyone I know who has read this novella has fallen in love with it. First published in 1963, this English translation was brought to us by Peter Owen publishers in 1993, who have let Penguin add it (and another by Vesaas, The Birds, reviewed Read More

#NordicFINDS – Norway Week – A locked room mystery

The Human Flies by Hans Olav Lahlum Translated by Kari Dickson This is the first novel in Lahlum’s ‘K2 and Patricia’ series of Norwegian detective novels which now number four. Set in the late 1960s into the early 1970s, they are unencumbered by modern technology bar the forensics of the time, allowing the convolutions of Read More

#NordicFINDS – Norway Week – My Gateway Book

Sophie’s World by Jostein Gaarder Translated by Paulette Møller My second gateway Nordic read was another huge worldwide bestseller, first published in English translation in 1995. I got my original copy with the cover above through the QPD book club, now defunct, who produced what we’d now call trade paperbacks of new hardbacks – ie: Read More

#NordicFINDS – Norway Week

I chose Norway for the second week of my Nordic reading, because I instantly had in mind a gateway book that opened up that country’s reading for me. That was the huge bestseller Sophie’s World by Jostein Gaarder (re-read review soon). Meanwhile, my pile of Norwegian authors does slightly exceed my Danish one, and again Read More

#NordicFINDS – Denmark Week – A Quirky Novella

Minna Needs Rehearsal Space by Dorthe Nors Translated by Misha Hoekstra Some of you will have come across Dorthe Nors from her novel Mirror Shoulder Signal which was shortlisted for the International Booker in 2017 (my full review here). In Mirror… Sonja, a newly single forty-something, decides to learn to drive as part of starting to Read More

#NordicFINDS – Denmark Week – An unusual crime novel

The Murder of Halland by Pia Juul Translated by Martin Aitken I didn’t want to wake Halland; he had to be up soon anyway. After going to the loo, I went back into the living room and collapsed on the sofa under a blanket. When I opened my eyes again, I knew a sound had Read More

#NordicFINDS – Denmark Week – My Gateway Book

Miss Smilla’s Feeling for Snow by Peter Høeg Translated by F. David Being published in English translation in 1993, this was the first Nordic novel I knowingly read, acquiring the paperback when it was published in 1994. In my thirties then, I was beginning to expand my reading, having moved on from the diet of Read More

#NordicFINDS – Denmark week

I chose Denmark for the first week of my Nordic reading as I was ultra-keen to revisit Miss Smilla’s Feeling for Snow by Peter Høeg, and it is alphabetically the first country – an approach I abandoned when setting the dates for each country (which ended up being random, not even in FINDS order). Apart Read More

#NordicFINDS is here! (Sticky)

Finally, my project for five weeks of reading Nordic literature is here. ‘FINDS’ – stands for Finland, Iceland, Norway, Denmark & Sweden. For me, reading Nordic literature really began in the 1990s, when a few modern novels began to appear in translation in English. Some of them went on to become huge bestsellers. I’ve been a Read More

Ariadne, Theseus and the Minotaur – a book pairing of opposites

This would have been just a single review – of Jennifer Saint’s retelling of Ariadne’s story from Greek Myth. But then Marina Sofia recently posted a review of Russian author Victor Pelevin’s Omon Ra, and I remembered I had Pelevin’s retelling of Theseus and the Minotaur from the Canongate Myths series on my shelves, and Read More

#NovNov – some classic novellas from my archives

The final week of Novellas in November (hosted by Bookish Beck and Cathy at 746 Books) turns its attention to classics (incl modern classics – pre 1980) and once more I’ve scoured my archives to find a selection to highlight from a few years ago for you. As in previous weeks, I’ve managed to combine with other tags Read More

Two French novellas for #NovNov

Week three of ‘Novellas in November’ hosted by Bookish Beck and Cathy at 746 Books is all about books in translation. I’ve talked about a Danish SF one and two German novellas in previous posts. Now it’s time to turn to novellas written in French – which means an excuse to include the next Maigret from my Read More

Two novellas for German Literature Month XI & #NovNov

Yet again, I can combine two reading months into one post. German Literature Month is now into its second decade, hosted by LIzzy and Caroline, and Novellas in November was taken over last year by Bookish Beck and Cathy at 746 Books. I chose two very different novellas, one with a true crime feel, and one set Read More

#NovNov – Translated fiction novellas from the archives

Week 3 of Novellas in November month (hosted by Bookish Beck and Cathy at 746 Books) turns its attention to translated books. If I get my act together, I’ll have read 2 French, 2 German and 2 Danish novellas and might even get some reviews posted. But until then, here’s a selection of translated novellas from my Read More

Two SF Novellas for #NovNov #SciFiMonth

Another opportunity to tick two boxes with one blog post. This time two superb novellas for Novellas in November and both SF for Sci Fi Month. The Employees: A Workplace novel of the 22nd Century by Olga Ravn Translated from the Danish by Martin Aitken This is the most unconventionally structured book I’ve read this Read More

Muriel Barbery’s Cats’ Eye-View #NovNov

The Writer’s Cats by Muriel Barbery, illustrated by Maria Guitart Translated by Alison Anderson For a cat-lover there’s always room for a good cat book at Christmas, and this lovely one from the pen of Muriel Barbery, author of The Elegance of the Hedgehog, and this year’s A Single Rose (which is in the running Read More

Blog Tour – The Rabbit Factor – Antti Tuomainen

Translated by David Hackston I was really excited to add another Finnish author to my Nordic reading list. The Rabbit Factor is my first encounter with Antti Tuomainen’s unique thriller style which reminded me of the Coen brothers with its dark comedy leanings. It won’t be my last, because I loved this novel, and it’s Read More

Weekend Miscellany

GoodReads Challenge I’ve done it! Pressure’s off now, except I’d like to beat my best ever total of 142 in 2018! With a clutch of novellas (see more below) that might be doable too! However, I doubt I’ll reach my best ever total page count of over 41k from 2016, I’m currently in the 31k Read More

The Mirror Visitor quartet – the final installment

The Storm of Echoes by Christelle Dabos Translated by Hildegarde Serle When I was sent a copy of the first volume in this fantasy quartet of novels by Daniela at Europa Editions in 2018, I fell in love with Christelle Dabos’ world-building in its fractured planet, the wonderfully realised young heroine Ophelia and anti-hero Thorn. Read More

Lots of Shiny Linkiness

Time to catch up here with a bit of linkiness to my reviews published at Shiny New Books, there have been several over the past weeks I’ve not mentioned here. Star Turns by Tim Walker Journalist Tim Walker has worked at many publications, currently at the New European, where he resurrected the Mandrake diary column Read More

Planning Ahead!

Last week on Twitter I posed a question. I asked: Hi my bookish Twitter friends. Just wondering… There are reading months for French, German, Spanish/Portuguese lit in translation. Does anyone host an Italian or Nordic/Scandi one. If not, I’d be willing, which would you prefer? I got a good response, but predictably, it was divided! Read More

20 Books of Summer 21 nos. 14-15 & a second for #WITMonth

Gosh! I’ve read 16 out of #20BooksofSummer21, so with a fortnight to go, there’s a definite probability of beating my previous best of 17, and a possibility I might just make the full 20 – it’ll have to be novellas or easy to read thrillers though. Bring it on! Meanwhile here are reviews 14 & Read More

WITMonth: Ketty Rouf – No Touching, & Annual WIT Review

Many of you will be well aware that August is #WITMonth – celebrating Women in Translation, hosted by Meytal at Biblibio. Meytal has been flying the flag for WIT for many years now, and now it has its own website HERE. My first review for the month follows below, but first I thought I’d check Read More

20 Books : Paris in July : Euro Reading Challenge

Today, two more reviews for you that fit into multiple challenges, namely: 20 Books of Summer 21 hosted by Cathy, Paris in July hosted by Tamara, and the European Reading Challenge hosted by Gilion. Maigret’s Madwoman by Georges Simenon Translated by Siân Reynolds My 8th book reviewed for 20 Books, and 2nd for Paris in Read More

20 Books of Summer 21 #5-6 & other challenges!

Today I’m able to combine reading months once again. Books 5 & 6 of my #20BooksofSummer21 hosted by Cathy also let me take part in Spanish & Portuguese Literature Month hosted by Stu, and Paris in July hosted by Thyme for Tea. Without further ado, here are my thoughts on them. Nada by Carmen Laforet Read More

Families are complicated! ‘One Last Time’ blog tour

One Last Time by Helga Flatland Translated by Rosie Hedger Helga Flatland’s fifth novel, A Modern Family, won the Norwegian Bookseller’s Prize, and was her first to be translated into English by Rosie Hedger. She has been billed as the ‘Norwegian Anne Tyler’, and when offered the opportunity to join the blog tour for her Read More

Review Catch-up – Tadjo, Fuller and Benson

My review pile runneth over and there are a couple of books that I would have reviewed for Shiny, but I don’t feel I can write a long piece on, so I will cover them here in my review round-up. In the Company of Men by Véronique Tadjo Back in 2014, the world awoke to Read More

Review Catch-up – Dahl, Dooley and Dunn

The Assistant by Kjell Ola Dahl Translated by Don Bartlett First up a slice of Shiny Linkiness (full review here). Dahl is one of Norway’s finest crime writers, and his newest novel is an historical standalone that edges from crime into espionage, so given my love of all things spy, this was always going to Read More