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  Great books with a Norwegian connection to give and receive this Christmas

By Tiffanie Davis

Norwegian American Weekly

“West Oversea: A Norse Saga of Mystery, Adventure and Faith” by Lars Walker

“West Oversea” is a gripping Viking saga. Lars Walker understands the unique Norse mindset at the time of the Vikings’ conversion to Christianity, and he tells a tale of seafaring adventure and exploration of new worlds that will keep you on the edge of your chair – and make you think.

Price: 12.95 + S&H. Visit www.nordskogpublishing.com to order.

“Sigrid Undset – Ungdom/Youth” by Harold P. Hanson, Evabeth Astrup, and Charlotte Blindheim

Norway has produced three Nobel Laureates for Literature. One of the three was Sigrid Undset (1882-1949). Virtually unknown in the non-Norwegian world, and little known in Norway, is her book of poetry, “Ungdom (Youth).” The book was published when she was 28, but it is claimed that the bulk of the work was produced between her ages of 16 and 20. Even a casual reading of her poems reveals that as the well-spring of her later novels. Of special interest is her world-view prior to her conversion to Catholicism.

Price: $29 (includes S&H). Visit www.nortransah.com for details.

“Ulvedal – Valley of the Wolves” by Dr. Dan Chesnut

The novel “Ulvedal” is based on a true story… a psychological thriller you cannot stop reading. The author masterfully interweaves a gripping psychological drama with a touching love story during a historical period in post-war Norway. The setting is in Southwest Norway near Stavanger, the North Sea coast of Jæren, Brusand, and Oslo, and in New York City.

Price: $20 (includes S&H). Send $20 check to Restoration Publishing, 11912 Rosedale Drive, Oklahoma City, OK 73162. No credit cards accepted.

“Reckless Courage: The True Story of a Norwegian Boy Under Nazi Rule” by William Fuller

Full of engaging anecdotes and inspirational stories, “Reckless Courage” portrays the warmth, humor, and persistence of a Norwegian family during the German occupation of World War II. The book centers on the exploits of young Gunnar Høines, working as an errand boy at a hotel housing German officers. A wealth of historical detail does much to counter the virtually unrecognized importance of Norway in World War II. There are some intriguing observations. The impetuous decision to invade Norway eventually cost Hitler the war. A Norwegian colonel, disobeying orders, changed the course of history. Norway’s world monopoly on “heavy water” gave Germany a false sense of security in nuclear research: a crucial factor in its failure to make an atomic bomb. The author William Fuller, is a graduate of Harvard College and Business School, and spent his career in finance. He has traveled extensively in Norway and has had a lifelong interest in 20th century European history.

Price: $9.95 + S&H. Visit www.taberhallpress.com to order, or call (800) 468-2424.

“Behind the Blackout Curtains” by Ellen Zahl

“Behind the Blackout Curtains” is Ellen Zahl’s debut novel, based on her memories and historical verities of the German occupation of Norway from 1940-1945. Inger Berg is 11 years old when Germany military troops invade and occupy Norway during World War II, which creates immediate and significant changes in everyday-life for her and her family.

Price: $19.95 (includes S&H). Send check to Ellen Dahlberg Zahl, PO Box 96, Saint Helens, OR 97051.

“Square Sails and Dragons” by Mary E. Nelson

From Greenland to the Hebrides to Norway, unique characters enliven the pages of this tenth-century novel: The volatile Eric the Red and his tolerant, intelligent wife, kind and eccentric Hebrideans, stalwart and stubborn seamen, a brave but zealous king and beautiful women whose love spell disaster. The author skillfully weaves dramatic fiction with accounts of Norse history based on the various sagas; the result brings Viking emotions of a thousand years ago to the present—where they are best defined as our own.

To order, visit www.amazon.com or www.barnesandnoble.com.

“Hidden Falls” by Carla Danzinger

Seeking revitalization after the painful breakup of her 20-year marriage, an American woman tours Norway’s fjords with her cousin, a veteran Norwegian journalist. The trip turns into a nightmare when the journalist is found dead at the bottom of Hidden Falls. Authorities conclude the death was accidental, but the American’s gut feelings tell her otherwise. In the tradition of Agatha Christie, the protagonist begins a personal search for the truth. Discoveries of the late journalist’s opinionated columns, her private ghosts from the Nazi occupation of Norway in her youth, and her post-war years in England lead her inquisitive cousin down a rocky trail of danger and romance and into the throes of a clandestine plot and soul-searching questions about justice.

To order, visit www.carladanziger.com or www.amazon.com.

“Viking to Victorian: Exploring the Use of Iron in Ship Building” by Olaf T. Engvig

Engvig brings maritime history to life through first-hand open sea sailing adventures, exploring 1,000 years of square sail vessel technology – from iron riveted Viking longboats to Victorian iron hull ships. His expertise comes not just from his graduate degree in Maritime History, but his real-life experiences of sailing and restoration. For example, in Viking to Victorian, he offers a first-hand account of a North Sea sailing adventure in an original Viking longboat.

Price: $49.95 + S&H. To order online, visit www.engvig.com/olaf for details.

“Viking Norway” by Torgrim Titlestad

“Viking Norway” departs from the usual approaches to the causes of the Vikings and delves into the history of its first true child; the dramatic birth of Norway and its development until the 11th century. The author details and explains the domestic background of this unique civilization hoping that new insights and a greater understanding of the Vikings will emerge.

Price: $40.00 (includes shipping). Order your copy from www.sagapublishers.com.

“Beyond the Cold: An American’s Warm Portrait of Norway” by Michael Kleiner

As an 11-year old, Michael Kleiner spent 1969-70 in Norway with his family, attended a Norwegian school, learned Norwegian, the country’s culture, new sports and enjoyed unique experiences. He would not return to Norway until 1986 as an adult. During that and subsequent trips, Michael’s affection, passion and appreciation for the country, its social system, and a culture not his own grew. The book is written with warmth, sensitivity, humor, caring, and insight, showing how Norway and the people’s characteristics influenced him. Michael discovered the value of multicultural experience, and a “second home” in Norway—a country that is more than cold weather. It also impacted his life and work back in the United States.

To order, visit www.beyondthecold.com.

“Authentic Norwegian Cooking” by Astrid Karlsen Scott

More than 300 authentic recipes gathered from throughout Norway. 208 pages, 16 pages in full color, hardback. Appetizers, main courses, breads, lefse, flatbread, soups, salads, desserts, pastries, cakes, cookies and candies. Special Help chapter, Party chapter, source section, temperatures, weights and measures conversions. English and Norwegian headings with separate index.

Price: $34.95 + S&H. To purchase your copy, visit www.nordicadventures.com.

This article was originally published in the Nov. 20 issue of the Norwegian American Weekly. To subscribe and for more information, call us toll-free at (800) 305-0217 or email subscribe@norway.com.

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