The most recommended books about Finland

Who picked these books? Meet our 17 experts.

17 authors created a book list connected to Finland, and here are their favorite Finland books.
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Book cover of The Bun Field

Rikke Villadsen Author Of The Clitoris

From my list on sweeping you to a strange surreal world of dreams.

Who am I?

I have been a surrealist since I discovered Salvador Dali and David Lynch at the age of 14. I have been on a path to combine the art world’s depth in style; symbols and metaphors with storytelling. Becoming a comic artist was a natural path and the media is great for expressing the many complex questions in life; what it is to be human and a woman in this world. I have become an artist who revolves around feminism and surrealism, eros and doubt. 

Rikke's book list on sweeping you to a strange surreal world of dreams

Rikke Villadsen Why did Rikke love this book?

The Bun Field is a dream journey of a genderless child. It has a strange and nightmarish feel to it; the protagonist is being so vulnerable and kind of hurt, but it is not without a constant dark sense of humor. Dark as the country Finland in wintertime. It has a delicious pencil-smudged style as the school of Feuchtenberger has influenced many northern artists, myself included. 

By Amanda Vahamaki,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Bun Field as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

An introduction to the work of a new artist not to be missed
Characterized by an intriguing disjointed rhythm and delicious pencil-smudged style, The Bun Field is defined by a surreal ebb and flow, possessing a deep sense of foreboding and hurt, yet maintaining a biting sense of humor. Amanda Vähämäki’s first graphic novel is infused with a sense of abbreviated adolescence and a kind of gray-sky banality.
In this story, a young girl dreams of a dinosaur eating Donald Duck; wakes to find a bald, hulking stranger sharing her breakfast; leaves to take a car trip with a bear;…


Book cover of Notes from an Island

Irfan Shah Author Of Where Lay My Homeward Path: Selected Short Stories by Edward Thomas

From my list on nature-writing with humans at the center.

Who am I?

I am a writer and researcher from North Yorkshire, England. Although I’ve written extensively on pre-cinema history (for example, I co-wrote the BAFTA long-listed documentary, The First Film) I have also researched little-known stories connected with the natural world, particularly the beautiful Yorkshire Moors, where I live. My upcoming travelogue The Witches’ Way will combine nature-writing with original historical research, and will be published by Open Space Books in the Autumn. I have long been an admirer of the poetry of Edward Thomas – bringing his long-forgotten fiction to a new audience has been a real passion project of mine.

Irfan's book list on nature-writing with humans at the center

Irfan Shah Why did Irfan love this book?

Tove Jansson was one of my favourite authors as a child, thanks to her magical Moomin series.

Her fiction for adults, too (The Summer Book, Art in Nature) is wonderful. However, I have gone for one of her lesser-known books, Notes from an Island, which is simply a short journal with brief and starkly beautiful diary entries concerning the times she spent with her partner, Tuulikki Pietilä, on a barren and otherwise uninhabited island in the Gulf of Finland.

The book is a collaboration - Pietilä supplied stark, minimalist illustrations - and it also includes sections of a journal contributed by Brunström, the gruff mariner who helped the couple with their trips to and from the island.

Jansson’s writing style is as sparse as the island itself, reflecting the tough conditions, which nevertheless, did not preclude a life of artistic fulfillment for both her and Pietilä. This…

By Tove Jansson, Tuulikki Pietila, Thomas Teal (translator)

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Notes from an Island as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In the bitter winds of autumn 1963, Tove Jansson, helped by Brunstroem, a maverick fisherman, raced to build a cabin on a treeless skerry in the Gulf of Finland. The island was Klovharun, and for thirty summers Tove and her beloved partner, the graphic artist, Tuulikki Pietila, retreated there to live, paint and write, energised by the solitude and shifting seascapes.

Notes from an Island, published in English for the first time, is both a chronicle of this period and a homage to the mature love that Tove and 'Tooti' shared for their island and for each other. Tove's spare…


Book cover of The Winter War: The Soviet Attack on Finland, 1939-1940

William Durbin Author Of The Winter War: A Novel

From my list on the Russian-Finnish Winter War, 1939-1940.

Who am I?

As the author of four novels based on Finnish culture and history, I admire and respect the Finns for many qualities, including their intelligence, their strength and endurance, and their understated sense of humor. But the quality that impresses me most is what the Finns call sisu, which roughly translates to an ability to show stoic courage and tenacity in the face of adversity. The Finnish resistance to Stalin during the 105 days of the Winter War was a classic demonstration of that national trait. While researching this book, I had the privilege of interviewing five Finnish veterans, all of whom exemplified sisu while serving during the Winter War.

William's book list on the Russian-Finnish Winter War, 1939-1940

William Durbin Why did William love this book?

The Soviet invasion of Finland remains one of the lesser-known but critically important events in the lead up to World War II. This book, co-authored by two Finns who have an intimate knowledge of both the Finnish people and the war, recounts all of the major battles in vivid detail. And it shows, how against all odds, the skills and the fortitude of the Finns allowed them to resist the Russian advances through an incredibly cold winter. While Russia lost close to 500,000 soldiers (Nikita Khrushchev, former Premier of the USSR, claims it was a million) there were only 25,000 casualties on the Finnish side.

By Eloise Engle, Lauri Paananen,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Winter War as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

This book is a brief but very interesting illustration of the Winter War between Russia and Finland. The heroic stand of the Finns against the Russian juggernaut provided a timely moral and psychological lift to those in the West willing to defend freedom.


Book cover of The Ládjogahpir – The Foremothers` Hat of Pride

Barbara Sjoholm Author Of By the Fire: Sami Folktales and Legends

From my list on the Sami and Sápmi.

Who am I?

Although I’d been to Scandinavia many times as a translator and travel writer, it wasn’t until about twenty years ago that I spent significant time above the Arctic Circle, writing my travel book, The Palace of the Snow Queen. Over the course of three different winters spent in Lapland, I discovered a world of Sami history, politics, culture, and literature. I was particularly interested in the friendship between Emilie Demant Hatt and Johan Turi. It’s been inspiring over the past years to see a new generation of artists and activists shaping and sharing their culture and resisting continued efforts to exploit natural resources in territories long used by the Sami for herding and fishing. 

Barbara's book list on the Sami and Sápmi

Barbara Sjoholm Why did Barbara love this book?

This stunningly designed new book, available from the Sami publishers in Norway, has a fascinating historical text (in English and North Sami), put together by Sami artist Outi Pieski and Finnish curator Eeva-Kristiina Harlin. Together, they collaborated on a project centered around the ládjogahpir, the horn hat once widely worn by Sami women across the high North. They inventoried the remaining examples in museums and they began to hold workshops to teach contemporary Sami women how to make the hats. Along the way, they tell stories of how the hats disappeared or were collected, and discuss the idea of “rematriation” as part of new initiatives in the Nordic countries to return Sami craft and culture.

Book cover of The White Sniper: Simo Häyhä

William Durbin Author Of The Winter War: A Novel

From my list on the Russian-Finnish Winter War, 1939-1940.

Who am I?

As the author of four novels based on Finnish culture and history, I admire and respect the Finns for many qualities, including their intelligence, their strength and endurance, and their understated sense of humor. But the quality that impresses me most is what the Finns call sisu, which roughly translates to an ability to show stoic courage and tenacity in the face of adversity. The Finnish resistance to Stalin during the 105 days of the Winter War was a classic demonstration of that national trait. While researching this book, I had the privilege of interviewing five Finnish veterans, all of whom exemplified sisu while serving during the Winter War.

William's book list on the Russian-Finnish Winter War, 1939-1940

William Durbin Why did William love this book?

Simo Häyhä (1905 – 2002), an unassuming and quiet man, is the most famous sniper in the history of warfare. During the Winter War he achieved a remarkable 542 confirmed kills while using his own rifle, a m/28-30 with iron sights and no scope. His record still stands today, and he has become a role model for snipers all over the world, both in terms of the techniques he employed and by demonstrating the significance that a lone sniper can have on the battlefield.

By Tapio Saarelainen,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The White Sniper as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Simo Hayha (1905 - 2002) is the most famous sniper in the world. During the Winter War fought between Russia and Finland in 1939 - 1940 he had 542 confirmed kills with iron sights, a record that still stands today. He has been a role model for snipers all over the world and paved the way for them by demonstrating their significance on the battlefield.

Simo Hayha was a man of action who spoke very little, but he was hugely respected by his men and his superiors and given many difficult missions, including taking out specific targets. Able to move…


Book cover of The Summer Book

Charlotte Agell Author Of Maybe Tomorrow? (A Story about Loss, Healing, and Friendship)

From Charlotte's 3 favorite reads in 2023.

Who am I?

Author Open-hearted Curious Optimistic

Charlotte's 3 favorite reads in 2023

Charlotte Agell Why did Charlotte love this book?

I love this book so much that I reread it every year. I read it in its original Swedish but the  English translation is good, too.

I grew up “on” Tove Jansson, genius creator of the  Moomintrolls. This book is for adults. It is gentle, yet piercing. An old woman and her granddaughter have small adventures and conversations about what matters, on a remote  Finnish island. It doesn’t sound like much, but it is magic. It features illustrations (by the author) which take you right to the soulful setting.

This is one of those books that makes you ponder life’s big questions, while being about everyday life. Highly recommend. It’s only  “second” on my list because I read and reread it, so it’s not a “find” to me, rather more like a bible? 

By Tove Jansson, Thomas Teal (translator),

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked The Summer Book as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In The Summer Book Tove Jansson distills the essence of the summer—its sunlight and storms—into twenty-two crystalline vignettes. This brief novel tells the story of Sophia, a six-year-old girl awakening to existence, and Sophia’s grandmother, nearing the end of hers, as they spend the summer on a tiny unspoiled island in the Gulf of Finland. The grandmother is unsentimental and wise, if a little cranky; Sophia is impetuous and volatile, but she tends to her grandmother with the care of a new parent. Together they amble over coastline and forest in easy companionship, build boats from bark, create a miniature…


Book cover of A Frozen Hell: The Russo-Finnish Winter War of 1939-1940

Bill Murray Author Of Out in the Cold: Travels North: Adventures in Svalbard, the Faroe Islands, Iceland, Greenland and Canada

From my list on to understand the high north.

Who am I?

There’s nothing like personal experience. You have to read the literature, it’s true. That’s how we’ve all met here at Shepherd. But you have to roll up your sleeves and get down to visiting, too, if you want to write about travel. I first approached the Arctic in 1991 and I return above sixty degrees north every year, although I must confess to a secret advantage; I married a Finn. We spend summers at a little cabin north of Helsinki. I know the region personally, I keep coming back, and I invite you, whenever you can, to come up and join us!

Bill's book list on to understand the high north

Bill Murray Why did Bill love this book?

“Helsinki, 10:30 a.m., November 30, 1939. Soviet bombers drop from a cloud bank to unload their bombs on the capital city of Finland.

In the weeks to come the world will watch admiringly as the tiny army of a small Baltic republic wages the kind of war that inspires legends against the invading military might of the Soviet Union.”  

The Winter War between Finland and Russia flies under the radar of most general readers mainly because Finland, alone up in a cold, dark corner of Europe, got almost no help, so that its five million people had to face the mighty Red Army on its own.

It was a different kind of war, with undermanned Finnish soldiers on skis using unorthodox guerrilla tactics on in unimaginably difficult Arctic fighting conditions.

Trotter overlays a  thorough understanding of the conflict on the hard realities of the far north for a description that takes the reader…

By William Trotter,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked A Frozen Hell as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

"Masterfully recreates all the heroism, tragedy and drama of a campaign whose lessons deserve far more attention." —General James R. Galvin, former Supreme Allied Commander, Europe

In 1939, tiny Finland waged war-the kind of war that spawns legends-against the mighty Soviet Union, and yet their epic struggle has been largely ignored. Guerrillas on skis, heroic single-handed attacks on tanks, unfathomable endurance, and the charismatic leadership of one of this century's true military geniuses-these are the elements of both the Finnish victory and a gripping tale of war.


Book cover of Finland at War: The Winter War 1939-40

William Durbin Author Of The Winter War: A Novel

From my list on the Russian-Finnish Winter War, 1939-1940.

Who am I?

As the author of four novels based on Finnish culture and history, I admire and respect the Finns for many qualities, including their intelligence, their strength and endurance, and their understated sense of humor. But the quality that impresses me most is what the Finns call sisu, which roughly translates to an ability to show stoic courage and tenacity in the face of adversity. The Finnish resistance to Stalin during the 105 days of the Winter War was a classic demonstration of that national trait. While researching this book, I had the privilege of interviewing five Finnish veterans, all of whom exemplified sisu while serving during the Winter War.

William's book list on the Russian-Finnish Winter War, 1939-1940

William Durbin Why did William love this book?

The story of the Winter War between Finland and Soviet Russia is a dramatic David versus Goliath encounter. When close to half a million Soviet troops poured into Finland in 1939, Stalin expected Finnish defenses to collapse or surrender. But they held firm. The Finns not only survived the initial attacks but succeeded in inflicting devastating casualties before superior Russian numbers eventually forced a peace settlement. This is a detailed and compelling guide to Finland's vital, but almost forgotten role in World War II. It reveals the untold story of determination and mastery of winter warfare that characterized Finland's fight for survival on the Easternn Front.

By Vesa Nenye, Peter Munter, Toni Wirtanen

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Finland at War as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The story of the 'Winter War' between Finland and Soviet Russia is a dramatic David versus Goliath encounter. When close to half a million Soviet troops poured into Finland in 1939 it was expected that Finnish defences would collapse in a matter of weeks. But they held firm. The Finns not only survived the initial attacks but succeeded in inflicting devastating casualties before superior Russian numbers eventually forced a peace settlement. This is a rigorously detailed and utterly compelling guide to Finland's vital, but almost forgotten role in the cataclysmic World War II. It reveals the untold story of iron…


Book cover of European Feminisms, 1700-1950: A Political History

Jad Adams Author Of Women and the Vote: A World History

From my list on how women rock the world.

Who am I?

I have specialised in writing about radicals and non-conformists who seem to me to be the most interesting people in the world. I like books about people doing challenging things and making a difference. I love travelling to obscure archives in other countries and finding the riches of personal papers in dusty old rooms curated by eccentric archivists who greet me like an old friend.

Jad's book list on how women rock the world

Jad Adams Why did Jad love this book?

This provocative book covers 250 years of European history. I find something to argue with on pretty much every page but I have to admire Offen’s ambition in this sweeping narrative extending across the nations of Europe from Finland to Greece, from Portugal to Poland.

I so admired this book that I wrote to Karen Offen asking her if she would read some of the chapters of my book, which she did, making helpful suggestions which improved it no end.

By Karen Offen,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked European Feminisms, 1700-1950 as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

This ambitious book explores challenges to male hegemony throughout continental Europe. It focuses especially on France, but it also offers comparative material on developments in the German-speaking countries and in the smaller European nations and aspiring nation-states. Spanning 250 years, the sweeping coverage extends from Portugal to Poland, Greece to Finland, Ireland to Ukraine, and Spain to Scandinavia-as well as international and transnational feminist organizations.
The study has several objectives. For general readers and those interested primarily in the historical record, it provides a comprehensive, comparative account of feminist developments in European societies, as well as a rereading of European…


Book cover of Christmas at Frozen Falls

Alana Oxford Author Of Scotsman in the Stacks

From my list on romances with G to PG rated love scenes.

Who am I?

I like to tell people that I found my passion in life and it's books. I write them, read them, review them and I’ve been a librarian for 17 years. (I’ve worked in libraries for longer than that. Over 25 years!) It’s been dark times recently and romance has become my happy place. I’m a sucker for romances with pretty covers, quirky characters, and not so much of the on-page spice. If there’s some travel involved, even better!

Alana's book list on romances with G to PG rated love scenes

Alana Oxford Why did Alana love this book?

I read this book after going through the hardest year of my life. I’d celebrated a milestone birthday followed shortly thereafter by the death of my dad. I was trying to cope with my grief and figure out how to be me again. This was the first book I picked up that year that I was able to read. It made me smile again and it filled my heart with joy. It was so well-written. The unusual setting of Finnish Lapland was a real treat. It just made me so happy that it’ll always be a special book to me. 

By Kiley Dunbar,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Christmas at Frozen Falls as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

'Wow!!...This is a must read, heartwarming Christmas story. I would easily give this book hundreds of stars' Little Miss Book Lover 87

Sylvie Magnusson is going to be lonely this Christmas. Instead of jetting off for her honeymoon, she's freezing at home in Cheshire. Guess that's what happens when your fiance dumps you a week before your wedding...

Sylvie's best friend, Nari, plans a trip to see the Northern Lights and get Sylvie's mojo back. But as their Lapland getaway approaches, Sylvie realises that Frozen Falls is the hometown of Stellan Virtanen, her dreamy Finnish ex-boyfriend, the one that got…