If you love books, want to learn more about Sweden, or to connect with like-minded people, The Local Sweden's Book Club is for you. You don’t need to speak Swedish or even be located in Sweden to take part, and it's free to join.
So how does it work?
We're doing this because understanding a country doesn't just mean following the news, but also discovering its culture and reading its literature. For 15 years we've been reporting the news in Sweden, and our community of readers includes long-term expats, new arrivals, Swedes living abroad, and people who have never visited the country. This is our chance to read and talk about Sweden together.
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We cover a range of genres, going beyond Nordic noir to read fiction and non-fiction by a diverse range of writers, and we began with the wartime diaries kept by one of Sweden's most famous authors, Pippi Longstocking creator Astrid Lindgren.
This variety allows us to explore different parts of the country, and even different periods in its history, from between the pages of its best books.
Reading might be something we usually do in solitude, but something special happens when people come together to read, as you'll know if you've ever read a child's favourite story out loud to them, or read a book on a recommendation from a friend and found it helped you understand them in a new way.
In June we'll be reading Factfulness by Hans Rosling.
Our previous books are:
April: A World Gone Mad: The Diaries of Astrid Lindgren 1939-45
May: Quicksand by Malin Persson Giolito
June: The Little Old Lady Who Broke all the Rules by Catharina Ingelman-Sundberg
July: Everything I Don't Remember by Jonas Hassen Khemiri
August: Never Stop Walking By Christina Rickardsson
September: Wolf Winter by Cecilia Ekbäck
October: A Sister in my House by Linda Olsson
November: Faceless Killers by Henning Mankell
December: Fishing in Utopia – Sweden and the Future That Disappeared by Andrew Brown
January: The Serious Game by Hjalmar Söderberg
February: Beartown by Fredrik Backman
March: The Circle by Sara B Elfgren & Mats Strandberg
April: The Red Address Book by Sofia Lundberg
May: The Hundred-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out of the Window and Disappeared by Jonas Jonasson
Click the links above to read what those books were about, and what Book Club members thought of them.
Throughout 2019, we held five events in Stockholm, and kicked off with a talk about Astrid Lindgren and discussion of her wartime diaries on World Book Day, April 23rd.
We also send out two to three newsletters a month with reflection on the month's book, and you can sign up for that by entering your email address below.
And each month we try to interview the author and translator of the book we read where possible, putting Book Club members' questions to them. You can find all the interviews we've done so far below:
- Ask a translator: Sarah Death on Astrid Lindgren's War Diaries
- Ask the author: The story behind bestseller The Little Old Lady Who Broke All The Rules
- Ask a translator: What's it like translating a bestselling Swedish thriller into English?
- Ask a translator: Bringing a deeply personal memoir to a new audience
- Ask the author: The story behind a magical mystery in northern Sweden
- Ask a critic: What's behind the global fascination in Nordic Noir?
Above all, this is a community, and we're keen to hear from readers about your preferred genres or any book or event suggestions. Let us know what you'd like to get out of the Book Club! We do our best to select books that are widely available in translation and as e-books and audiobooks so that as many people as possible can take part, and will announce each title in advance so that we all have time to track down the book.
If you'd like a say in how the Book Club is run and what we read, fill out the short survey below. You can also get in touch with us directly through email or, if you're a Member of The Local, by logging in to comment. The Local's Book Club is run by Catherine Edwards, and in 2019 has been supported by the European Journalism Centre's Engaged Journalism Accelerator.