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November 2017

Hallgrímskirkja

Hallgrímskirkja, by Kris Rupp (CC BY-NC 2.0)

This month the theme is #nordicread from the lands of ice and fire.  The nights are drawing in and getting colder, perfect conditions to witness the spectacular phenomenon of the northern lights (Aurora Borealis) a curtain of coloured lights illuminating the sky.

Perhaps you would rather stay indoors reading Nordic noir to pass those long winter nights.  Start with Maj Sjöwall and Per Wahlöö’s Martin Beck novels that shaped the future of Nordic crime writing. Then curl up with the latest Mari Jungstedt, Camilla Läckberg or Arnaldur Indridason for a chilling read.  Or read Pippi Longstocking by Astrid Lindgren or The Moomins by Tove Jansson to your children at bedtime.

Maybe you prefer to watch your Nordic noir on television.  Tune into sub-titled series such as The Bridge; which is set in Sweden and Denmark, Swedish dramas Thicker than Water and Blue Eyes or Trapped set in a remote town in Iceland.  These crime dramas make compelling viewing and present a slice of Nordic life.

Do you like to watch a Nordic noir film on the big screen having read the book first?  The Girl with the dragon tattoo by Stieg Larsson with his unforgettable character Lisbeth Salander comes to mind.

Perhaps you listen to music while reading Nordic crime fiction.  How about the ethereal music of Sigur Rós or the electronic sounds of Röyksopp?  Or maybe you prefer rock bands such as Nightwish, Thunder Mother or Christina Skjolberg.  Or maybe you enjoy listening to 1970s pop group Abba.  If you’re a fan pay a visit to Abba: The Museum in Stockholm.

If all that reading and watching has left you feeling that you need to be active how about playing the Swedish game of kubb.  Tag, toss & run : 40 classic lawn games by Paul Boardway Tukey will give you the rules of the game.  It’s traditionally an outdoor game with wooden pieces that can also be adapted for children to play indoors during the cold winter months.  The aim of the game is to knock down all the pieces including the king on your opponent’s side.

Then there is Nordic food: meatballs with lingonberry jam, sampled on a visit to IKEA.  Try a smorgasbord which wouldn’t be complete without pickled herring or, maybe not to everyone’s taste: sheep’s head as eaten by a character in Arnaldur Indridason’s books.  Or how about trying grillimakkara –  grilled sausages eaten with mustard.  Finnish children grow up eating these at their summer cottages and also in the winter while playing around a campfire.

To keep warm during the cold winter days wear a Faroe Island jumper as worn by actress Sofie Gråbøl’s character Sarah Lund in Danish TV series The Killing.  Maybe you’d like to have a go at knitting your own jumper?  Fair Isle & Nordic knits : 25 projects inspired by traditional colourwork designs by Nicki Trench will get you started.

Visit architecturally interesting buildings such as Hallgrímskirkja which is the largest church in Iceland or Finlandia Hall designed by Finnish architect Alvar Aalto.  Or wander through the medieval streets of Gamla Stan in Stockholm.

Or perhaps you enjoy looking at works of art by Nordic artists.  The most famous painting being The Scream by Norwegian artist Edvard Munch.  Or maybe you prefer the paintings of Finnish artist Akseli Gallen-Kallela or the sculpture of Carl Milles.

Nordic art and culture will feature at The Southbank Centre in London in 2017 with events including visual art, dance, music, performance, fashion, food and design.

What will be your favourite #nordicread this month?  While you are reading, watching or playing your #nordicread, you might like to tweet about it using  the tags #nordicread and #rwpchat so that other people can have a conversation with you.

There will be a Twitter discussion on 28 November starting at 11am and 8.00pm Australian Eastern Standard Time, 6.00pm Singapore Standard Time, 12.00 noon Central European Summer Time, 9am – 11am BST.  Note this is a staggered discussion.

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