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Ten Swedish books to read before you die

8 Feb 2013, 14:20

Published: 08 Feb 2013 14:20 GMT+01:00


That's what journalist Gerty Fylking used to yell at the Swedish Academy press conference revealing that year's winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature.

Because usually, no one had ever heard of the winner.

That changed two years ago when Sweden's favourite poet, Tomas Tranströmer, was recognized for his work.

IN PICTURES: Ten Swedish books to read before you die

Tranströmer's just one of the authors featured on The Local's list of Swedish classics that could be a helping hand for newcomers interested in diving into Swedish culture.

But he's not the only Nobel laureate who made the cut.

The list also features another poet, Edith Södergran, who may be a native of Finland, but is included as because she was a member of of the Finland-Swedish minority in Finland and thus wrote in Swedish.

The list also features the work of a popular, outspoken Swedish historian who often appears on television and in newspapers to offer his two cents (er, öre) about the Swedish royals.

While this celebrity historian's book is far from a work of classic literature, The Local's Editor David Landes recommends it as a good introduction to the history of Sweden.

One book on the list, Harry Martinsson's When Nettles Bloom, is not available in English, but there is a simplified Swedish edition.

Story continues below…

And there is a cheeky double whammy for one author.

Ann Törnkvist

Follow Ann on Twitter here

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Your comments about this article

17:22 February 8, 2013 by intrepidfox
Ten Swedish books to read before you die.

Just looking at the list made me want to die.
19:37 February 8, 2013 by theobserver
Indeed, just looking at the list makes one want to die, and die soon. Not only because of the type of books in the list (Sweden is all about death) but also because there is so little to read in Sweden that you can exhaust the interesting Swedish books very shortly.
21:05 February 8, 2013 by skogsbo
popular music is an OK read, much better than the film. Forget the peoms or anything that has ever won a prize, that usually a ticket to boredom.
11:58 February 9, 2013 by cogito
Life is too short for Swedish books. I might get around to this list, but only after I've read all of Dickens, Proust, Balzac, Faulkner, Cervantes, Garcia-Marques, Fuentes, the Chinese, the Japanese....

Nah, on second thought, I'd rather clean the bathroom than read any of the authors on the list.

There are only two Swedish authors worth reading: Strindberg and Stieg Larsson.
19:02 February 11, 2013 by Phillynilly
Should've been titled. Ten Swedish books to read to make your death even more miserable.......
08:33 February 13, 2013 by RobinHood
I've read all ten. And it's true; now I want to die.
10:06 February 16, 2013 by GraceBee
Ah, our little coven of antillectuals.

Cultural barbarians, every single one of you. Probably all work in IT or banking.

Cogito, if you think Larsson is a great author then I am absolutely certain that you have never read Proust or Balzac.
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