Enjoy Scandinavian culture and literature

Nobel prize winners

Movie directors

Crime fiction writers

Knut Hamsun

Knut Hamsun

Selma Lagerlof

Selma Lagerlof

Ingmar Bergman

Ingmar Bergman

Lars von Trier

Lars von Trier

Sjowall and Wahloo

Sjovall & Wahloo

Henning Mankell

Henning Mankell

Contemporary and rising authors

Stieg Larsson

Stieg Larsson

Jo Nesbo

Jo Nesbo

Karin Fossum

Karin Fossum

Peter Hoeg

Peter Hoeg

Liza Marklund

Liza Marklund

Per Petterson

Per Petterson

About this site

ScandinavianBooks is a site focused on Scandinavian literature - both fiction and crime fiction - and movies. We review books by Scandinavian authors in a number of genres, and also publish news about Scandi­navian literature and movies. The site consists of this main site and two blogs: Nordic Bookblog and Scandinavian Movies.

The main sections are fiction - modern and classical literature - and crime fiction. We also have sections on literature about the Vikings and about movies/DVDs based on Scandinavian literature. Read more ...

Future and recent releases

  • The Troubled Man, by Henning Mankell

    The Troubled Man, by Henning Mankell, is the most recent novel in Mankell's series about Swedish detective Kurt Wallander. It is quite possible that it is the last book ever to be written in this excellent and remarkable series that has entertained so many for so long. Read more ...

  • The Hypnotist by Lars Kepler

    The Hypnotist, the debut novel by Swedish Lars Kepler that became such an incredible success so quickly in Sweden, is a very violent and shocking book. It features detective Joona Linna and at the center stage is the use of hypnotism in solving a violent crime. You will love this one! Read more ..

  • The Leopard, by Jo Nesbo

    Harry Hole, the Inspector in the Oslo police that is the main character in Jo Nesbo's books, is a strange, complex man with the soul of an addict. Two girls have been brutally murdered in Oslo, the police haven't a clue, and Harry Hole enjoys his opium dreams in Hong Kong. Now the powers that be want him to come home. They need him. But for what? To solve a complicated case? To be a pawn in their games? To be the fall guy? A top notch crime fiction from Nesbo! Read more ...

  • Between Summer's Longing and Winter's End, Leif GW Persson

    Leif GW Persson is a professor of criminology, and in this clever crime fiction novel he provides a possible explanation for the assassination of Swedish Prime Minister Olof Palme in February 1986. To do this, he takes us deep into the not so pretty underbelly of Swedish law enforcement - we meet sloppy and greedy cops, psychopaths in the service of the secret police, clandestine services and shady agents. Read more ..

  • Red Wolf, Liza Marklund

    Red Wolf is the fifth book in Swedish crime fiction writer Liza Marklund’s series featuring reporter Annika Bengtzon. It is very good, suspenseful, and very entertaining, with an excellent, very exciting plot. Perhaps Marklund's best! Read more ..

  • Ashes to Dust, by Yrsa Sigurdardottir

    Ashes to Dust, the third book in Yrsa Sigardardottir’s series about Thóra Gudmundsdóttir, is a dark mystery that mostly takes place at Vestmannaeyjar (The Westman Islands). Four people that were murdered when the volcano there erupted more than 30 years ago have been found, and Thóra's client is the prime suspect. Read more about Yrsa Sigurdardottir!

  • Bad Intentions, by Karin Fossum

    Bad Intentions is the seventh book in Norwegian author Karin Fossum's series about Konrad Sejer translated into English. It is a deep psychlogical thriller where layers of lies turn friends gradually into enemies and result in murder. Read more about Karin Fossum.

  • Vengeance is the lastest in the series called Helsinki Homicide written by Finnish author Jarkko Sipila. It is a fast paced and very noir crime fiction thriller about life in the dark and violent underbelly of Helsinki; a world of drug addicts, pushers, gangs and criminal ties to Lithuania and Russland. A great new crime fiction by Sipila! Read more about Vengeance!

We publish new reviews several times a week, and try to stay ahead of the curve! Check our list of forthcoming books every now and then!

Scandinavian fiction/literature

The fiction scene

The Nordic countries each have their own great litera­tures. Think of Denmark's H.C. Andersen and Karen Blixen and Iceland's sagas and Nobel prize winner Halldor Laxness. Finland has Aleksis Kivi and Tove Jansson. Swedish Selma Lagerlof and Vilhelm Moberg are also well known, as are NorwegianHenrik Ibsen and Sigrid Undset.

The many con­tempor­ary writers are less well known but often as good; authors like Per Petterson, Morten Ramsland, Roy Jacobsen, Lars Saabye Christ­ensen and Klas Oster­gren.

We present a selection of both the classical and the con­tempor­ary litera­tures of the Nordic countries.

Recently reviewed

  • Sofi Oksanen

    The talented Finnish writer Sofi Oksanen has won several prestigeous Finnish prizes as well as the Nordic Council Award for her stunning and exceptional novel Purge. Read more about it ..

  • Arto Passilinna

    Finnish writer Arto Paasilinna's The Year of the Hare is about an amusing, wonderful adventure into the vast wilderness of Finnish forests by a journalist and a hare. Read more ..

  • Lars Saabye Christensen

    The Beatles is a quiet and delightful novel by Lars Saabye Christensen reminising the coming of age of a group of young boys in Norway during the 1960's - the era of The Beatles, long hair, and social protests. Read more ..

  • The Journey of Niels Klim to the World Underground, by Ludvig Holberg

    Ludvig Holberg's (Baron Holberg) classical The Journey of Niels Klim to the World Underground, written more than 250 years ago, tells the tale of a stunning journey by a penniless Norwegian student after he plunges into a bottomless hole in a cave. Read more..

  • Per C. Jersild

    Swedish author Per C. Jersild's A Living Soul is a story about a brain. Its name is Ypsilon. Ypsilon lives in a laboratory in a privately owned research corporation. A very intriguing and thought-provoking novel! Read more ..

  • Knut Hamsun

    Hunger and other novels by Nobel Prize winning Norwegian author Knut Hamsun are timeless masterpieces and still great reads. Hunger is an excellently written book, very evocative and intense. Read more ..

Scandinavian crime fiction

A success story

Scandinavian crime fiction is becoming a brand name. It is something increasingly associated with high quality.

It's hard to say why it's happening. But we know something started when Sjowall and Wahloo became popular all over, received all sorts of prizes and were awarded the Edgar prize for their "Laughing Policeman".

A number of excellent writers followed in their footsteps - Peter Hoeg, Henning Mankell, Karin Fossum, Hakan Nesser, and others. And then came the phenomenon of Stieg Larsson. That's happening right now. In his footsteps a large and growing number of wonderful authors await!

Some great reads

  • Karin Alvtegen

    Swedish writer Karin Alvtegen has written a series of suspenseful psychological mysteries, dealing with common emotions and experiences such as shame and fear, betrayal and loss. Read more ...

  • Jarkko Sipila

    Against the Wall, by Finnish writer Jarkko Sipila, was the 2009 Winner of the Best Finnish Crime Novel. This is very noir and hard boiled crime fiction, featuring Lieutenant Detective Kari Takamaki. A very nice read. Read more ...

  • Arnaldur Indridason

    Iceland's Arnaldur Indridason is the winner of many prizes, his series about Reykjavik police Inspector Erlendur Sveinsson is a huge success. The philosophical Viking detective is both charming and smart. Read more ..

  • Gunnar Staalesen

    In The Consorts of Death, Varg Veum - Gunnar Staalesen's private eye - skillfully untangles the ways in which the past has a bearing on the present. It is easy to like this hard drinking detective from rainy Bergen. Read more ..

  • Johan Theorin

    Johan Theorin of Sweden has so far only written two books, and a third is just coming out in Scandinavia. Both are excellent. Many view him as the next Stieg Larsson. The Darkest Room and Echoes From the Dead are scary and build lots of suspense. A new, emerging master of crime fiction mysteries? Read more ..

We have much, much more! Visit our author overview page or our crime fiction page to learn more about the crime fiction on this site!

Scandinavian movies on DVD

Growing, improving

The Scandinavian movie industry is not Hollywood. Still, it has traditions and some great names - for instance Ingmar Bergman and Lars von Trier.

Currently this industry is rapidly expanding, partly due to the great successes of Scandinavian crime fiction literature. Movies featuring Martin Beck have been followed by movies featuring Kurt Wallander, Lisbeth Salander, Irene Huss and Varg Veum.

In addition to these, we also review movies based on books by Scandinavian authors, eg. Karen Blixen. See our movie overview page for more!

Interesting movies to watch

  • As it is in Heaven is an utterly charming Swedish movie, romantic, funny, warm and in some ways an ode to love. As It is in Heaven was nominated for Best Foreign Film at the 2005 Academy Awards®. It is starred by Michael Nyquist (also featured in the Millennium movies).

  • Out of Africa

    Meryl Streep and Robert Redford starred in the wonderful classic movie Out of Africa, based on the equally great novel by Karen Blixen (aka Isak Dinesen). And the other movie based on her books, Babette's Feast, is equally good and really quite a feast! Read more ..

  • Sunstorm Izabella Scorupco

    The Swedish movie Sunstorm, based on a crime fiction novel by Asa Larsson, features Antti Reini, Göran Forsmark, Henrik Gustafsson, Izabella Scorupco (picture), and Mikael Persbrandt. Action and excitement. Read more ..

  • Varg Veum

    Norwegian actor Trond Espen Seim plays the Bergen sleuth Varg Veum in a series of movies based on Gunnar Staalesen's crime fiction novels. He is an ex-social worker, a cynical private eye with a social conscience. Read more ..

  • Elling DVD

    Elling was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Foreign language film of 2001. As is the novel Elling by Ingvar Ambjornsen, it is a very entertaining and endearing film. The characters Elling and Kjell Bjarne are immensely enjoyable and played to perfection. Read more..

  • Fanny and Alexander by Swedish director Ingmar Bergman is perhaps the crowning piece of his brilliant set of films. An innovative, creative and perfectionist film maker who has created a large number of very impressive movies. Read more ..

  • Hawaii, Oslo (DVD)

    Hawaii, Oslo. This is an interesting movie from 2004, about the story of a handful of desperate people whose paths cross on the hottest day of the year in Oslo. Good and intriguing entertainment. Read more..

  • Evil (Ondskan), DVD, Jan Guillou

    Evil (Ondskan) is based on a partly autobiographical novel by one of Sweden's most well-known authors, Jan Guillou. We follow Eric Ponti as he is exposed to a fraternity style hierarchy in a Swedish boarding school. . Read more

  • Smilla's Sense of Snow, DVD

    Smilla's Sense of Snow is a great and entertaining movie based on Danish author Peter Hoeg's bestselling novel with the same name. Read more ..

  • Flame and Citron

    Flame and Citron is an excellent and very strong Danish movie about the resistance movement in Denmark during World War II, based on real events. It has received very positive reviews. Read more ..

Compe­tition: Write book reviews

We have 3 brand new crime fiction books that we will give away to readers in the US that send us reviews of Scandinavian books that we can publish on this site!

The first 3 readers to send three usable reviews (we do not censor opinions) each, along with name and address, by email will receive a free book. The reviews should be at least 250 words each. The names of the winners will be published on the site. Or, if you simply want to publish a review here - just send it!

Music on this site?

Would you like to see a section on Scandinavian music on this site? We have discussed this and would like to hear what you think.

On the one hand we are a little worried about spreading too thin. On the other hand we feel people who come to this site might be interested in more than just Scandinavian crime fiction or fiction in general, and would find it interesting to get some info on classical and contemporary music as well. What do you think? Send us a comment or an email!

What else would you like to see here?

Is there anything you would like to see here or find here or do here? What are we missing? We would like to learn more about how you view the site, if there is stuff you look for here and can't find, and so on.

More news? More about the authors? More about the countries? Travel books? A discussion board?

Use the comment form (see under the page border) or drop us an email!


Cindy & Tripod, California (3/29/2009):

A friend recommended your site, and through it, I am becoming a fan of Scandinavian books, crime in particular. As an American reader, I previously had not been exposed to this genre, and for that I thank you. It is a very elegant, well-organized, and thoughtful site. Kudos!

Most recent Scandinavian movies on DVD reviewed:

King of Devil's Island - Stellan Skarsgård

A Somewhat Gentle Man - Stellan Skarsgård at his very best

The Killing - an excellent Danish crime fiction TV series

Arn: Templar Knight - based on the Crusades trilogy by Jan Guillou

Jar City, excellent Icelandic crime movie based on a book by Arnaldur Indridason

Troubled Water - an extraordinary Norwegian movie

Pusher Trilogy. Hard, violent Danish movies about gangsters.

As it is in Heaven. Charming Swedish movie, romantic, funny, warm.

Max Manus - about a hero in the Norwegian resistance during WWII

Flame and Citron - about the Danish resistance during WWII

Antichrist and other movies by Danish Lars von Trier

The Van Veeteren collection (Hakan Nesser)

Kurt Wallander series (Henning Mankell)

Irene Huss movies (Boxed set) Helene Tursten

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Stay updated on Scandinavian crime books!

We update the site with news about books and authors continuously. Check out the crime books section!
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The 10 most recent books reviewed on Scandinavian Books:

The Shadow Girls by Henning Mankell

The Drowning, by Camilla Läckberg

Operation Napoleon, by Arnaldur Indridason

The Caller, by Karin Fossum

The Howling Miller, by Arto Paasilinna

The Dwarf, by Pär Lagerkvist

The Ice Palace, by Tarjei Vesaas

The Summer Without Men, by Siri Hustvedt

Doctor Glas, by Hjalmar Soderberg

The Quarry, by Johan Theorin

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