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Norwegian Wood: Chopping, Stacking, and Drying Wood the Scandinavian Way

4.20  ·  Rating details ·  2,245 ratings  ·  273 reviews
The latest Scandinavian publishing phenomenon is not a Stieg Larsson–like thriller; it’s a book about chopping, stacking, and burning wood that has sold more than 200,000 copies in Norway and Sweden and has been a fixture on the bestseller lists there for more than a year. Norwegian Wood provides useful advice on the rustic hows and whys of taking care of your heating need ...more
Hardcover, 192 pages
Published October 6th 2015 by Harry N. Abrams (first published 2011)
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Aaron Koelker It covers a bit of lifestyle talk, history, forestry science, and the actual how-tos of using an ax, etc. I wouldn't file it under philosophy or anyth…moreIt covers a bit of lifestyle talk, history, forestry science, and the actual how-tos of using an ax, etc. I wouldn't file it under philosophy or anything though. I've never had to chop firewood for the winter, living in Florida, but as someone who likes doing a bit of wood work and is interested in the environment, I found it pretty interesting. (less)

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Average rating 4.20  · 
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 ·  2,245 ratings  ·  273 reviews

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Start your review of Norwegian Wood: Chopping, Stacking, and Drying Wood the Scandinavian Way
Dec 28, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2016
Wood isn’t something much thought about or talked about in Norwegian public life, at least not until the larger connections are made to the goal of a society based on bioenergy. Yet wood will always resonate at some deep level inside me and my compatriots, because our relationship to fire is so ancient, so palpable, and so universal.

This is a non-fiction book. About wood.

For two months now, I’ve seen this book all over London bookstores. Not really knowing what it was, I ended up laughing at it
Paul Christensen
Aug 26, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: practical
Ah, Norway.

“Svensson was not a man to take professional disappointments lying down. On one occasion he was so annoyed when a visiting government delegation refused to let him demonstrate his chainsaw to them that he felled five trees across the road to stop them from leaving.

"Criticized for his actions in a local newspaper, he turned up unannounced at the newspaper’s offices, started up his Beaver chainsaw, and cut the editor’s desk in half.

"He then got into his car and set off for Oslo...”
Aug 23, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: translated, design
At first sight, this book looks like a practical joke. 200 pages about chopping, splitting, stacking and drying wood?

But I picked it up because we’ve moved to a house with a fireplace. That’s something we didn’t have before. So I thought I might collect some good advice. And the book offers that, in spades.

Lars Mytting approaches his subject with the clearheaded sense of Scandinavian practicality. He might have taken it as a launchpad for a reflection dense with anthropological and philosophic
Julie Hoegh - Editor at Bookstoker
Oct 18, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: wacky
Who’d have thought that this book would show up in British and American bookshops?! I’d heard of it’s huge success in my native Norway and Sweden (200,000+ copies sold), but thought for sure that’s where it would remain. Norwegian Wood is a non-fiction book about chopping firewood. Stacking firewood. Drying firewood. But more importantly, it’s about nature, patience, persistence and appreciating the small things in life. Norwegian Wood is a cross between the Cohen brothers’ film Fargo and the cu ...more
Nov 18, 2015 rated it it was amazing
“In Norway, discussions on the vexed question of whether logs should be stacked with the bark facing up or down have marred many a christening and spoiled many a wedding when wood enthusiasts are among the guests.” - if that makes sense to you, you will probably like this book.

Reading this book was a memory trip for me. When my father was 57 years old, he decided to switch from oil-fired heating to wood-fired (this was just after the first oil-supply shock in the mid 1970s). So he bought a pick
Kathrin Passig
Jan 14, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Kathrin by: Marginal Revolution blog
Shelves: technology
Diverse alberne Stellen, die davon handeln, dass die ganze Sache außerordentlich männlich ist und übrigens nur was für Männer. Hier zum Beispiel über Motorsägen: "So this is not something to be bought at the garden center on a Saturday morning, with your children's fingers sticky from ice cream, your wife impatient to get on with the rest of her day, and the parking meter about to expire. Like a man's choice of hunting rifle, car, and sound system, the selection of a chain saw is something to li ...more
Lisa Hayden Espenschade
As someone who grew up in a house with a wood-burning cook stove and now lives in a house with two wood-burning fireplace inserts/stoves, I thoroughly enjoyed skimming my way through Norwegian Wood. I loved the accounts of Norwegian towns with allegiance to specific chainsaw brands, debate on how to stack wood (we seem to use a hybrid method), data on the heating power of various woods, advice on how to get a good fire going, and praise for wood-generated heat. All told with plenty of dry northe ...more
Karen W
Dec 17, 2015 rated it really liked it
As I turned the final page, a single tear rolled down my cheek. Also, I learned that there is no such thing as a log being "too dry" to burn. Oh yes, all of the lies were revealed. I will say no more! ...more
May 10, 2016 rated it really liked it
Actually super interesting. A good mix of history, science, practicality, folklore, and nostalgia.

Fully aware that I am slowly turning into my father.
Nov 16, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Henry David Thoreau once said "Every man looks at his wood-pile with a kind of affection. I love to have mine before the window, and the more chips (around the chopping block) the better to remind me of my pleasing work." Thoreau has many quotes of course of the woods - one only needs to look upon pictures of Walden Pond and understand the reasoning behind the opening statement of “…I went into the woods…” and likely his more famous reflection by most people more familiar than I with his works.

Feb 19, 2018 rated it it was amazing
A very interesting book if you're interested in the process of burning wood responsibly, from chopping the tree until burning it in your stove. It focusses on how it's done in Scandinavia, but most of the information is also usable for, let's say, someone in the Netherlands. ...more
Peter S
Jul 05, 2019 rated it really liked it
Second book I have finished that was written by a Norwegian in the past week. I started both over a year ago, put them down, picked them back up and finished them up quickly.

The first 2 chapters of this book were great, and so was the last. The middle was less interesting for someone who hasn’t done much by way of chopping wood (yet). If nothing else, this book made me want to start my own fires once I have my own house deep in the woods. I recommend reading if you are interested in nature, tree
Nov 12, 2015 rated it really liked it
How to describe this? It is part natural history of Scandinavian forestry, part instruction manual, and part love letter to a rather mundane, but nevertheless complicated activity that is both a necessity and a pastime.

In times past, forestry was vital to the survival of peoples in the North. To that end, it's been studied endlessly. The proper management of forests has been a subject of inquiry for centuries. The proper techniques for felling, cutting, drying, and splitting firewood were an art
Aaron Koelker
May 24, 2016 rated it liked it
Kind of a fun, different read. Covers a bit of lifestyle talk, history, forestry science, and the actual how-tos of using an ax, etc. I enjoyed it more towards the beginning when it talked about things in a broader sense than I did the latter half which felt more like a text book, but I was interested throughout. The book is really well put together and has plenty of gorgeous full color photos, some spanning an entire page or two. Kinda like a more readable coffee table book.

I'd recommend it if
Rob Mentzer
May 19, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Deeply enjoyable book about firewood and the practical work of making it. Lots of pretty pictures of firewood and stacks of firewood. Soothing.

We had to have a tree taken down last week and the knowledge that I have a bunch of wood to split and stack in the backyard is very comforting to me.
Apr 14, 2016 rated it really liked it
Surprisingly interesting read! I bought it on a whim, and really enjoyed the topic.
Aug 04, 2016 rated it it was amazing
This was one of those rare books that made me want to make a drastic change in my life situation. Namely, I wanted to move to the wilderness, grow a beard, and live with the trees.
Jan 09, 2020 rated it liked it
Finally finished!! It has only been since 2017 that I have been off and on again reading this!! I finished what I started though and that makes me happy! In review of the book itself, all you need to know is in the title. Which is not a bad thing. I enjoyed this book for what it is, a book about wood and fire!!
Nov 17, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: listened-to
What a delightful surprise! This is a very entertaining and educational book about a subject that I never realized could be so interesting. Surely, sitting cozily in front of a burning fire is something that I very much hold dear, so learning and thinking more deeply about that beautiful end result is a worthy expense of time. Matthew Lloyd Davies did a wonderful job narrating and author Lars Mytting should be commended for his marvellous and yes, touching, study of how and why we prepare for fi ...more
Dec 06, 2016 rated it it was amazing
This was a fun book to read. I grew up in a home that was exclusively heated by a wood stove and so I thought about my brother and sister and I stacking wood every summer after Dad had split it and taking wood from the barn to the house throughout late fall, winter and spring. I think my father would enjoy reading this, too! The many color photos are wonderful and interesting and add to the context of the content. The chapters cover such things as wood, tools, fire, stoves and seasoning. This bo ...more
Rhonda Lomazow
Aug 17, 2015 rated it it was amazing
This is a fascinating look at the Scandinavian style of chopping&storing wood,it's also a peek into Scandinavian culture the people the way of caring for their home making sure to have enough wood for the freezing winter.the formations people design to store the wood &the pride pride they take in it,One of the authors neighbors an older sickly man would take no help in storing his shipment of wood as he loaded huis wood he seemed to become healthier&astringent.A totally charming book .
Melissa Stuart Barnett
Jun 27, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This books keeps creeping into my thoughts. Thinking about the satisfaction we can find in the mundane. The beauty some people can create when stacking wood. The art of felling a tree. I do none of these things but it is like my simple sigh when the dishes are done, the kids are asleep and I made it through another day and might have even caught a glimpse of dozens of fireflies randomly blinking through our woods. Sometimes we’re just stacking wood for the next generation and that’s ok.
Carey Nelson
Oct 04, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2018, favorites
Listen, I'm not sure I can explain the appeal of this book. I don't know why it's so mesmerizing. Maybe it's aspirational for me. Maybe I need to go spend some time in Norway. Maybe I need to go chop down a tree in my back yard. It's too late now though. I'll do it in January. This year I'll just be curled up next to the fire sleeping with this book as my pillow. ...more
Mar 24, 2017 rated it really liked it
As someone who has only touched a chainsaw once (but did not get to hold it) I have no idea why I read this book. But it was good. Honestly, this was a really fascinating book and I enjoyed it immensely.
Just got this from the Nashua Public Library. It is a beautifully produced book.
Ben Halliwell
Mar 03, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I really enjoyed this, and learned a lot. I wished I could keep reading after I reached the end.
Antanas Kairys
Aug 09, 2018 rated it it was amazing
The book is about wood chopping. And stacking. Literally, it's just a manual. I chopped wood only several times. I even don't have an ax. But... The book somehow is magical and really interesting. ...more
Aug 13, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
—"The time it takes is the time it takes."—

This is a book about... well, the title does give it away. I'm one of those individuals who have spent most of their lives cutting and splitting and stacking and moving and stacking and burning wood. And yes, I have spent hours discussing whether wood should be stacked with the bark facing up, or down, whether you should stack north to south, or east to west, and how best to square an end. Only those crazy and lovable Scandinavians would stack wood in a
Ivan Monckton
Jun 02, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Terrific book, recently republished in a new hardback edition. It’s not difficult to see why it has been a worldwide success, with practical information on every aspect of firewood and a good dose of philosophy. The photographs of stacks of firewood are heartwarming, and the seriousness with which Scandinavian countries take the subject, with institutions and institutes, government research, standards and legal requirements seems astounding, until you discover that firewood can be a life and dea ...more
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Lars Mytting er en norsk journalist og forfatter. Mytting har arbeidet som forlagsredaktør og journalist i Dagningen, Aftenposten, Arbeiderbladet og Beat.
Arbeidet senere som forlagsredaktør, før han fikk utgitt romanen Hestekrefter i 2006.

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