I recently went to Sweden for the first time this Summer. I’ve been telling nearly every person I know to stop what they’re doing and immediately go to Sweden! I fell in love with that country and I fell hard. Sweden is breathtakingly beautiful and from my experiences people are extremely friendly, helpful, and kind. For example, when our train was delayed from Gothenburg to Uppsala, a kind Swedish man helped us buy new tickets for an alternative route that would help us get to our destination quicker and traveled with us to make sure that we didn’t get lost. In Stockholm, we also had a couple offer their transport passes to us because they were leaving the city that day and wouldn’t need them anymore. And a lovely woman in jewelery shop, Avi and Lena, in Gothenburg chatted with me about her family’s connections to Australia and gave us some tips for the city (And she helped me pick out an awesome moose necklace!). What you can probably get from all of these examples is that I felt welcomed and well looked-after.
When I go to new cities/countries, the first thing I want to do is check out the local food and then see what bookstores and the types of books that are around. Somewhere in between these two things, I may end up buying another scarf for my collection (I realise it’s an addiction, but I figure I could always be addicted to something worse…). Other than Stieg Larsson, I hadn’t really heard of many Swedish authors and didn’t really know a lot about the writing traditions or history of Sweden, so I went digging.
I went to a few different cultural websites, bookstores, and cultural centres and found out some pretty interesting things about this amazing country and it’s literary legacy. The country is fairly big for it’s rather small population of around nine million people, yet Sweden is the home of around 1,300 libraries. That is a lot of public books my friends! Sweden loves its crime fiction, and I love that they have a genre called Nordic Noir! If you want some classic crime then you should follow the detective adventures of Martin Beck written by Maj Sjöwall and Per Wahlöö (don’t even ask me how to pronounce those names). A lot of Sweden’s crime novels also offer social critiques of the modern world and how we live in it. Although, the country also has a long tradition of more ‘classic’ literature as well that include authors like Karen Boye, Verner Von Heidenstam, and Carl Michael Bellman to name a few.
Every time I think of Sweden I start to gush and wax lyrical about everything the country has on offer. The only downside of Sweden is that the country is rather chilly for a southerner like myself, but you know what that means? More time for coffees and walking through bookshops to discover my next literary adventure!
Do you have a favourite Swedish author? I would love to hear about your adventures, literary and otherwise! Remember to share the reading love.
For more information about books, Sweden, and some lovely jewelery check out: