Summer reading guide 2018: staff picks

Need a book? Arm yourself against boredom with summer reading recommendations from The Norwegian American staff!

Norwegian American summer reading

We recommend:

Norwegian American summer reading
The Blazing World by Siri Hustvedt

Artist Harriet Burden has had scant success in the New York art world, clearly because she is a woman. She, therefore, presents three solo shows attributing her work to three male artists. She is instantly highly acclaimed. But when she finally reveals her identity, she is not universally believed.

Recommended by Christine Foster Meloni


Norwegian American summer reading
The Unit by Ninni Holmqvist

In a dystopian Sweden, the “dispensable” are sent to a unit while their organs—including heart and lungs—are gradually “donated” to the indispensable. But in the spa-like unit, some find the community they’ve always lacked and even fall in love. Which leads to any number of totally predictable tragedies.

Recommended by Emily C. Skaftun


Norwegian American summer reading

The Shell Collector by Anthony Doerr

By the author of the acclaimed All the Light We Cannot See, these beautifully written short stories cover a wide range of subjects and emotions. The stories are set in various locations including Africa, Oregon, Montana, and Finland, which is a setting for an amusing fishing story.

Recommended by Patricia Barry


Norwegian American summer reading

The Magic Strings of Frankie Pesto Shell by Mitch Albom

The best book I’ve read in ages features the Music Muse, numerous flashbacks and speakers, plus fascinating twists including love, mystery, and encounters with famous folks. It’s packed with history, plumbs spiritual depths, and makes many comparisons between music and life. Not to be missed.

Recommended by Barbara K. Rostad


Norwegian American summer reading

Midnight Sun by Jo Nesbø

An Oslo man finds himself on the run in a town in northern Norway. In desperation, he has made random choices hoping to confuse his pursuer. He finds refuge with a female deacon named Lea and her son, Knut. The original Norwegian version, also recommended, is called Mere blod.

Recommended by John Erik Stacy


Norwegian American summer reading

Less by Andrew Sean Greer

The 2018 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction is a must-read. Andrew Sean Greer has written a brilliant comic novel about Arthur Less, a gay writer who embarks on a trip around the world as an excuse for missing the wedding of his former young lover to another man. While on the run, he discovers himself.

Recommended by Christine Foster Meloni


Norwegian American summer reading

Fantasyland: How American Went Haywire by Kurt Anderson

If you wonder how the United States is so messed up right now, this well-researched and well-written book will explain it. A joy to read.


Norwegian American summer reading

Vernon Subutex by Virgine Despentes

This first translated volume of a trilogy is a picaresque, magnificently told satire of modern life, played out in Paris and suffered by Vernon, the former proprietor of a failed vinyl record shop, a casualty of the Internet Age wandering in near poverty through the bohemian social world.

Recommended by M. Michael Brady


Norwegian American summer reading

Hell’s Princess: The Story of Belle Gunness, Butcher of Men by Harald Schechter

We know she did it, but no one really knows why—or what ever happened to her. Not your typical Norwegian immigrant, the notorious Belle Gunness gruesomely slaughtered dozens of men to become America’s first female serial killer. Meticulously researched but never boring, Hell’s Princess will leave you in suspense until the very last page.

Recommended by Lori Ann Reinhall


The Oregon Trail: A New American Journey by Rinker Buck

Norwegian American summer reading

Two brothers set off from Missouri in a covered wagon headed for Oregon, not in the 19th century, but the 21st. An adventure story mixed together with lessons in history, geography, and driving a mule team, this book is a fun and eclectic summertime read.

Recommended by Deborah Stoner-Ma

This article originally appeared in the July 27, 2018, 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.