Book sale offers chance to learn about Sweden

Sponsored article: The end of February has been a traditional period for book sales in Sweden since the 1920s. Bookstores up and down the country offer their books for sale at knock-down prices, and customers descend on the stores in their hordes. Some bookstores even open at midnight, and queues sometimes form around the block.

Book sale offers chance to learn about Sweden

This year, for the first time, the Sweden Bookshop will also hold a book sale. The store, on Slottsbacken near the Royal Palace, will offer a 30 percent discount on all books for a limited time. The sale will also take place on the bookstore’s website and will last from now until 7th March.

The sale is a unique opportunity to acquire books about Sweden and Swedish literature in translation at low prices. The Sweden Bookshop stocks everything from exclusive coffee-table books to the latest Swedish crime fiction.

The children’s section is the largest part of the store, with many titles unavailable elsewhere – some of them cannot even be found in the Royal National Library.

While books in English form much of the stock in the store, you can find anything from Stieg Larsson in Chinese to Pippi Longstocking in Hindi. In total, the bookstore stocks no fewer than 3,000 titles in 47 languages.

The store is operated by the Swedish Institute, a government agency charged with promoting Sweden’s image abroad. As a result, the store is not-for-profit – it is there simply to provide information about Sweden and to generate interest in Sweden and Swedish literature.

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Stockholm Open set to serve up a storm

The ATP Stockholm Open hits the Swedish capital on Saturday with international players vying for a piece of the €530,000 ($718,000) pie. Will it be a local Swede who takes out this year's title? The Local chats to the tournament organizer to find out more.

Stockholm Open set to serve up a storm

“All the sponsors, players and organizers are getting ready, I’m really excited,” tournament spokesman Christian Ahlqvist told The Local over the phone, with the sound of tennis balls thwacking around in the background.

Held inside Stockholm’s Royal Tennis Hall, the tournament has been played every year since 1969, attracting some of the biggest tennis names in Sweden and the world.

“All the big Swedish players have played in the Stockholm Open, Björn Borg, Mats Wilander. Former world number one Roger Federer won the title in 2010. We’ve had some really great players, its always been one of the tournaments to play in,” explained Ahlqvist.

IN PICTURES: See Swedish tennis legend Björn Borg’s career in pictures

Headlining this year’s contingent is Spanish world number four David Ferrer who is tipped to take home the trophy.

“Ferrer is coming from Shanghai, he’s a great player and he’s always performed very well here,” said Ahlqvist.

But if you thought it was a one horse race, think again. Bulgarian Grigor Dimitrov and Polish giant Jerzy Janowicz (who is over two metres tall), both 22, are two young players looking to challenge Ferrer and show the tennis world that they belong at the top.

However the odds are against Sweden netting the championship. World number 444 Markus Eriksson is the only confirmed Swedish player so far, although more may find their way through in Friday’s final qualifications. But statistically, the odds aren’t historically in the Swedes’ favour, with the last winner, Thomas Johansson, in 2004.

A strong Swedish presence in the singles may be lacking, but the Swedish men are expected to do better in the doubles.

“Jonas Björkman is making a comeback in the doubles with one of the best doubles players in the world, Robert Lindstedt. So that will be interesting to see,” said Ahlqvist.

As for a tip for the winner, Ahlqvist likes world number 41 Jarkko Nieminen from Finland.

“Jarko is someone who’s been a bit on and off the court with injuries. He’s played here so many times before, he’s almost a Swede. Everyone would love to see him win one.”

Saturday marks the opening ceremony for the Open, which will be held on centre court and is free for everyone. The tournament begins on the same day, with the final scheduled for Sunday the 19th.

Josh Liew

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