Summer reading guide 2016: reader picks

We hope you enjoy these summer reading recommendations from the readers of The Norwegian American!

abercrombieAbercrombie Trail by Candace Simar

For a Brooklyn Norwegian, this was a very interesting and eye opening novel about the 1862 Sioux Uprising and the hardships of the Norwegian settlers in Minnesota.
Recommended by Harriet McHenry

skipping stonesSkipping Stones by Gloria Koll

This novel recounts the adventures of a young Norwegian girl making a home and family for herself in America after tearfully leaving Norway. It is what so many of our relatives had to do, and especially our strong female ancestors.
Recommended by Sandy Gilbert & Kathryn Haugen Foster


The Body in the Fjord by Katherine Hall Page

I really enjoyed reading this mystery set in Norway, and have since used the author’s recipe for Norwegian vafler (an added bonus!) many times. Anyone who loves mysteries will enjoy Page’s challenging plot, delightful characters, and evocative, correct descriptions of Norway’s scenic wonders.
Recommended by Janet L. Ruud

The Sagas of Icelanders

This book publishes the Viking sagas, which various scholars put into everyday English. Sort of “Sagas for Dummies.” This 800-page paperback is a great read that gives you an insight into the settlement of Norway and Iceland and the Vinland saga.
Recommended by Russell Tillman

lake house
The Lake House by Kate Morton

Decades ago, a baby boy vanished during his family’s annual Midsummer celebration, never to be found. When detective Sadie Sparrow stumbles upon their abandoned estate, she becomes obsessed with uncovering the truth of that night—just as you will be.
Recommended by Molly Jones

All the Birds in the Sky by Charlie Jane Anders

Like all my picks, this one has nothing to do with Norway. Two oddball children become best friends, but one is a mad scientist while the other is a magician. Written with such poetry you almost won’t care what it’s about.
Recommended by Emily C. Skaftun

God is Watching You by Dominic Johnson

This is not a religious book. It is an exploration of the usefulness of the spiritual throughout history in organizing people and getting them to cooperate.
Recommended by Finn Roed

The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins

Rachel, Anna, Tom, Megan. What tangled lives they lead. Did Scott kill his wife, Megan? If not who and why? Given the animosity between Rachel, Tom’s first wife, and Anna, his second, can you imagine them cooperating? A page-turner soon to be a movie.
Recommended by Shelby Gilje

Proust and the Squid by Maryanne Wolf

“We were never born to read. Human beings invented reading only a few thousand years ago.” So starts this overview of the coming together of the psychology of reading and and the neurological evidence of it. The invention of reading has changed the organization of our brain and contributed to the evolution of our species.
Recommended by M. Michael Brady

man called
A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman

Although Swedish, this novel is a modern human study with joy, sorrow, and humanity, filled with humor. People call him “the bitter neighbor from hell.” But must Ove be bitter just because he doesn’t walk around with a smile plastered to his face all the time?
Recommended by Thor A. Larsen

Gunnar’s Daughter by Sigrid Undset

Published in 1909 and set in Norway and Iceland at the beginning of the eleventh century, this is the story of a young woman who is raped by the man she had wanted to love. It is a tale about a violent period in her country’s history, the Saga Age, but it’s a story that still plays out today.
Recommended by David Moe

Hidden Inheritance by Heidi B. Neumark

Imagine discovering a secret—that your family has a hidden Jewish heritage; that your grandfather died in a concentration camp and your grandmother was a death-camp survivor. Author Heidi Neumark, a Lutheran pastor, happened upon records that gave her pause to think about her own calling in life.
Recommended by Rosalie Grosch

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