Best Scandinavian and Nordic Literature

Any literature written at any time, from Sweden, Finland, Iceland, Denmark or Norway (i.e. by authors of these nationalities, who wrote originally in the languages of those countries) - not books about Nordic countries or literature).
1

by
4.14 avg rating — 2,775,029 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
2

by
4.13 avg rating — 178,618 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
3

by
4.24 avg rating — 847,777 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
4

by
4.05 avg rating — 45,617 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
5

by
4.22 avg rating — 678,462 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
6

by
3.94 avg rating — 218,535 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
7

by
4.32 avg rating — 31,464 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
8

by
4.27 avg rating — 118,595 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
9

by
4.26 avg rating — 27,145 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
10

by
3.76 avg rating — 45,743 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
11

by
4.17 avg rating — 11,756 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
12

by
3.74 avg rating — 114,816 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
13

by
4.29 avg rating — 9,699 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
14

by
4.02 avg rating — 99,592 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
15

by
4.16 avg rating — 9,647 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
16

by
3.77 avg rating — 33,618 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
17

by
3.74 avg rating — 14,328 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
18

by
4.07 avg rating — 24,257 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
19

by
4.13 avg rating — 9,033 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
20

by
4.01 avg rating — 121,174 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
21

by
4.26 avg rating — 8,295 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
22

by
3.89 avg rating — 8,336 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
23

by
3.97 avg rating — 23,524 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
24

by
4.05 avg rating — 10,237 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
25

by
3.97 avg rating — 13,324 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
25

by
4.30 avg rating — 9,492 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
27

by
3.90 avg rating — 39,657 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
28

by
4.08 avg rating — 6,000 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
29

by
4.30 avg rating — 3,656 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
30

by
4.14 avg rating — 20,609 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
31

by
4.10 avg rating — 40,386 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
32

by
4.06 avg rating — 4,766 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
33

by
4.19 avg rating — 14,988 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
34

by
3.77 avg rating — 68,287 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
35

by
3.69 avg rating — 6,994 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
36

by
3.97 avg rating — 4,327 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
37

by
3.82 avg rating — 235,552 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
38

by
4.41 avg rating — 10,463 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
39

by
4.24 avg rating — 8,497 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
40

by
4.06 avg rating — 24,292 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
41

by
3.87 avg rating — 18,074 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
42

by
3.63 avg rating — 11,050 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
43

by
3.94 avg rating — 95,151 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
44

by
4.35 avg rating — 664,861 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
45

by
3.66 avg rating — 8,116 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
46

by
really liked it 4.00 avg rating — 20,711 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
47

by
3.81 avg rating — 8,790 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
48

by
4.26 avg rating — 7,615 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
49

by
3.89 avg rating — 14,513 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
50

by
3.75 avg rating — 65,498 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
51

by
4.11 avg rating — 17,310 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
52

by
4.02 avg rating — 5,714 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
53

by
4.12 avg rating — 11,834 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
54

by
4.21 avg rating — 5,889 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
55

by
3.83 avg rating — 28,120 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
56

by
4.05 avg rating — 65,560 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
57

by
4.17 avg rating — 7,635 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
58

by
3.93 avg rating — 6,100 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
59

by
4.12 avg rating — 11,069 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
60

by
3.58 avg rating — 4,415 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
61

by
really liked it 4.00 avg rating — 5,518 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
62

by
4.18 avg rating — 22,585 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
63

by
3.81 avg rating — 13,976 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
64

by
3.99 avg rating — 70,833 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
65

by
3.53 avg rating — 15,867 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
66

by
4.30 avg rating — 11,286 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
67

by
4.08 avg rating — 22,586 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
68

by
4.30 avg rating — 6,807 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
69

by
3.76 avg rating — 8,070 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
70

by
4.08 avg rating — 20,058 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
71

by
3.82 avg rating — 36,187 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
72

by
4.13 avg rating — 12,371 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
73

by
3.80 avg rating — 32,409 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
74

by
3.75 avg rating — 5,804 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
75

by
3.81 avg rating — 16,122 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
76

by
3.84 avg rating — 11,080 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
77

by
3.68 avg rating — 3,943 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
78

by
3.79 avg rating — 5,358 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
79

by
4.19 avg rating — 6,560 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
80

by
4.31 avg rating — 8,708 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
81

by
4.16 avg rating — 20,212 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
82

by
3.61 avg rating — 32,464 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
83

by
3.66 avg rating — 16,494 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
84

by
4.31 avg rating — 6,967 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
85

by
3.92 avg rating — 15,181 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
86

by
4.32 avg rating — 3,433 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
87

by
4.22 avg rating — 4,674 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
88

by
3.97 avg rating — 18,453 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
89

by
3.89 avg rating — 11,766 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
90

by
4.27 avg rating — 7,697 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
91

by
3.75 avg rating — 26,336 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
92

by
4.01 avg rating — 5,184 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
93

by
4.23 avg rating — 2,075 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
94

by
3.85 avg rating — 4,343 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
95

by
3.32 avg rating — 2,788 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
96

by
4.16 avg rating — 4,138 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
97

by
3.89 avg rating — 1,863 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
98

by
3.95 avg rating — 22,704 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
99

by
3.35 avg rating — 3,171 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
100

by
4.03 avg rating — 25,585 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
flag this list (?)
1,160 books · 1,225 voters · list created January 6th, 2009 by Abi (votes) .
598 likes · 
Lists are re-scored approximately every 5 minutes.


Abi 378 books
5 friends
Bettie 15634 books
124 friends
Laura 12157 books
305 friends
Sophiene 2412 books
183 friends
Ronan Noane 1786 books
124 friends
Susanna - Censored by GoodReads 3261 books
860 friends
Suvi 1677 books
410 friends
Michael 14 books
3 friends

More voters…


Comments Showing 1-38 of 38 (38 new)

dateDown arrow    newest »

message 1: by Sophiene (new)

Sophiene Strangely enough I know a lot of these books :-) Maybe my European background but I love Scandinavian writers.


message 2: by Abi (new)

Abi I wonder which Scandinavian country will get the top spot... of course my vote is always with Iceland and Laxness and the sagas.


message 3: by Thom (new)

Thom Dunn I put up Jane Smiley's Greenlanders, not knowing if it qualifies.


message 4: by Thom (new)

Thom Dunn I put up Jane Smiley's Greenlanders, not knowing if it qualifies.


message 5: by Thom (new)

Thom Dunn Searched for but did not find a combined edition of Master of Hestvikken


message 6: by Abi (new)

Abi Thom: No, a book by Jane Smiley does not qualify, because it is not Scandinavian literature.


Susanna - Censored by GoodReads Yeah, Jane Smiley is American.


message 8: by Abi (last edited Apr 24, 2010 03:28AM) (new)

Abi I've just been through the list and deleted a load of books for being one or more of these things:

A book about Scandinavia by a non-Scandinavian (travel writing, etc)
A book about Scandinavian literature
A biography of a Scandinavian writer
A book about Americans of Scandinavian descent
A book set in Scandinavia, but not by a Scandinavian
A book by an Australian about his experiences in S. Africa (seriously, what?)

If people could try and keep these off the list, that would be nice. It should not be on this list if:

It was originally written in English, or another non-Scandinavian language (of course there are a few exceptions - Karen Blixen/Isak Dinesen was Danish but sometimes wrote in English);

The author is not Danish, Swedish, Icelandic, Finnish, Norwegian or Faroese (Americans who think they are Norwegian because their great-grandparents were do not count);

It is non-fiction or academic writing, and not literature. (Some non-fiction is literature, I know, but not something like a 'Key to the Kalevala'. Just use your judgement).


message 9: by Pranksome (new)

Pranksome Quaine Scandinavia is more strictly defined as comprising Denmark, Norway and Sweden only. The list of countries given above is more correctly defined as the Nordic Countries and how they themselves refer to the grouping. So perhaps a better title for this list would be Best Nordic Literature.


message 10: by Abi (new)

Abi That's a good point, but I think more people will find the list under 'Scandinavian' than 'Nordic Countries' and I don't want to cut any of the countries out. Scandinavia is often used as synonymous with Nordic Countries anyway, even if not strictly correct I don't think it can be considered wrong.


message 11: by Riikka (new)

Riikka Abi wrote: "That's a good point, but I think more people will find the list under 'Scandinavian' than 'Nordic Countries' and I don't want to cut any of the countries out. Scandinavia is often used as synonymou..."

Maybe the description could explain this? I understand why you want to keep the name as it is, but as a Finnish person I'm often irritated when Finland is called Scandinavian country. Also this could be a good opportunity to let people know about the proper names.

Also, even if you change the name you can find the list when searching with Scandinavia/Scandinavian literature as long as that is mentioned in the description. (That's how I found the list - by searching Finnish in Listopia.) But as said I understand why you want to keep the name as it is. :)

Thanks for keeping the list in good shape!


message 12: by Abi (new)

Abi OK, you've convinced me. I don't want any Finns to feel slighted, so yeah, I'll change it. I'll change it now to 'Scandinavian and Nordic', perhaps? What do you reckon about that?


message 13: by Riikka (new)

Riikka That would work fine with me. :)


message 14: by 3535 (new)

3535 Just a quick note, Abi and all the contributors, to say thank you very much for this list. I have in recent years been reading some Scandinavian novels, and I am keen to explore more -- there is something about that part of the world which really draws me. So, as soon as I have more time, I intend to work systematically through this list and do some book orders! Thanks again.


message 15: by Mohammed (new)

Mohammed Heh interesting the popular taste of Nordic lit is apparently modern crime books, Astrid Lindgren,HC Andersen.

Im not big fan of Strindberg but he shouldnt be dissed in this kind of list.


message 16: by Mr. Twinkie (new)

Mr. Twinkie Stieg Larsson on this list? Are you serious? His books insults our human intelligence with terrible writing and and superficial characters. Come on people. Scandinavian litterature is better than that.


message 17: by Bettie (new)

Bettie some lists need more than 100 votes


Susanna - Censored by GoodReads Bettie wrote: "some lists need more than 100 votes"

So true, so true.


message 19: by Tytti (new)

Tytti Mohammed wrote: "Heh interesting the popular taste of Nordic lit is apparently modern crime books, Astrid Lindgren,HC Andersen."

It might be because they have been translated to English and most of the voters are probably non-Nordic. There are not enough Nordic voters for other books to compete with them because our tastes vary a lot, too.


Susanna - Censored by GoodReads "Nordic noir" is very flavor of the month in US mystery reading, yep.


message 21: by Tytti (new)

Tytti Finnish readers tend to like literary and historical fiction, though of course many read crime novels, too. I just don't think many of them would vote those as "the best".


message 22: by BookLovingLady (last edited Apr 10, 2015 10:27PM) (new)

BookLovingLady Tytti wrote: "Finnish readers tend to like literary and historical fiction, though of course many read crime novels, too. I just don't think many of them would vote those as "the best"."

I wouldn't either, but it is all just a matter of opinion and different tastes, of course :-)


message 23: by Tytti (new)

Tytti Booklovinglady wrote: "I wouldn't either, but it is all just a matter of opinion and different tastes"

Yes but they just don't get translated that much, which means that they will "lose" to the books that are.


message 24: by BookLovingLady (new)

BookLovingLady Tytti wrote: "Booklovinglady wrote: "I wouldn't either, but it is all just a matter of opinion and different tastes"

Yes but they just don't get translated that much, which means that they will "lose" to the bo..."


Ah, I see. It is different here. Both are translated, but crime novels are sold/read a lot more... :-)


message 25: by Charlotte (last edited May 24, 2015 01:07PM) (new)

Charlotte Larsson Could someone please remove Edgar Allan Poe's The Raven? What is his connection to the Nordic countries?

And The Nibelungenlied - this is German, not Nordic!


message 26: by Tytti (new)

Tytti Numbers would be helpful...


message 27: by Charlotte (new)

Charlotte Larsson They were both at around 300 - 375 I think was Edgar Allan Poe, and I found The Nibelungenlied on the same page. Thank you!


message 28: by Charlotte (new)

Charlotte Larsson OK, found them: Edgar Allan Poe's Complete stories & poems is at 336 and the Nibelungenlied at 374.
But, I don't know, maybe Edgar Allan Poe is from a Nordic country? I always thought he wrote in his native language English...


message 29: by Tytti (new)

Tytti I already deleted both of them. And no, he was American.


message 30: by Charlotte (new)

Charlotte Larsson Haha, sorry, the sarcasm didn't transfer into writing. Thank you, that is awesome!
Maybe someone thought that the Nibelungenlied is somehow connected to Norse mythology? That's how it usually works, this kind of confusion.
I've noticed that many of the books in this list are in Dutch. Is it a mistake or simply that many people have read them in Dutch?


message 31: by Tytti (last edited May 24, 2015 01:43PM) (new)

Tytti Well, I am usually quite sarcastic myself but unfortunately I can imagine someone saying something like that. (I have been told that some have been taught that you can use Nazis and Soviets interchangeably because they were pretty much the same...)

Maybe, or people get the languages mixed up. I usually look at the author's name. Unfortunately there are some adaptations listed. I also found a couple of other books that I deleted. (Or will when I find them again. I think there was one by Paolo Coelho...)


message 32: by BookLovingLady (last edited Sep 12, 2015 09:03AM) (new)

BookLovingLady Charlotte wrote: "I've noticed that many of the books in this list are in Dutch. Is it a mistake or simply that many people have read them in Dutch? ..."

No, no mistake. But as I own these books, this is an easy way of adding them, as my own copy comes up when I add a book :-). And apart from that, some books were not published in English (like De raven for instance).

It doesn't really matter anyway, as the author's name is still easily recognizable (and clicking on the book will give you all the translated alternatives). And as lots of GR members aren't able to read any of the original Nordic titles and not all titles have been translated into English....

I've also voted for books in English, as well as titles in other languages than Dutch, by the way (for instance Män kan inte våldtas or Kristin Lavransdatter).


message 33: by Charlotte (new)

Charlotte Larsson Hello booklovinglady,
thank you! Good to know. :-)


message 34: by BookLovingLady (last edited Dec 31, 2015 01:28PM) (new)

BookLovingLady Samuel wrote: "Seems really weird not having Selma Lagerlöf (considered one of the most popular Swedish writers) on this list. She was after all the 1st female to win the Nobel Prize in Literature."

Not sure which Listopia you're looking at, because she is definitely on this list (I voted for one of her books, and my votes are at least six months old....)


Charlotte Igelkott Removed "The Greenlanders" by Jane Smiley, as the author is American. Unsure if Quentin Bates's books belong here, does anyone know for sure?


message 36: by BookLovingLady (last edited Aug 27, 2017 09:26AM) (new)

BookLovingLady Charlotte wrote: "Removed "The Greenlanders" by Jane Smiley, as the author is American. Unsure if Quentin Bates's books belong here, does anyone know for sure?"

His books don't seem to be translated into English, which undoubtedly means he wrote them in English and not in one of the languages of the Nordic countries... I found a biography of him online, not that it helped me much :-)


Charlotte Igelkott Thank you, Booklovinglady! That's more or less what I found too, and I could not quite decide whether him living in Iceland for so long was enough to keep him on the list... Shall we leave it for Abi to decide?


message 38: by BookLovingLady (last edited Aug 28, 2017 11:42AM) (new)

BookLovingLady Charlotte wrote: "Shall we leave it for Abi to decide? ..."

He doesn't quite meet the description of the list but you're right, let's leave it up to Abi :-) Judging from her earlier comment the author should be deleted though, I think. Let's just hope Abi is still monitoring this list, as it was created in January 2009...

I think I'll check back in a fortnight, to see if anything happened.


back to top



Related News

At Goodreads, we love reading (shocker, I know). There's just nothing like curling up on the couch with a cup of coffee or tea and burying...

Anyone can add books to this list.