Summer reading guide: staff picks

Here are some recommendations from the Norwegian American Weekly staff for your summer reading. Enjoy!

out stealing horses

Out Stealing Horses by Per Petterson
Out Stealing Horses is a 2003 Norwegian novel written by Norwegian author Per Petterson and translated into English by Anne Born. It won the 2007 Dublin IMPAC award.

The Last Fix by K. O. Dahl
This book is about an addict’s passage from Hell to Hope and a journey with convicted drug offenders who opt for a pioneering drug—a thrilling crime novel by a Norwegian author.

hooked x

The Hooked X by Scott F. Wolter
The Hooked X is a secret symbol found on an inscribed slab of rock, dated 1362, unearthed by a farmer in Minnesota in 1898, called “the Kensington Rune Stone.” The only known people who used the hooked X were the Knights Templar. This story reveals secrets of North America that weave from medieval times through today, changing history as we know it.

Recommended by David Moe


Cockroaches by Jo Nesbø
A worthy Nesbø read, filled with scary twists and turns in the murder investigation of Norwegian ambassador to Thailand. Harry Hole is able to push the right buttons to get results in this complicated case as he struggles with corrupt Norwegians in Bangkok and Norway. If you get fully engaged in this book, you simply cannot put the book down until finished, because that is when you finally know the truth.

Recommended by Thor A. Larsen


The Sparrow by Mary Doria Russell
Humanity picks up a transmission proving the existence of extraterrestrial life and the Jesuits send a mission to the planet. A beautiful and horrible tale in which both the human and alien characters are well rounded.

The River of Time by David Brin
A collection of short sci-fi stories from a master of the genre. All the stories are worth a read, but my favorite piece in the collection is the novella “Thor Meets Captain America,” an alternate-history version of WWII with the Norse gods as major players.

Recommended by Emily C. Skaftun

angry housewives

Angry Housewives by Lorna Landvik
Norwegian-American Lorna Landvik creates a memorable cast of characters who will make you laugh and cry as they face difficult life issues. The primary theme is the vital importance of friendship and the setting is Minneapolis, my hometown.

Plays by Ibsen
Plays can provide pleasurable summer reading. Choose Ibsen’s “A Doll’s House,” “Hedda Gabler,” or “An Enemy of the People,” for example, and then rent the excellent BBC production of the play from Netflix.

Recommended by Christine Foster Meloni


Seattle’s Music Venues by Jolie Dawn Bergman
Jolie Dawn Bergman’s Seattle’s Music Venues is a quick read full of images and factoids about historical settings for music and dance that will fascinate Seattleites and non-Seattleites alike. The book provides background on popular venues such as the Seattle Center complex, the summer Seafair Parade, the 5th Avenue Theater, and Green Lake (the Aqua Theater) as well as forgotten ones, namely, the beautiful and elaborate Fox Theater. Seattle’s Music Venues also pays homage to historical places for sharing Nordic cultural heritage like the International Mall during the 1962 World’s Fair!

Recommended by Michelle Eastman

west of the moon

West of the Moon by Margi Preus
From the author’s website: “After having been separated from her sister and sold to a cruel goat farmer, Astri makes a daring escape. She retrieves her little sister, and, armed with a troll treasure, a book of spells and curses, and a possibly magic hairbrush, they set off for America.” Middle grade.

Shadow on the Mountain: A Novel Inspired by the True Adventures of a Wartime Spy
by Margi Preus

Fourteen-year-old Espen and his friends are swept up in the resistance movement in occupied Norway during WWII.


The Klipfish Code by Mary Casanova
In this middle-grade novel Marit is a twelve-year-old Norwegian girl living under Nazi rule in 1942. Despite her grandfather’s warnings, she and her brother Lars secretly help the Norwegian Resistance.
From the author: “By stepping into the shoes of a 12-year old Norwegian girl, I was able to try on her deepest fears—and mine—to better imagine what life must have been like.”

Norwegian Fjords by Per Roger Lauritzen
Easy-to-read information about the most popular fjords in Norway.

Recommended by Heidi Håvan Groschi

This article originally appeared in the July 11, 2014 issue of the Norwegian American Weekly.

Norwegian American Logo

The Norwegian American

The Norwegian American is North America's oldest and only Norwegian newspaper, published since May 17, 1889.