Summer reading guide 2017: staff picks

We hope you enjoy these summer reading recommendations from The Norwegian American staff!

Journey to the River Sea by Eva Ibbotson

Eva Ibbotson has become my new favorite author as her tales are engaging, her characters real, and you don’t always know what’s around the next corner. In this YA novel, the orphaned Mia travels to her distant relatives in the Amazon. Soon she is involved in a mystery, uncovering new things about herself and others. This is a book I couldn’t put down.
Recommended by Heidi Håvan Grosch

Sulitjelma var solens øye by Marit Lund Bødtker

A touching, humorous novel that follows a family through four generations in Sulitjelma, a mining town in northern Norway, from the late 19th century through the early 1960s. The subtitle translates to “in the eye of the sun,” a topographic description typical of the far north and its people. In Norwegian.
Recommended by M. Michael Brady

The Wellness Project by Phoebe Lapine

This book has been the highlight of my summer reading so far. As food writer and chef Phoebe Lapine dials in her health, she explores how everything from nutrition to skin care products can impact our bodies. As I followed along vicariously on her journey, I took away countless practical ideas. I can’t wait to try her recipes too!
Recommended by Daytona Strong

Atlas of the European Reformations by Tim Dowley

October 31 of this year will be the 500-year anniversary of Martin Luther’s posting of the 95 theses on the church door at Wittenburg to begin the Reformation. This is a good resource book for those who want to learn more about the Reformation era.
Recommended by David Moe

1861 by Adam Goodheart

This is a book every U.S. citizen should read. Though it does not specifically mention Norwegian immigrants, it does draw a connection between the homestead ethos and its antithesis in the plantation mentality. Much in this book I learned nothing about in school—for example the “Wide Awakes” and the early (abolitionist) Republican Party.
Recommended by John Erik Stacy

Ursula, Under by Ingrid Hill

This epic story of bloodlines by a Swedish-American author tells the tale of a young girl who falls down a mine shaft in Michigan. As the attempt to rescue her commences, we learn the stories of her relatives, from an alchemist in ancient China to a 17th-century girl in the Swedish royal court.
Recommended by Kelsey Larsen

Mr. Churchill’s Secretary by Susan Elia MacNeal

This novel introduces Maggie Hope, the brilliant young American working as a typist for Winston Churchill who finds herself in a web of murder and espionage. Maggie will keep you on the edge of your seat as she uses her persistent spirit and unmatched code-breaking skills to survive.
Recommended by Molly Jones

Life After Life by Kate Atkinson

Ursula Todd lives her life over and over again. It always begins the same way, in 1910 in a cottage in England, but the details—particularly surrounding how WWII affects her life and how she affects WWII—are different every time. I found the ending to this incredible novel a bit unsatisfactory, but you read it and then let’s discuss!
Recommended by Emily C. Skaftun

This article originally appeared in the July 28, 2017, issue of The Norwegian American. To subscribe, visit SUBSCRIBE or call us at (206) 784-4617.

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M. Michael Brady

M. Michael Brady was born, raised, and educated as a scientist in the United States. After relocating to the Oslo area, he turned to writing and translating. In Norway, he is now classified as a bilingual dual national.