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February 25th marks the beginning of 2014′s Book Sale – that’s right, not book sale, but the Book Sale, a Swedish tradition with which you may not be familiar. Get ready to pull out your wallet and your reading glasses!

The annual Swedish book sale has been around for nearly a century, and despite technological advances is stronger than ever. What started as a single bookstore’s stock-clearing sale in the 1920s has become a regulated and recognized Black Friday of sorts, when prices plummet and bookworms across the country fight for favorite paperbacks.

This year the Book Sale starts on Tuesday, February 25, at 07:00. Online sellers and physical bookshops alike will participate in the sale, and even supermarkets and department stores like Ica Maxi or Åhlens will feature special prices on their book selections.

Some books will be on sale for a couple of days, whereas others will be available at a discount only on Tuesday – or even only for a few hours.  Brand new books may cost as little as 29 SEK!

Feeling in the mood for a good read but can’t be bothered to move? Why not start your search for a bookalicious bargain through the Swedish online shops on YLC’s book shop pages?

But if you want to make like the Stockholmers and not take the easy way out? Get out there and feel the thrill, smell the pages – hit up your local Akademibokhandeln or shop around the corner!

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Featured Images: Kate Hiscock and Wiki

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Romantic Reads covers a lot of territory: from Civil War drama to modern romps through frothy silliness. Whether you’re looking for a good weep or a belly laugh, we’ve got some great reading choices for February. 

 

Gone With The Wind by Margaret Mitchell

Love stories don’t often get as dramatic a back-drop as the American Civil War; the adventures of Southern belle Scarlett O’Hara and the dashing Rhett Butler gain an extra frisson by the historical context that shapes their lives. Right from the famous starting line: ‘Scarlet O’Hara was not beautiful, but men seldom realized it when caught by her charm…’, this is an emotional rollercoaster of a novel that climbs to the heights of passion, plumbs the depths of hatred and ends in pure indifference. If you’re familiar with the film, this provides even more fantastic dialogue and displays of gumption, plus a few more pointers as to what happens next.

Read if: you have the whole of Valentine’s Day free to indulge. It’s a door-stopper.

Best line: ‘No, I don’t think I will kiss you, although you need kissing, badly. That’s what’s wrong with you. You should be kissed and often, and by someone who knows how.’

 

Bridget Jones’s Diary by Helen Fielding

Ms. Jones’ adventures as related by Ms. Fielding have brought many a giggle, a feeling of recognition (‘I AM Bridget Jones’) and sense of well-being to its fans since first publication. We follow the career of Bridget as she sorts the bad men from the good, struggles with weight and career plans and has a great laugh with friends, all in a ridiculous skirt. Helen Fielding manages to bring Austen’s novels to the present day in an effortless way and let’s face it, the world can do with as many Mr Darcys as possible. Don’t miss the whole series, Bridget Jones’s DiaryThe Edge of Reason and the recent Mad About the Boy.

Read if: you want your mood uplifted and a smile on your face.

Best line: ‘It struck me as pretty ridiculous to be called Mr. Darcy and to stand on your own looking snooty at a party. It’s like being called Heathcliff and insisting on spending the entire evening in the garden, shouting “Cathy” and banging your head against a tree.’

 

Persuasion by Jane Austen

And speaking of Austen… We’ve picked one that we consider her very best. Anne Elliot lets herself be persuaded by an old friend that her love for handsome naval officer, Frederick Wentworth is an imprudent one. Breaking their engagement, Anne regrets the decision but settles down uncomplainingly to her life with her snobbish father and sisters (shades of Cinderella). 8 years later, she encounters Frederick, now Captain Wentworth again, who has not really forgiven her… A fantastic story for all those who love second chances.

Read if: you want to know what the best love letter in literature looks like.

Best line: ‘You pierce my soul. I am half agony, half hope. Tell me not that I am too late, that such precious feelings are gone for ever. I offer myself to you again with a heart even more your own than when you almost broke it, eight years and a half ago. Dare not say that man forgets sooner than woman, that his love has an earlier death. I have loved none but you.’

 

Norwegian Wood by Haruki Murakami

A poignant complicated love story set in Tokyo. Toru is a young college student whose best friend Kizuki inexplicably commits suicide. Toru finds himself drawn to Kizuki’s girlfriend, the beautiful, mentally troubled Naoko, but their lives are haunted by Kizuki’s death and Noako find the pressures and responsibilities of life ever more unbearable. In order to cope with this oppression, she retreats further into her own world, whilst Toru develops a relationships with a very different woman: the outgoing, fiercely independent, lively Midori.

Read if: you want a thought-provoking mystical introspection on love.

Best line: ‘If you only read the books that everyone else is reading, you can only think what everyone else is thinking.’

 

The Fault in Our Stars by John Green

John Green had instant success with this wonderfully written book depicting a love-story between two teenagers with cancer. Never mawkish or self-pitying, the heroine is consistently loveable and funny, whilst never shying away from the realities of the situation. Soon to be released as a film, we really think you should read this before it comes out, if only so that you can see Shailene Woodley is your idea of Hazel Grace. A must-read for young adults… and olders ones, to be honest.

Read if: you want to be inspired by love shadowed by death. Oh, and if you want to cry buckets.

Best line: ‘I’m in love with you, and I’m not in the business of denying myself the simple pleasure of saying true things. I’m in love with you, and I know that love is just a shout into the void, and that oblivion is inevitable, and that we’re all doomed and that there will come a day when all our labor has been returned to dust, and I know the sun will swallow the only earth we’ll ever have, and I am in love with you.’

What are your favourite romantic reads? Tell us in the comments below!

Photo: Sébastien Wiertz/flickr (file)

Legendary ABBA singer/songwriter Björn Ulvaeus has stepped into the world of literature with a book aimed at children, telling the story of the instrument that many of ABBA’s greatest hits were composed on.

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The new book is called The Little White Piano and is aimed at children from 7 years of age and up. Ulvaeus and Agnetha Fältskog bought the piano in the late 70’s for the couple’s summer home on Viggsö. Benny Andersson and Anni-Frid Lyngstad also had a house on the island, and Benny played the piano when he and Björn Ulvaeus composed new songs for ABBA.  The Winner Takes It All is one of the songs composed on the little white piano, which is now part of the exhibition at ABBA The Museum.

“I wrote this book because I love to write, but how does one capture the interest of a 7 year-old? It really is quite a challenge and only time will tell if I have hit the right tone,” says Björn Ulvaeus.

In the book, which is illustrated by Maja Lindberg, a beautiful vase is brought to an old cottage in the Swedish archipelago. The vase starts to talk to the other furniture in the cottage and soon starts to wonder why the piano, half-hidden in a corner, is so quiet.  This prompts the old folding table to tell the tragic tale of the pretty little piano. A white mouse, never far from its beloved piano, reflects the instrument’s joy and sadness as the story progresses. And what fairytale doesn’t have a happy ending?

As the book is written for children aged 7 years and older, Lindberg wanted to create illustrations with a fairytale shimmer and reflecting a sense of magic.

“I also wanted to recreate the atmosphere which was sure to have been in Björn’s and Benny’s writer’s den at Viggsö; a kind of tranquil mood which must have been necessary to create something really great. And that piano really has experienced some magical moments out there in the archipelago,” she adds.

The book is published by Fri Tanke and is available in five languages: Swedish, English, German, Finnish and Russian. The book will be sold exclusively at ABBA The Museum in Stockholm and in their webshop here.

 

 

Your Living City Stockholm

For more info on what is going on in Stockholm – follow YourLivingCity on Twitter!

 

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With the warm weather still in the distance there’s plenty of time to curl up with a great book while we wait (and wait) for the warmer weather to arrive.

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We’ve done a lot of reading during the cold, dark winter and plan on doing plenty more.  Here’s five great reads for January, from mystery to fun to thought-provoking. Enjoy!

1. The Husband’s Secret - Liane Moriarty 

While ostensibly a ‘woman’s’ novel, this book is something more.  It all takes place in a tight-knit Irish-Catholic community in Sydney and goes a long way towards exploring what makes us tick while titillating us with mystery, sex, no sex, murder and the oppressiveness of trying to live the ‘perfect’ life.  Definitely one for a chilly weekend where you want to immerse yourself in a world you may know nothing about.

2. The Good House - Ann Leary

Divorced, middle-aged and living in a fictitious New England town Hidly Good is an alcoholic realtor who slyly delights in the voyeurism of her profession while speculating about the affairs -both figurative and literal – of her fellow townspeople. Grab a glass of wine for this one – although you may not finish it as you dash through the pages.

3. Muddle Your Way Through Being a Grandparent & Muddle Your Way Through Fatherhood - Paul Merrill

This is two for the price of one (not literally, we’re afraid!), mainly because both books will have you chuckling over the odd family dynamics we all experience, despite those sometimes awkward moments we may have endured at the holidays having (hopefully) already faded away. Merrill has a sharp eye for the absurd which, combined with a sly wit, lovingly mocks the great institution of family.  Be prepared to annoy those around you when you burst out in to laughter every few minutes.

4. The Guilty One - Lisa Ballantyne

Kids killing kids – we’ve seen it enough in recent years and we’ve read a few books from the kid’s perspective, the family’s perspective, and the victim’s perspective.  This books explores the troubling issue from the lawyer’s perspective, through his own life experiences as well as through his desire to understand this seemingly disturbed young child who has committed the ultimate crime.

5. A Tale for the Time Being - Ruth Ozeki

If you missed this fantastic 2013 offering I strongly suggest you find a copy, lock the doors, turn off the phone and get stuck in.  The discovery of a Hello Kitty lunchbox on a beach leads to the discovery of Proust, a broken watch, some old letters and, most importantly, a diary.  This discovery gives us characters we never meet yet will come to know, as well as wonderful meditations on life, both personally and in the world at large.


Have a great book to recommend?

Let us know in the comments below or on the forums!

 

Judi Lembke

Judi Lembke is an experienced  journalist who, when she’s not shackled to her computer, enjoys reading, cooking and sometimes watching embarrassingly bad reality TV.  Judi also works with communications and thinks coming up with clever ideas is about as much fun as one can have without taking off one’s clothes.

With interest in Scandi design rising internationally, YLC’s Emma Ladlow catches up with Swedish interior design stylist and blogger Emma Fexeus, the author of a new book on Scandinavian style, published in March.

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Although Scandinavian design has long been known for being minimal, simple and functional it was perhaps Sweden’s interior and furniture design that first entered the public consciousness. However, Sweden has come a long way since our childhood trips to flat-pack haven IKEA. The commonly known practicality of ready-to-assemble furniture has been surpassed by world class, desirable interior styling themes instantly recognizable for their largely white, largely minimal appearances with Scandinavian textiles, monochrome, flashes of occassional colour or pine wood pieces which complete the typically associated interior look.

One standout blog on the subject of Scandinavian interior design is Emmas designblogg which attests to feature ‘design and style from a Scandinavian perspective’ and has some impressive style and readership credentials plus offers the best local lighting, homewares and designers for browsing.

Emma Fexeus, a Stockholm-based interior stylist, began blogging in 2005 on her decor inspirations and discoveries as a side project while working for a magazine and still posts day-dream worthy photography of aspirational kitchens, homes and stylish spaces while directing readers to sources of information for  research, retail and reveries.

According to Fexeus, hers is the oldest and most read Scandinavian design blog, with over 350,000 page views per month, which has been featured in Top Ten lists recommending the world’s best design blogs by The Guardian, The Telegraph and The Times for the last four years.

The 34-year-old, also mentioned in Norwegian Elle Decoration, adds some freelance writing and styling work to her blogging and last month saw the release of Emma’s first book Northern Delights, Scandinavian Homes, Interiors and Design.

The book features inspirational photography and design detailing from interior settings around Scandinavia, featuring houses, hotels and apartments plus articles giving readers a look inside the homes of various creative professionals.  Aesthetic movements, sculptural forms and crafts or practices are thoughtfully considered and the light, inspiring photography is a display of modern, visionary interiors at their finest.

 

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YourLivingCity managed to connect with Emma following a recent research trip to Reykjavik.

Your Living City: When did your blog move from being simply an online inspiration space for yourself and become something different?  At what point did you realize it’s potential and how did it gain traction?

 

Emma Fexeus:  At the time, back in 2005, there weren’t many design blogs around, so I was quickly discovered by giants like Decor8 and Apartment Therapy. Their links gave me a lot of readers quite early, and made me start blogging with the purpose to share my finds in the Scandinavian design world. After a few years of blogging a mix of products and interiors I changed the direction a bit, and started focusing only on interiors. I see this as my way of encouraging a more sustainable lifestyle instead of participating in the hype of over-consumption that is the core of most media.

 

YLC:  What is your favourite interior styling look?
EF:  I always come back to the paired down Scandinavian minimal look, accessorized with a few vintage or handmade pieces. Keeping the base neutral lets the eye focus on a few chosen designs, and makes the space restful to both eye and mind.

 

YLC:  Would you share a few of your favorite interior design inspiration sources for our readers?
EF:  RUM design magazine. The portfolios of my favourite interior stylists (for example Faye Toogood, Lotta Agaton, Annaleena Leino-Karlsson, Pella Hedeby). Fashion blogs and magazines, which are always a step ahead and way more courageous than deco magazines.
YLC:  What does an average day look like for you – juggling work and management of the blog?
EF:  My blog is actually my main source of income, and what I focus my work on. Occasionally I will do some styling jobs, or write an article for a magazine, but mostly I work with things behind the scenes of the blog. There is so much emailing back and forth with advertisers, PR companies, readers, other bloggers, journalists, brands and designers that this actually takes up most of my day. I also try to keep up with what is going on in the blogosphere and what is new from my favourite stylists and photographers, so I read a lot ofblogs every day, probably around 200-250, and that takes a couple of hours.
YLC: Is there a secret about Sweden you can share with us?
EF:  It’s a super organized country, and that has both pros and cons. On the plus side, it’s clean, beautiful and easy to get around, but on the down side, there is no room for creativity and improvisation. If you want to start a project of some kind, like a pop-up store, a magazine or an art show for example, you have to start preparing it and sending in paperwork to all the right places a year in advance…

 

YLC:  Lastly, can you tell us one place we mustn’t miss while in Stockholm?
EF:  Skeppsholmen, the small island in the city center where the Modern Museum and the Architecture Museum are located. Besides the great museums, and their excellent restaurant where I like to go for brunch on weekends, the island offers a really nice walk with a view over the city, and also a couple of nice cafés and restaurants.

You can also follow Emma’s blog through her Facebook page, where she has over 11,000 fans or by viewing the beautiful Pinterest feed Emmas Designblogg.  The book Northern Delights, by Emma Fexeus is available here .

Article by Emma Ladlow

Images by Emma Fexeus from Northern Delights copyright Gestalten 2013

 

 

 

A great way to learn about your new city is to read a few novels about city life. The most famous Swedish novels are by the crime authors Stieg Larsson, John Ajvide Lindqvist and Henning Mankell. I highly recommend the works of these authors. Here’s the first part of our Swedish book recommendation list.

We have posted links to these books via Amazon.co.uk. We recommend getting books from the UK because firstly it’s much cheaper for you, and secondly if you buy your books via our website, it helps support our site. We are a community website and any help our readers can give is greatly appreciated.  It’s a win-win, so thank you for your support!

Our Favorite Swedish Novels

Millennium Trilogy by Stieg Larsson

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo: Millennium Trilogy Book 1

Book Description: Forty years ago, Harriet Vanger disappeared from a family gathering on the island owned and inhabited by the powerful Vanger clan. Her body was never found, yet her uncle is convinced it was murder – and that the killer is a member of his own tightly knit but dysfunctional family. He employs disgraced financial journalist Mikael Blomkvist and the tattooed, truculent computer hacker Lisbeth Salander to investigate. When the pair link Harriet’s disappearance to a number of grotesque murders from forty years ago, they begin to unravel a dark and appalling family history. But the Vangers are a secretive clan, and Blomkvist and Salander are about to find out just how far they are prepared to go to protect themselves.

 

The Girl Who Played with Fire: Millennium Trilogy Book 2

Book Description: As with Larsson’s earlier book, this is highly compelling fare, with tautly orchestrated suspense; it’s often grisly and uncompromising (not a problem for many readers), and the massive text may be longer than is good for it, but Larsson admirers won’t begrudge the late author a word,and will be impatient for the third (and, regrettably, concluding) book in the sequence. –Barry Forshaw

 

 

 

The Girl Who Kicked the Hornets’ Nest: Millennium Trilogy Book 3

Book Description: This is the high-tension opening premise of the third book in Stieg Larsson’s phenomenally successful trilogy of crime novels which the late author (a crusading journalist) delivered to his publisher just before his death. But does it match up to its two electrifying predecessors, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo and The Girl who Played with Fire? The success of Larsson’s remarkable sequence of books is, to some degree, unprecedented. Crime fiction in translation has, of course, made a mark before (notably with Peter Hoeg’s Miss Smilla’s Feeling for Snow, published, in fact, by Larsson’s British publisher, Christopher MacLehose). But even the success of that book gave no hint of the juggernauts that the Salander books would be (the late author’s secondary hero is the journalist Blomqvist.

Let the Right One In by John Ajvide Lindqvist

Review: A whiff of the new Stephen King. Don’t miss it – The Times. A terrifying supernatural story yet also a moving account of friendship and salvation – Guardian. Some truly scary bits will haunt your dreams. Best read by sunlight – Independent on Sunday. Lindqvist has reinvented the vampire novel and made it all the more chilling by setting it in the kind of sink estate we all know from the media. Immensely readable and highly disturbing – Daily Express.

Inspector Wallander Mystery  Series

Kurt Wallander is a fictional police inspector living and working in Ystad, Sweden. In the novels, he solves shocking murders with his colleagues. The novels have an underlying question: “What went wrong with Swedish society?”The series has won many awards, including the German Crime Prize and the British 2001  CWA Gold Digger for Sidetracked. The ninth book, The Pyramid, is a prequel: a collection of five novellas (Wallander’s First Case, The Man with the Mask, The Man on the Beach, The Death of the Photographer, The Pyramid) about Wallander’s past, with the last one ending just before the start of Faceless Killers. Ten years after The Pyramid, Mankell published another Wallander novel, The Troubled Man, which he said would definitely be the last in the series.

Faceless Killers: An Inspector Wallander Mystery

Faceless Killers is the first of the acclaimed Wallander novels. Set in January 1990, in a frozen landscape and against the backdrop of a rapidly changing Europe, this is a bleak novel that deals with the thorny issues of immigration and racial hatred. Wallander investigates a brutal double murder at a remote farmhouse in which the only possible clues are the whispered words of a dying woman and a freshly fed horse. When this limited evidence and its implications leak to the press it stirs right wing activists into action.

At times Wallander seems too much like the traditional hard-drinking, hard-living, hard-boiled detective of old, but he is more than that. He is a truth seeker, trying to make sense of his rapidly changing world, his method happens to be detective work, and it is this search that lies at the philosophical heart of the novel. –Iain Robinson

The Dogs of Riga, 2001

Sweden, winter, 1991. Inspector Kurt Wallander and his team receive an anonymous tip-off. A few days later a life raft is washed up on a beach. In it are two men, dressed in expensive suits, shot dead.

The dead men were criminals, victims of what seems to have been a gangland hit. But what appears to be an open-and-shut case soon takes on a far more sinister aspect. Wallander travels across the Baltic Sea, to Riga in Latvia, where he is plunged into a frozen, alien world of police surveillance, scarcely veiled threats, and lies. Doomed always to be one step behind the shadowy figures he pursues, only Wallander’s obstinate desire to see that justice is done brings the truth to light.

It’s always hard to figure out what travel guide will fit a particular trip and person? What has the most interesting content for you and your trip? Should you purchase a traditional paper guide, download an eBook or choose a mobile app? We have chosen our favourite Swedish / Stockholm travel guides. Here’s what we think are the best on the market.

You might wonder, why would I buy a guide book when I already live in Sweden? For myself, I think they are an invaluable resource for getting to know the city. I have done the walking tours in most of them, used them to figure out which museums I would like to go to, and they are great to have when visitors from out of town come and visit!

We have posted links to these books via Amazon.co.uk. We recommend getting books from the UK because firstly it’s way cheaper for you, and secondly if you buy your books via our website, it helps support our site. We are a community website and any help our readers can give is greatly appreciated. Both ways, it’s a win-win, so thank you for your support!

Our Favourite Swedish Travel Guides

Stockholm Wallpaper

City Guide 2011

Wallpaper* City Guides not only suggest where to stay, eat, and drink, but what the tourist passionate about design might want to see, whether he/she has a week or 24 hours in the city. Featured are up and coming areas, landmark buildings in an ‘Architour’, design centres, and the best shops to buy items unique to that city. Wallpaper* City Guides present travellers with a fast-track ticket to the chosen location. The edited guides offer the best, most exciting, and the most beautiful of that particular city. As well as looking beautiful, the guides are expertly designed with function as a priority, and have tabbed sections so that readers can easily find the information they are looking for. The guides include rate and currency information, maps and a colour-coding system to help you navigate the different parts of the city. They are the ultimate combination of form and function.

Here’s what a reader says: These guides are not intended to be a comprehensive – more of an alternative, secondary guide. I did find some useful hints in the guide and given I like special shops, it was good to have insider tips. None of the places suggested disappointed.

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Stockholm: Lonely Planet Encounter Guide

2010 Paperback

This title covers a range of unique itineraries from keeping your budget under control to embracing the city during its Nordic winter chill. Locals share their insights: an editor dispels Swedish stereotypes and a designer defines what keeps Stockholm style so avant-garde. There are revamped full-colour pull-out map and detailed neighbourhood maps for easy navigation to discover twice the city in half the time.

Here’s what a reader says: I was very impressed with the descriptions of places and the layout was fantastic with good easy-use maps. The holiday was extremely enjoyable with the help of this book and as Stockholm is best seen on foot I was able to see everything I wanted to and experience the culture as best as possible.

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Time Out Stockholm

2011, 4th Edition, Paperback

Perched on the edge of the Baltic, Scandinavia’s coolest capital is made up of one-third water, one-third green space and three-thirds style. You just have to clock the number of glossy Swedish lifestyle mags lining the shelves of the newsagents, or the calculated cool clothing sported by young Stockholmers, to realise that this place is at the forefront of design – from chic boutiques to cutting-edge hotels. But it is also a city of substance, with over 100 galleries and 70 museums – impressive stats for a population roughly one-seventh the size of London. And for a break from all that Nordic chic, there are thousands of pine-covered islands a ferry ride away for a thoroughly laid-back getaway.

Here’s what a reader says: For me, this guide has the right balance of size and content. The Time Out guides are small enough to put in your pocket (just) and simple enough for quick reference on a street corner. unlike the Rough Guide, which has barely any photos, these have enough so you can see what things look like to help you decide whether you want to go or not. The photos are useful rather than artistic.  I like the maps section too, although in the Stockholm guide, the area doesn’t extend to the television tower, which is a tourist attraction in itself. Even so, they are very clear and helpful maps.  All in all, for me, my favourite city guides. They’re consistently helpful

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The Rough Guide to Sweden

by James Proctor and Neil Roland (Paperback – 1 Jun 2009)

A guidebook that the London Sunday Times says has “the best all-round coverage of attractions and places to sleep and eat.”

Here’s what a reader says: “Up to date and a mine of really useful information which other guides seem to miss – finds the small, out of the way places which make this fantastic country so vibrant. Whether you want Sweden’s cities, villages, islands or the huge mass of countryside in between, this guide is exceptionally well balanced and a good read in itself.” By Simon Lethbridge (Harrogate, Yorkshire)

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Travel Stockholm, Sweden

2011 by MobileReference (ebook – 2011)

This guide is designed for optimal navigation on eReaders, smartphones, and other mobile electronic devices. It is indexed alphabetically and by category, making it easier to access individual articles. Articles feature information about attractions, landmarks, districts, transportation, cultural venues, dining, history and much more. Addresses, telephones, hours of operation and admissions information are included. The guide is complimented by clearly marked maps that are linked to city attractions. An interlinked phrasebook as well as a pronunciation guide are included. This travel guide also features an itinerary with our suggestions for your travel route. Itineraries include links to individual attraction articles.

What we like most is that the attraction articles include free audio guides links to Google Maps! The website says: “On a dedicated electronic reader with a slow connection and a primitive browser, Google Maps will display the attraction on the map along with metro stations, roads, and nearby attractions. On an internet-enabled device such as the iPhone and the iPad, Google Maps will even show you the route from your current location to the attraction you want to go to.”

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Sweden (Eyewitness Travel Guides)

by DK Publisher (Turtleback – 2005)

Recognized the world over by frequent flyers and armchair travelers alike, Eyewitness Travel Guides are the most colorful and comprehensive guides on the market. With beautifully commissioned photographs and spectacular 3-D aerial views revealing the charm of each destination, these amazing travel guides show what others only tell.

What readers say: “I usually like Eyewitness Travel Guides, and this “Sweden” issue was also as useful as the others I have owned. I am glad Stockholm has its own chapter and in great detail. The scenery pictures are nice, and graphics explaining detailed floor plans of buildings and museums are very useful. The pictures alone are enough to make me want to go there! I also like the Traveler’s Needs section, especially the accomadation divided in categories of location and price. Although accomodation nowadays is easy to find from the Internet, Eyewitness has saved me a lot of precious time trying to compare each hotel between websites. I would recommend anyone who is going to Sweden to get this book. You will get all the information you need, and more!” By S. Anan

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Stockholm (Eyewitness Travel Guide)

by Kaj Sandell (Paperback -2007)

Your holiday starts the moment you open this guide. ‘The best guide available. Packed to the brim with colour photos, maps and essential information’ – Reader review. Capture the essence of Stockholm. From incredible natural surroundings in the Archipelago to beautiful parks and high-class night life. Photos, illustrations, unique 3D models and birds-eye-view maps of all the major sites ensure you don’t miss a thing. Clue up on the basics, from the most comfortable places to stay (whatever your budget) to the best bars and restaurants. Discover where the locals go, enjoy relaxing entertainment, amazing sites and retail therapy, exciting sports, scenic walks or drives, thematic tours and colourful festivals. All you need for an unforgettable trip. This title is winner of the “Guardian & Observer” ‘Best Guide Books’ and “Wanderlust Magazine” Silver Award for ‘Top Guidebook’.

What readers say: “…considered to be the world’s best travel resource to over 30 destinations around the world, make it easier to plan a splendid vacation.” — North American Press Syndication

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Knopf MapGuide: Stockholm

by Knopf Guides (Paperback – 2009)

Knopf MapGuides are handy, practical and perfect for those of us who are slightly impaired when it comes to map-reading. You don’t have to search a huge crackling sheet with a microscopic index for one of 10,000 dots on the map.

What readers say: “Knopf MapGuides are handy, practical and perfect for those of us who are slightly impaired when it comes to map-reading. You don’t have to search a huge crackling sheet with a microscopic index for one of 10,000 dots on the map…The extraordinary quality of the books’ beautiful hues and heavy paper also give these $8.95 guides an evocative quality that stands apart from the glossy, garish look of most travel books.” – Marin Independent Journal

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Stockholm Travel Guide

by Offbeat Guide (Kindle Edition ebook – 2010)

Overview: Offbeat Guides creates personalized, up-to-date travel guides that cover over 30,000 travel destinations worldwide using a combination of search technology and curation by both amateur and professional travel experts.

What readers say: “This is the perfect use for my kindle. Headed to a conference in Stockholm, I got this guide and effortlessly found transport, good food, and some local events all in the vicinity of my hotel. I even used a few of the key Swedish phrases listed, which made me very popular, or at least amusing. I will definitely be picking these up for all of my future destinations.” By Richard H. Markuson (Sacramento, CA)

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Stockholm Walking Tour

by Travel On The Dollar (Kindle Edition ebook)

Take a walk through the Swedish capital city that is made up of 14 islands connected by some 50 bridges on Lake Mälaren that flows into the Baltic Sea and passes an archipelago with some 24,000 islands and islets.

This book gives you maps and routes so you can find the best that Stockholm offers.

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Frommer’s Sweden

by Darwin Porter and Danforth Prince (Paperback – 2011)

Captures all the highlights of this beautiful nation–everything from sophisticated cities and medieval towns to summer solstice festivals and Swedish glass factories. They provide tips on how to enjoy the best museums, shopping, and nightlife, as well our authors’ favorite offbeat experiences, such as exploring the Orsa “Outback” by horse and carriage or kayaking the Stockholm Archipelago. Detailed and candid hotel and restaurant reviews, plus what attractions are worth your time–and money.

morBCN from Flickr

For those who are sick of shopping for books online and have mastered the ‘internal compass setting’ to successfully navigate yourself around the city!:) There are many bookshops in Stockholm that sell a range of English and international literature to keep you stimulated. To book lovers and bookworms who love the smell of an old novel as much as the novel itself,  bookstores are a heavenly haven to relax and browse or simply find a comfy spot to while away the time. Stockholm bookstores deliver this with their friendly staff, in house coffee shops, and they are a great place to stop, relax and take a breather.

View Bookshops in Stockholm in a larger map

Akademibokhandeln

Mäster Samuelsgatan 28

www.akademibokhandeln.se

Tel: 010-744 11 00

The Akademibokhandeln on Mäster Samuelsgatan, is Swedens largest bookstore. Here you will find approximately 125,000 titles divided into 10 departments. Whilst the bookstore does not specialize in English titles , there are some, and its the place to go for reference books, dictionaries and all your ‘lära sig svenska’ needs. You will also find stationary, newspapers and journals and there is conveniently a Waynes coffee shop there so you can relax afterwards to read your newest acquisition. Note: there are numerous akademibokhandeln throughout Stockholm

Open: Mon – Fri , 10.00-19.00

Sat: 10.00-17.00

Sun: 12.00-16.00

Alfa Antikvariet

Drottninggatan 71a

+46 8 21 42 75

A little gem of a bookstore, this second-hand bookshop is a fossikers paradise. Mostly fiction but expect to find all those unexpected novelties as well.

Open: Mon – Fri , 10am – 6pm

Sat, 10am – 4pm

Hedengrens

Sturegallerian, Stureplan

+46 8 611 51 32

www.hedengrens.se

Hedengrens bokhandel is an international bookshop and has stocked English literature since the 1950’s. There is a wide selection of genres located on the bottom floor and you will find at least 80,000 titles there in varying languages.

Open: Mon- Fri, 10am – 7pm

Sat: 10am- 6pm

Sun: 12pm-5pm

Larrys corner – “coffee and culture for thirsty minds”

Grindsgatan 35, Söder

www.larryscorner.se

‘books you never knew existed and should know about…books you knew existed but never read…books you read but never knew existed..books…..we got books…..lots and lots of books.’

‘Heaps’ of book here, both new and second hand , check out Larry & his coffee…

The English Bookshop

Lilla Nygatan 11, Gamla Stan

www.englishbookshop.se

This is a cute little bookshop in the old city stocking a range of English literature. You will find a little bit of everything here except for some genres such as fantasy and Science fiction.

Open: Mon – Fri, 10.30 – 16

Sat: 11- 16

Sun: Closed

The Science Fiction Bookstore in Stockholm

Västerlånggatan 48 , Gamla stan

Tel: 08 21 50 52

Open: Monday-Friday 10-19

Saturday 10-17

Sunday 12-17

The Sweden Bookshop

Slottsbacken 10, Gamla Stan

+46 8 453 73 00

www.swedenbookshop.se

The Sweden Bookshop focuses on Swedish literature , life , customs and culture. The bookshop boasts literature translated into 47 different languages and it is the perfect place to go if you are wanting literature or information on anything Swedish! The shop also stocks cards, souvenirs, movies, dvds and cds. It is part of the Swedish Institute (svenska institutet) and as such it sells the associated publications.

Open: Mon – Fri, 10- 18

Sat (July – August) 11 – 16

Please add to this list! We invite recommendations, comments & suggestions!

One of the easiest ways to familiarize yourself with the Swedish language is probably to read a picture book (or watch a Swedish animated film for children with subtitles).

This is one of my favourite books, although it isn’t originally Swedish (it’s Dutch), it has been published both in Sweden and the UK, so if you find yourself struggling…

Frog (Groda) is a rather famous and lovable character, created by author and illustrator Max Velthuijs. The Frog titles have been translated into over 50 languages and Max Velthuijs won the prestigious Hans Christian Andersen Medal in 2004.

This particular story starts with Frog feeling strange. He is worried about his health. His heart is beating too fast, he feels warm and then cold again… Hare says that he must be in love. Frog sets out to find out who he is in love with, and it turns out to be… Duck!

‘ A frog can’t be in love with a duck. You’re green and she’s white.’

But Frog doesn’t care. Green and white. There are no boundaries when it comes to love!

It’s a wonderful warm story, great to read to your children all year round. To enjoy together, talk about what love means, and get rid of some prejudices.

But right now, with Valentine’s day on the doorstep, it might make for a nice gift to someone who wants to learn Swedish?

Get cracking right away with this little summary…

“En groda kan inte vara kär i en anka”, sa Grisen. “Du är ju grön och hon är vit. ” Men det bryr sig inte Grodan om. Han uppvaktar Ankan med blommor, fina teckningar och andra presenter. Det går trögt. Inte förrän Grodan bestämmer sig för att slå världsrekord i höjdhopp blir Ankan riktigt intresserad. Och alltsedan den dagen älskar de varandra innerligt. En groda och en anka grön och vit. Kärleken vet inga gränser.

Age: 3 and up

Author: Max Velthuijs

Original title: Kikker is verliefd / Swedish: Grodan och kärleken

UK publisher: Andersen Press

Swedish publisher: Berghs Verlag


  1. RONIA, THE ROBBER’S DAUGHTER / RONJA RÖVARDOTTER

Ronia (Ronja in Swedish) the Robber’s daughter was my favourite book when I was a child. And it will probably remain in my top 5 forever.

Ronja is adventurous, strong-headed, funny, smart and caring. Whether it comes to her friend Birk, the son of her father’s archenemy Borka, who she secretly brings food to during harsh winter times, or to the sweet old robber Noddle Pete (Skalle-Per in Swedish), who’s advice she never ignores, and who in his turn decides to confide only in her to tell her a very important secret.

When Ronja’s father finds out about her friendship with Birk, he is furious. Just as strong-headed as he is, Ronja decides to leave the castle she was brought up in, and live in an old bear cave in the woods. There she needs to survive on her own, find food, hunt and fish.

Luckily, her father has already taught her quite a few lessons about life in the woods, like to watch out for faeries (bird-witches) and the river:

‘Be careful not to fall into the river!’

‘What should I do when I fall into the river?’

‘Swim!’

‘Yeah, right!’

Eventually, Ronja and Birk find a way to reconcile their father’s feud, with the help of Noddle Pete’s secret.

A great way to jump right into Swedish children’s book literature!

Together with Ronja (and your children), you will be greeting (shouting is more likely!) the beginning of spring after a long dark winter. And now that it is winter, you may understand why the Swedes are so happy when spring comes around again.

Age:    8 and up

Author:   Astrid Lindgren

With wonderful illustrations by Ilon Wikland (Swedish version)

Original title: Ronja Rövardotter

First published: 1981 by Rabén & Sjögren

Translated into 39 languages

And, there is more. They made a theatre play,

a musical, and a film!


Film: Ronja Rövardotter (Swedish), 1984, directed by Tage Danielsson, Silver Bear at the Berlin Film Festival.

Perfect film to see after reading the book. Gives you and your children an idea of the Swedish endless forests, harsh and beautiful, and a feel for the Swedish language. I still remember the little kobolds (rumpnisse). They were rather surprised (and slightly silly J ), when Ronja’s foot gets stuck in their home under the moss in the woods, and they decide to hang their baby’s cradle on her shoe. They kept on repeating: Voffer gör hon på detta viset…? Har sönder taket! Voffer då? (why does she act this way, the roof is destroyed, why then?)

dominique@yourlivingcity.com