Let’s have another top 10 Tuesday! If you’re unfamiliar; this is a weekly meme from The Broke and the Bookish. This week’s topic is: Ten Books Set Outside the US. Easy peasy! That’s pretty much the majority of all books I’ve ever read! Of course. It does give me maybe too many books to chose from?
Let’s try to pick 10 books where the set is of some sort of importance for the story, to make it a bit more relevant.
Fallvatten by Mikael Niemi. Let’s start off by testing your patience with a Swedish novel that, far as I know, has not been translated. It’s set far up north in Sweden, the Suorva Dam breaks and disaster ensues. Basically. Completely fictional of course, it’s a study of human behavior in a disaster scenario, as you would imagine, the flood is not the scariest part.
The Other Queen by Philippa Gregory. The book I was struggling with for about 6 months. Usually, putting a book aside if we don’t get along like a house on fire from page one is not a problem. But I just really, really wanted to read a story about Mary Queen of Scots. Obviously, this story is set in England. Mary never makes it back to Scotland in this part of her story.
Er ist wieder da (Look who’s back) by Timur Vermes. Hitler suddenly wakes up in present day Germany and becomes a stand-up comedian. Loved this book, it’s absolutely hilarious. Can’t recommend it enough. Favorite part: when he’s getting an email adress, which can be seen in the trailer of the movie here.
Utvandrarna (The Emigrants) by Vilhelm Moberg. Set in Sweden in the mid 1800s, about the people who emigrated to America. Not my favorite novel, but the musical has ensured that this is a book you’ll never forget.
Stalins kossor (Original title: Stalinin lehmät, translates as Stalin’s cows) by Sofi Oksanen. I really expected there to be a translation into English of this book, but I guess not? It strikes me one of the greats. It’s a brilliant mix of politics, eating disorders, the Soviet and Estonia/Finland, and brilliantly executed.
Kärlek i Europa (Love in Europe) by Birgitta Stenberg. Published early 80s, but I’ve only just recently discovered it. It’s the first in a series of autobiographical books that Stenberg wrote. Actually one of the best reading experiences I’ve had in the past few years; I will be rereading. Stenberg frequently lived abroad when she was younger, and this book takes place during a time when she mainly lived abroad. It takes place in Sweden, France, Italy and Spain.
The Death of Bunny Munro by Nick Cave. The set is probably not that important here. I just wanted to mention Nick Cave. Obviously. The story is set in Brighton, and starts out with the haunting picture of the pier burning and the birds screaming.
Ein überdimensionales Meerschwein frisst die Erde auf (An oversized guinea pig eats the world – I guess? I’m not qualified to translate from German) by Markus Karg. This is the book about the world’s best band (oh yes, this is a fact). They’re from Germany in case you didn’t know. So obviously this is set in Germany. Or at least so I assume, I never did finish it. I’m saving this as a project for when I retire.
The Expedition – A Love Story by Bea Uusma. Sweden in general loved this book. It’s non-fiction. Mainly takes place on White Island. It’s about three Swedish explorers who planned to go to the North Pole by a gas balloon. They never made it there; it crashed on the ice and they died before they made it back to civilization. It’s an excellent read. It had me completely obsessed with cold, icy places for months and months, I was watching any type video material from any place where it was cold and snowy. Including the North Pole webcam.
Freja (Freya) by Johanne Hildebrandt. Takes place in Sweden during the Bronze Age, soo… not actually Sweden, but what would become Sweden. This is one of my all-time favorite novels. Hildebrandt has basically taken characters from Norse mythology and based her story around them. I keep looking for books similar to this because the idea is so wonderful, i.e. fiction about the Norse gods. It is also the main reason I forced myself to watch Vikings, it’s nowhere near as good as this novel, but it’s not bad.
What books would be on your list?