Changes and books and trolls, oh my

Photo: Arne Hærnes / Peer Gynt AS  This is from a previous year’s production of Peer Gynt at the festival I get to visit!

Photo: Arne Hærnes / Peer Gynt AS
This is from a previous year’s production of Peer Gynt at the festival I get to visit!

Emily C. Skaftun
The Norwegian American

Welcome to the third-annual Summer Reading Issue. It’s truly bigger and better than ever before, with eight whole pages devoted to books (18-25)!

But wait, there’s more! We’ve got nonfiction in the form of an excerpt from occasional contributor Eric Dregni’s book about fishing (26). We’re also very proud to present the first section of a short thriller set on a ferry between Norway and England (27-28). Look for two more installments of that serialized work in the August 12 and 26 issues.

This year’s issue is different from the past ones because it does not come as our parting gift to you before we hang the “gone fishin’” sign on the door and take a summer break. Being biweekly allows us a lot more flexibility with when we take our vacations, so we’ll have another great (though considerably smaller) issue for you in two weeks!

Behind the scenes at The Norwegian American, things continue to change. I’m writing this to you from our new office about six miles north of our old office, in Seattle’s unassuming northern neighbor, Shoreline. It’s a land much like Seattle, only with cheaper rents. It’s an office much like the one we had before, only we don’t share the space and we have great big sunny south-facing windows. Downside: we’re not next door to the Norwegian consul anymore (we’ll miss you, Kim!). Plus sides: everything else.

The move went as smoothly as one could reasonably expect, but as in all aspects of our business, there is a weak link. It’s the same weak link that brings you your newspaper up to a week later than the date on the cover. Yep, it’s the USPS.

During the time we were in our old office, we saw several office-mates move out. (We’re pretty sure this isn’t because of us, but who knows? Sometimes John Erik did eat herring for lunch…) Every one of them forwarded their mail, just as we have done. Every one of them is still receiving mail in the old office.

So please be patient with us if you’ve snail-mailed something to our old address. And please note that our new address is:

17713 15th Ave NE, #205
Shoreline, WA 98155.

We have one more change to come, of email addresses. Once that’s done it will mean that in the last few months we’ve changed our name, publication frequency, website, physical and mailing address, and emails. If you didn’t know better, you might think we were hiding from a crazed ex-lover or trying to duck the IRS. (But we’re not, honest).

And hey, at least our phone number is still here for you. It’s (206) 784-4617. If you have an 800 number for us, we kindly ask you not to use it. In this new world in which no one pays for domestic long-distance calls, we would prefer not to maintain that service, which charges us per phone call received. We are thrifty Norwegians, after all!

But enough about that. We’re here to talk about books! Have you read any good ones lately? We have. You can see loads of recommendations, including some from you the readers, on pages 21-23.

I mostly read science fiction and fantasy, so I won’t bore you with my recent reads, with this one exception: I recently read Peer Gynt (a translation of course, and don’t get me started on the problematic aspects of reading in translation!), in preparation for my upcoming trip to Norway where I will be visiting the Peer Gynt Festival.

Classics, amirite? I feel a little strange to admit that I just read this classic, because it means I hadn’t read it before, and when something is a classic you’re supposed to be familiar with it. I wasn’t (and I’m still not familiar with most of Ibsen’s work—don’t tell anyone).

But it seems that neither are many of you, because I have been trying to talk about this book and no one will join me. So, dear readers, I’m drafting you into my Norwegian Classics Book Club. Have you read Peer Gynt? Here’s the question for discussion: are we supposed to be on Peer’s side? Please back up your work with textual support (in English).

I jest, obviously (is my previous job as an English Composition instructor showing?). There will be no test on your summer reading (because being an adult has to have some perks)! Enjoy your summer, everyone!

This article originally appeared in the July 29, 2016, issue of The Norwegian American. To subscribe, visit SUBSCRIBE or call us at (206) 784-4617.

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