The most recommended books about Sweden

Who picked these books? Meet our 89 experts.

89 authors created a book list connected to Sweden, and here are their favorite Sweden books.
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Book cover of The Ice Princess

Johana Gustawsson Author Of Yule Island

From my list on surviving the Scandinavian freezing winter.

Why am I passionate about this?

I'm a French writer, originally from Provence, who found herself catapulted into Scandinavian culture almost twenty years ago when I married a Swede. When I wrote Block 46, my first book back in 2015, I set the plot in Falkenberg, a town on the west coast of Sweden, bringing my southern European culture face to face with the Scandinavian one, a kind of alliance between fire and ice. What I'm sharing with you today is the essence of my “empirical research” as a Swedish wife, an expatriate in Sweden, and a mother of three mini-Vikings, giving you the keys and the secrets of this northern culture that fascinates so much.

Johana's book list on surviving the Scandinavian freezing winter

Johana Gustawsson Why did Johana love this book?

Camilla Läckberg's writing was a revelation to me because it was with this book that I fell in love with Nordic Noir.

But what I found out living here, in Sweden, is that Camilla, who is greatly admired in France and in the UK, is often criticized in her home country despite her tremendous success. Businesswoman, writer, and mother of four, Camilla is an exceptional woman, but she does not fit in with the prevailing Swedish “Lagom” in a country where celebrating success is sometimes regarded as a deadly sin.

This book marked the start of her incredible career.

By Camilla Läckberg, Steven T. Murray (translator),

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked The Ice Princess as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

“A top-notch thriller, one of the best of the genre” (Minneapolis Star Tribune) from international crime-writing sensation Camilla Läckberg tells the story of brutal murders in a small Swedish fishing village, and the shattering, decades-old secrets that precipitated them.

In this electrifying tale of suspense from an international crime-writing sensation, a grisly death exposes the dark heart of a Scandinavian seaside village. Erica Falck returns to her tiny, remote hometown of Fjällbacka, Sweden, after her parents’ deaths only to encounter another tragedy: the suicide of her childhood best friend, Alex. It’s Erica herself who finds Alex’s body—suspended in a bathtub…


Book cover of Roseanna: A Martin Beck Police Mystery

Daniel Orozco Author Of Orientation and Other Stories

From my list on the existential violence of work.

Why am I passionate about this?

The first story I ever wrote was set among warehouse pickers and stockers; the second, a bridge maintenance crew; the third and fifth, office workers, and the sixth, cops on the beat. I’m fascinated by the drama of work. For most people the workplace is a highly structured environment—you can’t wear what you want, you can’t say what you want, you can’t avoid that guy who drives you nuts. Who-You-Really-Are and Who-You-Are-At-Work are not always in harmony, and the tension between those two identities is richly revelatory. I live and write in Moscow, Idaho, and have taught creative writing at the University of Idaho, Stanford University, and the Iowa Writer’s Workshop.

Daniel's book list on the existential violence of work

Daniel Orozco Why did Daniel love this book?

One early summer afternoon, the body of a young woman is dredged from the mud of Lake Vättern, and Detective Inspector Martin Beck of the Swedish National Police is assigned to the case. Who was she? Who killed her? These questions remain unanswered for months and months (and months). Catching a killer, it seems, is a slog, and the routines of police work are captured here in all their tedium. And this is exactly why I love this book, as it compellingly dramatizes (to quote from Henning Mankell’s introduction) “the fundamental virtue of the police: patience.” There’s a heroism to these steadfast and rumpled men, and something thrilling about their dogged, often frustrating, yet ultimately successful pursuit of the truth.

By Maj Sjowall, Per Wahloo, Lois Roth (translator)

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

With a New Introduction by Henning Mankell. The masterful first novel in the Martin Beck series of mysteries by the internationally renowned crime writing duo Maj Sjöwall and Per Wahlöö ("the best writers of police procedurals in the world"), finds Beck hunting for the murderer of a lonely traveler.
On a July afternoon, a young woman's body is dredged from Sweden's beautiful Lake Vattern. With no clues Beck begins an investigation not only to uncover a murderer but also to discover who the victim was. Three months later, all Beck knows is that her name was Roseanna and that she…


Book cover of Moominpappa at Sea

Martine Murray Author Of Molly & Pim and the Millions of Stars

From my list on the natural world as the lifeblood of the story.

Why am I passionate about this?

I credit my overactive imagination to a childhood in which our parents left us to run wild. There I developed a very alive and personal relationship to the living world which I've continued to both plunder and nourish in order to write novels. In these times of ecological devastation, it’s telling that so many children’s lives have migrated towards the virtual. I believe it’s the interpenetration of our own imagination into what is mysterious, enduring and alive in the natural world that shows us why we must strive to hold it sacred. I encourage all kids to get off their screens and to go outside. There you will find life’s unbridled magic.

Martine's book list on the natural world as the lifeblood of the story

Martine Murray Why did Martine love this book?

To be truthful, I would list all the Moomin books as top of my list and am only choosing one because I can’t pick them all. In Moominvalley and its enduring characters, its seasons, snowstorms, comets, floods, and finally its absences, we find lifes’ psychological dramas, doubts, and triumphs perfectly embedded in and drawn from the tempestuous and consoling presence of the natural world. I read all these books to my daughter and relished the emergence of a conjured world that was deep and familiar, yet also distant and magical, as is whatever realm of nature you most find yourself close to. I remember Moompapa at sea for its particularly philosophical and slightly wistful tone and because who doesn’t wonder about the wildness and loneliness of life inside a lighthouse. 

By Tove Jansson, Kingsley Hart (translator),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Moominpappa at Sea as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 9, 10, 11, and 12.

What is this book about?

Soon to be MOOMINVALLEY, a MAJOR ANIMATED SERIES on SKY ONE starring Taron Egerton and Rosamund Pike!

Moominpappa is feeling at a loss. He has no idea what to do with himself - it seems everything has already been done!

So he takes his family off to start a new life in a lighthouse on a tiny, rocky island far out to sea. It's rather lonely at first, but it isn't long before the Moomins discover some funny and surprising new things about themselves.


Book cover of The Bomber

Brenda Chapman Author Of Blind Date: A Hunter and Tate Mystery

From my list on crime fiction with intriguing lead characters.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve been addicted to reading mysteries and crime fiction since I was a kid, and I naturally fell into writing in these genres—I’m currently in the midst of penning my fourth series! There’s nothing better than discovering a new, well-written series and following along with interesting, complicated main characters over several books. These favourite recommendations of mine will take you to Ireland, Scotland, South Africa, Sweden, and my very own Canada without ever having to leave home. Hopefully, you’ll discover some new authors, and their main characters will bring you as much enjoyment as they’ve given me. 

Brenda's book list on crime fiction with intriguing lead characters

Brenda Chapman Why did Brenda love this book?

Annika Bengtzon is another strong woman reporter working in a man’s world. She’s married to a man very involved in his own career. They have two children and Annika struggles to balance chasing after a story with looking after the kids and keeping house. Most women can relate to her very real pressures and will empathize with all that she goes through on the home front. I liked her tenacity and intelligence and almost reckless pursuit of a killer. Marklund is Swedish and I enjoy learning more about the country—another cold, northern setting. Her character develops over the series with gritty crimes at the centre of the stories.

By Liza Marklund,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Seven days. Three killings. And one woman who knows too much...

Crime reporter Annika Bengtzon is woken by a phonecall in the early hours of a wintry December morning. An explosion has ripped apart the Olympic Stadium. And a victim has been blown to pieces.

As Annika delves into the details of the bombing and the background of the victim, there is a second explosion. These chilling crimes could be her biggest news story yet. When her police source reveals they are hot on the heels of the bomber, Annika is guaranteed an exclusive with her name on it.

But…


Book cover of Sidetracked

Stephen B. King Author Of Forever Night

From my list on catching a serial killer and how they became monsters.

Why am I passionate about this?

Like most people I know, I have always been fascinated with serial killers, and more importantly why they do what they do. What makes one man murder multiple victims while another with a similar upbringing sells white goods and wouldn’t attract a traffic ticket. In my books, I am as interested in showing my readers why a killer kills, as I am in the hunt to catch him. My goal is to not so much get the reader to ‘like’ the antagonist but to understand, and dare I say even feel sorry for him. We are all products of our environment and upbringing, yet some of us murder others for fun.

Stephen's book list on catching a serial killer and how they became monsters

Stephen B. King Why did Stephen love this book?

Henning Mankell (RIP) was the master of the ‘troubled detective’ Kurt Wallander, who is trying to find a murderer while his own life is in tatters. This hunt for a serial killer who scalps his victims, is a rich tapestry of character development, police procedure, and a deeply disturbed killer. This is one of the finest stories of the dark Scandinavian crime thriller genre, and spawned a major TV series starring Kenneth Branagh.

By Henning Mankell, Steven T. Murray (translator),

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Midsummer approaches, and Inspector Kurt Wallander prepares for a holiday with the new woman in his life, hopeful that his wayward daughter and his ageing father will cope without him.

But his restful summer plans are thrown into disarray when a teenage girl commits suicide before his eyes, and a former minister of justice is butchered in the first of a series of apparently motiveless murders. Wallander's desperate hunt for the girl's identity and his furious pursuit of a killer who scalps his victims will throw him and those he loves most into mortal danger.

WINNER OF THE CRIME WRITERS'…


Book cover of One Step Behind

Stefan Ahnhem Author Of Victim Without A Face

From my list on crime for those who say, "I don't read crime fiction".

Why am I passionate about this?

In my career, first as a screenwriter for film and TV and now as a crime writer, I learned early on that you must never bore your audience. I want to entertain my readers, so my stories should always keep them glued to the pages. However, the reader should also be left with new reflections after finishing the book. Crime fiction is often perceived as nothing but plot, action, and blood, without any depth or character development at all. I beg to differ. My list presents five books proving that crime fiction can be both intriguing, nerve-wracking, and mind-blowing while simultaneously serving as the perfect mirror of the world we're living in today.

Stefan's book list on crime for those who say, "I don't read crime fiction"

Stefan Ahnhem Why did Stefan love this book?

The first book I read by the Swedish master of suspense.

There's nothing like being caught by a good book: Just one more chapter, even though it's the middle of the night and work starts in three hours.

Almost like getting kidnapped with a small but significant difference: you don't want to be released.

Without Mankell, there would be no Millennium series, and this book is one of the reasons I started to write in the same genre. It's a long but, at the same time, quick read.

The characters are portrayed as real human beings with multiple flaws and shortcomings. I don't want to reveal the plot here, but I promise you: this murder case is like nothing else.

It was Nordic Noir before the genre got its name.

By Henning Mankell, Ebba Segerberg (translator),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked One Step Behind as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

It is Midsummer's Eve. Three young friends meet in a wood to act out an elaborate masque. But, unknown to them, they are being watched. Each is killed by a single bullet.

Soon afterwards, one of Inspector Wallander's colleagues is found murdered. Is it the same killer, and what could the connection be? In this investigation Wallander is always, tantalisingly, one step behind.


Book cover of The Match King: Ivar Kreuger, the Financial Genius Behind a Century of Wall Street Scandals

Patrick Honohan Author Of Currency, Credit and Crisis: Central Banking in Ireland and Europe

From my list on big financial scams.

Why am I passionate about this?

There’s something clinical and yet human about big financial crises, especially those that involve some kind of trickery or fraud. I’ve always been fascinated by this dark side of the world of money, and have been fortunate enough in my career to have had ring-side seats at a few such events in rich and poor countries. Fraud is not at the heart of the “social contrivance of money” but the monetary system is built on an edifice of trust that can all too easily be abused by scammers. From these episodes, we can learn a lot about people, credit, and society’s ways of protecting itself.

Patrick's book list on big financial scams

Patrick Honohan Why did Patrick love this book?

From my reading of Frank Partnoy’s book, I get the impression that Swedish celebrity financier Ivar Kreuger did really start out as a skillful and legitimate businessman, negotiating exclusive rights to sell matches in a range of central and Eastern European countries in the 1920s and early 1930s.

But, as so often happens, when business became more difficult in the 1930s, his elaborate financial activities gradually morphed into recklessness and fraud.

By Frank Partnoy,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

At the height of the roaring '20s, Swedish emigre Ivar Kreuger made a fortune raising money in America and loaning it to Europe in exchange for matchstick monopolies. His enterprise was a rare success story throughout the Great Depression. Yet after his suicide in 1932, it became clear that Kreuger was not all he seemed: evidence surfaced of fudged accounting figures, off-balance-sheet accounting, even forgery. He created a raft of innovative financial products, many of them precursors to instruments wreaking havoc in today's markets. In this gripping financial biography, Frank Partnoy recasts the life story of a remarkable yet forgotten…


Book cover of Hilma af Klint

L.S. Berthelsen Author Of The Haling and the Scottish Templars

From my list on navigating ancient wisdom traditions and the cosmos.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am a Templar history enthusiast with a penchant for spiritual surprises hiding in plain sight. I believe words are vessels of spirit and that writing opens a channel of communication for manifesting thoughts into reality. Traveling throughout Europe, Scotland, and England has deepened my confidence that there was so much more to the Middle Ages than crusades and feudalism. The Templars facilitated many societal transformations, including a flowering of mysticism under their guardianship. The mystery is… why have we not connected these dots before? And I suspect there’s much more to discover! My books gather research threads from seemingly isolated historic characters, places, and events into cohesive, inspired, and vibrant stories.

L.S.'s book list on navigating ancient wisdom traditions and the cosmos

L.S. Berthelsen Why did L.S. love this book?

I love books that validate spiritual creativity and ‘realign’  misconceptions in the annals of history. This inspiring biography documents the life of a 19th-century female artist, who not only dedicated her life to unique spiritual creativity, but also, is currently upending art history. It turns out that her art predates the establishment of the Modern Art Movement, which academia has attributed to men who painted several decades later. Hilma af Klint was a woman before her time. I also love the book’s color plates displaying her mastery of geometry and biology. This book is a well-researched jewel and a gift to art history. 

By Julia Voss, Anne Posten (translator),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Hilma af Klint as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A highly anticipated biography of the enigmatic and popular Swedish painter.

The Swedish painter Hilma af Klint (1862-1944) was 44 years old when she broke with the academic tradition in which she had been trained. While her naturalistic landscapes and botanicals were shown during her lifetime, her body of radical, abstract works never received the same attention. Today, it is widely accepted that af Klint produced the earliest abstract paintings by a trained European artist. But this is only part of her story. Not only was she a successful woman artist, but she was also an avowed clairvoyant and mystic.…


Book cover of Let the Right One in

Katie Marie Author Of A Man in Winter

From my list on horror with child protagonists that are not for kids.

Why am I passionate about this?

Horror is my passion and most things I read and everything I write fits neatly into the genre. But I am also passionate about telling stories from a unique perspective, or if not entirely unique then at least one that is underused. My novella A Man in Winter is told from the perspective of an elderly chap with dementia for instance. I have also found that many people think books with child protagonists must be children’s books and it makes me sad to think of all the wonderful work is being missed out on, I hope that my list has convinced you to try one of the above books.

Katie's book list on horror with child protagonists that are not for kids

Katie Marie Why did Katie love this book?

So much of Lindqvists writing is fantastic, but this has to be my favorite. I read it while in university and then I re-read it and re-read it until one of my housemates asked why it was taking me so long to read a single book then seemed confused when I admitted that every time I finished it I just started it again. 

I love the take Lindqvist has on the vampire as a ‘monster’ Eli is complex and sympathetic, dangerous and vulnerable it’s a wonderful balancing act. But what I enjoyed most of all was that Eli, while being hundreds of years old, is physically and mentally, twelve. Their long life did not make them an adult in a child’s body, they literally stunted their growth and that makes them so compelling.

By John Ajvide Lindqvist, Ebba Segerberg (translator),

Why should I read it?

6 authors picked Let the Right One in as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

John Ajvide Lindqvist’s international bestseller Let the Right One In is “a brilliant take on the vampire myth, and a roaring good story” (New York Times bestselling author Kelley Armstrong), the basis for the multi-film festival award-winning Swedish film, the U.S. adaptation Let Me In directed by Matt Reeves (The Batman), and the Showtime TV series.

It is autumn 1981 when inconceivable horror comes to Blackeberg, a suburb in Sweden. The body of a teenager is found, emptied of blood, the murder rumored to be part of a ritual killing. Twelve-year-old Oskar is personally hoping that revenge has come at…


Book cover of The Fatal Friendship

Karen Engelmann Author Of The Stockholm Octavo

From my list on to unlock treasures of Sweden’s Gustavian Age.

Why am I passionate about this?

Stockholm was the first city that I traveled to outside of the U.S. Landing there at Midsommar and visiting the Old Town made an indelible impression. I lived and worked in Sweden for almost 10 years, and had little time for history then, but later found Stockholm in the Gustavian age irresistible as the basis for my first novel. It was a period of cultural flowering, of occult fascinations, social change, and great drama. Readers tend to look further south, in France and Great Britain, for their historical fiction, histories, and biographies, but there are great stories further north as well. 

Karen's book list on to unlock treasures of Sweden’s Gustavian Age

Karen Engelmann Why did Karen love this book?

I loved learning about the close ties that existed between Sweden and France in the late 18th century and the French Revolution figured in the plot of my novel. This fabulous non-fiction work explores the politics, intrigues, and plotting of the period through the intimate connection between Marie Antoinette, doomed Queen of France, and her purported lover, Axel von Fersena Swedish nobleman. The revolution was reaching a fevered pitch when King Gustav III of Sweden sent von Fersen to assist the French royal family in their escape from Paris — an epic failure told with passion by Mr. Loomis! 

By Stanley Loomis,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

"Binding: HB Condition: Very Good Dustjacket: Good, top right front chipped. Details: About the puzzling friendship between Count Axel Fersen and Marie Antoinetter, Queen of France, and his role in the Royal Family's disastrous flight to Varennes at the outset of the French Revolution. Book Club Edition. From Stanley Loomis, a well-known author whose books have been published in 8 languages. Size: 22cm X 14.5cm Weight: 500 grams "