Wednesday, 3 June 2015

Special: My Reading Summer of Nordic White Nights

About a year ago or two I came across an interesting blog called Notes of the North which featured a perpetual Nordic Reading Challenge with books from Scandinavian countries. I bookmarked the site, but unfortunately it seems that Zee abandoned the blog since it’s no longer online and the books in her Nordic Literature Review Database are no longer available, either. I think that it’s a pity and so I decided to make a summer special presenting books from the North.

Unlike Zee I won’t limit myself neither to writers from the North nor to Scandinavia, though. Instead my starting point is my love for daylight and the special experience that offer summer nights in places close to the Arctic Circle. Of course, most of you will know that those Nordic nights use to be called white nights in many languages and I think that it’ll be interesting to follow the traces that the long hours of light left in literature in one way or another. However, it would get boring to read only about white nights…

In the end I picked a variety of books principally set in northern countries or to be precise no further south than the fiftieth parallel with the exception of the City of New York in the USA and the island of Hokkaidō in Japan. And here’s my list – a short list of thirteen books scheduled for review until the end of August and a small selection of others for your reading inspiration:

  1. André Aciman: Eight White Nights (2010)
  2. Cindy Dyson: And She Was (2005)
  3. Jean Irwin: The Galliard (1941), first published as The Gay Galliard: The Story of Mary Queen of Scots
  4. Anna Kim: Anatomy of a Night (2012), original German title: Anatomie einer Nacht
  5. Halldór Laxness: Iceland's Bell (1943), original Icelandic title: Íslandsklukkan
  6. Henning Mankell: Italian Shoes (2006), original Swedish title: Italienska skor
  7. Alice Munro: Dear Life (2012)
  8. Murakami Haruki: A Wild Sheep Chase (1982), original Japanese title: 羊をめぐる冒険
  9. Sten Nadolny: The Discovery of Slowness (1983), original German title: Die Entdeckung der Langsamkeit
  10. Gabrielle Roy: The Tin Flute (1945), original French title: Bonheur d'occasion
  11. Cora Sandel: Alberta and Jacob (1926), original Norwegian title: Alberte og Jakob
  12. Frans Eemil Sillanpää: People in the Summer Night (1934), original Finnish title: Ihmiset suviyössä
  13. Alexandr Solzhenitsyn: One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich (1963), original Russian title: Один день Ивана Денисовича

  • Fyodor Mikhailovich Dostoyevsky: White Nights and Other Stories (1848), original Russian title: Белые ночи
  • Dominique Fortier: On the Proper Use of Stars (2008), original French title: Du bon usage des étoiles
  • Knut Hamsun: Growth of the Soil (1917), original Norwegian title: Markens Grøde
  • Georgina Harding: The Solitude of Thomas Cave (2007)
  • Kim Leine: The Fjord of Eternity (2012), original Norwegian title: Fram in Evighedsfjord
  • Jack London: White Fang (1906) 
  • MacDonald Harris: The Balloonist (1976)
  • Klas Östergren: The Hurricane Party (2007), original Swedish title: Orkanpartyt
  • Arto Paasilinna: The Howling Miller (1981), original Finnish title: Ulvova mylläri
  • Yuri Sergeyevich Rytkheu: A Dream in Polar Fog (1970), original Russian title: Сон в начале тумана
  • Jane Smiley: The Greenlanders (1988)
  • Tor Ulven: Replacement (1993), original Norwegian title: Avløsning

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