Books you should ideally have read before reading "Min kamp"

Karl Ove Knausgård's Min kamp makes reference to a vast number of books, many of which it is in principle useful to have read in advance.

I think it is safe NOT to include Mein Kampf. He explicitly assumes you haven't read it and tells you a great deal about it in the last volume's middle section.
1

by
4.35 avg rating — 11,155 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
2

by
4.06 avg rating — 1,717 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
3

by
4.06 avg rating — 48,077 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
4

by
4.14 avg rating — 3,127 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
5

by
3.74 avg rating — 118,994 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
6

by
4.01 avg rating — 1,093,276 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
7

by
3.86 avg rating — 7 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
8

by
4.31 avg rating — 2,369 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
9

by
4.29 avg rating — 538 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
10

by
4.51 avg rating — 16,358 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
11

by
4.51 avg rating — 427 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
12

by
4.34 avg rating — 281,091 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
13

by
really liked it 4.00 avg rating — 4 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
14

by
4.36 avg rating — 3,315 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
15

by
4.06 avg rating — 2,258 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
16

by
4.51 avg rating — 620,387 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
16

by
4.50 avg rating — 4 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
18

by
3.50 avg rating — 309 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
19

by
4.06 avg rating — 129,418 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
20

by
3.86 avg rating — 169,611 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
21

by
really liked it 4.00 avg rating — 277,821 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
22

by
4.51 avg rating — 609 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
23

by
4.18 avg rating — 22 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
23

by
4.41 avg rating — 128 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
25

by
3.34 avg rating — 2,508 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
26

by
3.87 avg rating — 8,974 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
27

by
3.72 avg rating — 46,015 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
28

by
4.06 avg rating — 136,562 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
29

by
0.00 avg rating — 0 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
30

by
really liked it 4.00 avg rating — 772 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
30

by
4.20 avg rating — 20,953 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
32

by
3.27 avg rating — 110 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
33

by
3.73 avg rating — 56 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
34

by
3.59 avg rating — 78,142 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
35

by
4.12 avg rating — 12,173 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
36

by
4.31 avg rating — 456,255 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
36

by
3.69 avg rating — 7,598 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
38

by
3.81 avg rating — 140 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
39

by
4.23 avg rating — 4,987 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
39

by
3.81 avg rating — 15,054 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
41

by
3.15 avg rating — 68 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
42

by
3.50 avg rating — 2 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
43

by
4.09 avg rating — 11,067 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
43

by
4.04 avg rating — 36,414 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
45

by
4.05 avg rating — 85,153 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
46

by
3.63 avg rating — 139,358 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
46

by
3.55 avg rating — 4,539 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
48

by
4.08 avg rating — 1,605 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
49

by
4.12 avg rating — 11,919 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
50

by
4.50 avg rating — 2 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
50

by
4.22 avg rating — 105,088 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
52

by
3.50 avg rating — 8,978 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
53

by
3.96 avg rating — 50 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
54

by
4.13 avg rating — 4,223 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
55

by
3.74 avg rating — 47 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
56

by
3.49 avg rating — 144 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
57

by
4.20 avg rating — 10,094 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
58

by
3.87 avg rating — 65,836 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
59

by
3.44 avg rating — 57 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
60

by
3.77 avg rating — 725 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
61

by
3.77 avg rating — 4,541 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
62

by
4.12 avg rating — 416 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
63

by
3.60 avg rating — 20 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
63 books · 8 voters · list created June 7th, 2015 by Manny (votes) .
33 likes · 
Lists are re-scored approximately every 5 minutes.


People Who Voted On This List (8)

Manny 4186 books
4950 friends
Matt 1895 books
380 friends
Jakob 2458 books
22 friends
Kurt 943 books
2 friends
Steinbern 843 books
4 friends
Sterling 585 books
4211 friends
Ingmar 11063 books
102 friends
and our prophecy has come true; 330 books
11 friends



Comments Showing 1-39 of 39 (39 new)

dateDown arrow    newest »

message 1: by Antonomasia (new)

Antonomasia Kjaerstad? Beatles? Those were in one of your review threads about this.

Maybe also tag 'knausgaard' and 'my struggle' as a lot of people search in English.


message 2: by Manny (last edited Jun 08, 2015 01:50AM) (new)

Manny Hey, thank you Antonomasia! I have adopted all your suggestions.


message 3: by Matt (new)

Matt Added a few. "Betty Blue" is only mentioned as the film, but I guess it's ok to add the book.
Jens Bjørneboe gets mentioned, but no specific book. I really would like him on this list though. Hmmm?!


message 4: by Manny (new)

Manny Good catch on "Betty Blue"! For Bjørneboe, I added Bestialitetens historie, which plays a nontrivial role in vol 4.


message 5: by Manny (new)

Manny Jakob, excellent addition with the Hauge Dagbok! I would like to read that...


message 6: by Matt (last edited Jun 08, 2015 02:24AM) (new)

Matt I forgot this list is about all of Min Kamp :) Thanks for Bestialities.
Is Without a Stitch mentioned by any chance? That would fit to Mykle's books somehow, I guess.


message 7: by Manny (new)

Manny I don't remember Uten en tråd being referenced... if it is, I'm pretty sure it's just in passing.


message 8: by Matt (new)

Matt I added one of Hauge's poems books. In my edition it's only called "Gesammelte Gedichte" / "Selected Poems", but I like the prefix "Don't Give Me The Whole Truth" better :)


message 9: by Jakob (new)

Jakob Lindholm Geir Angell's work is also mentioned quite often, especially Den brukne neses estetikk. Wonder where I would be able to find that one...


message 10: by Manny (new)

Manny You are so right about Geir Angell. If you haven't added it, I will.


message 11: by Manny (new)

Manny I will look around to see how to get it... people tell me it's very good.


message 12: by Matt (new)

Matt Added Frederick (the mouse), who made an appearance right after the Caterpillar in Vol 1.


message 13: by Maru (last edited Jun 10, 2015 05:21PM) (new)

Maru Kun In the children's party at the start of volume 2 Gustav the banker says that Richard Ford is one of his favorite writers.

How about adding "The Sportswriter" as a representative work of Richard Ford? The themes look pretty appropriate (I haven't read it though) - but is this a book worth reading before reading Min kamp so worth adding to the list? Or just an author referenced in Min kamp, so not worth adding?

Or in other words how broad would you like your wonderful list I wonder...?


message 14: by Manny (new)

Manny If we were to add all the books and authors just mentioned in passing, I'm sure this list would be at least four times as long! I've tried to limit it to ones that are actually important to the plot... but if someone wants to set up a comprehensive list of all books mentioned in Min kamp, that would be fun too :)


message 15: by Maru (new)

Maru Kun I'll think about setting up a list of all the books mentioned, although how soon it will be completed will depend on how quickly the series is translated vs. how quickly I can learn to read Norwegian. It may be a long project...


message 16: by Manny (new)

Manny Alternately, if people just add all books here and order them by importance, I assume the key ones will float to the top after a while...


message 17: by Matt (new)

Matt Manny wrote: "Alternately, if people just add all books here and order them by importance, I assume the key ones will float to the top after a while..."

That's what I think too. Just let readers of Min Kamp vote for the books they think are important.
PS I never quite understood how the scoring system in GR lists works :)


message 18: by Matt (new)

Matt Not sure about "Irr! Grønt!". KOK mentions a text by Solstad from 1969, and this is the only one I found on GR from that year.


message 19: by Antonomasia (new)

Antonomasia List scoring: each person's votes are ranked so that vote 1 gives 100 points, vote 2 99 points, and so on down to vote 100 getting 1 point. (In case you didn't know, one account can't vote for more than 100 books on the same list.)


message 20: by Manny (new)

Manny Matt wrote: "Not sure about "Irr! Grønt!". KOK mentions a text by Solstad from 1969, and this is the only one I found on GR from that year."

Ah, another Norwegian author apparently important for the series whom I haven't read a single word of :(


message 21: by Matt (new)

Matt Antonomasia wrote: "List scoring: each person's votes are ranked so that vote 1 gives 100 points, vote 2 99 points, and so on down to vote 100 getting 1 point"

Thank you. That's interesting. I didn't know that. It seems it's not the whole truth though, because right now book #1 and #2 both have two votes, but a slightly different score (199 and 190 resp).


message 22: by Antonomasia (new)

Antonomasia Book 1 was ranked 1 by one voter (giving it 100pts) and 2 by the second voter (99pts). Book 2 was ranked 8th by one voter (93 points) and 4th by the other (97 points).


message 23: by Matt (new)

Matt I think I get it. Right now I added 12 books to this list. If I click on a "vote" button that book automatically becomes my #13 and gets additional 100-12 = 88 points to its score?


message 24: by Antonomasia (new)

Antonomasia Yes. You can see how voters have ranked the book by clicking on "x people voted" on the same line as the 'Vote for this book' button.


message 25: by Matt (new)

Matt The Hölderlin poems (KOK bought the book called Vaterländische Gedichte / Patriotic Poems but that one's not on GR) are interesting because they were favored by the Nazis (albeit for the wrong reason). The selection "1800-1804" contains some patriotic poems, so I picked that one.


message 26: by Antonomasia (new)

Antonomasia A couple of Likes just reminded me that I'd been meaning to post these other Nordic lists somewhere relevant, to get them more attention. And indeed comments about the books from active posters who've read more of them.

If I may...

Best Contemporary Norwegian Fiction, according to Dagbladet in 2006
Winners of the Nordic Council Literature Prize


message 27: by Manny (new)

Manny Thank you Antonomasia! That reminds me that I've been meaning to read Sofies Verden for ages...


message 28: by Antonomasia (new)

Antonomasia I didn't know Jostein Gaarder had written so many books - when I was compiling the Booker International eligible list, found there were nine others on his UK publisher;s site.

Would be interested to hear what you among others think of the Dagbladet choices... they're probably similar in scope - ie obvious - to what we might get from a Guardian or Times list, yet the books inevitably seem different & more interesting here because they're translated.


message 29: by Manny (new)

Manny I MUST read more Norwegian books! Et diktet liv (Agnar Mykle's biography) should be in the post...


message 30: by Ashley (new)

Ashley I am woefully deficient...


message 31: by Manny (new)

Manny We all are. I suspect that even well-read Norwegians will have problems with many of the things he blithely quotes.


message 32: by Matt (last edited Jul 09, 2015 10:36AM) (new)

Matt Just added another Norwegian book, Siamesisk by Stig Sæterbakken. I suggest to read the Swedish translation though because that one was made by Knausgård's wife Linda Boström.


message 33: by Ashley (new)

Ashley Thanks for putting this list together Manny. Going through Vols. 1-3 (so far), I often thought it'd be a good idea to start making such a list--alas! Sloth.


message 34: by Manny (last edited Jul 09, 2015 10:45AM) (new)

Manny ATJG wrote: "Thanks for putting this list together Manny. Going through Vols. 1-3 (so far), I often thought it'd be a good idea to start making such a list--alas! Sloth."

It is in no way too late. Please add things as you find them! And vote to help people locate the books that actually are important...


message 35: by Conner (new)

Conner At this rate I may never get around to Knausgård's books! I did need a push to finally read some of these that were already on my to-read list though, so this is a helpful list.


message 36: by Manny (new)

Manny Conner wrote: "At this rate I may never get around to Knausgård's books! I did need a push to finally read some of these that were already on my to-read list though, so this is a helpful list."

Oh, I can assure you that no one will have read all of these books before starting. I wonder if Knausgård did. They're just helpful. Probably.

I would recommend reading A Wizard of Earthsea though, if you haven't already done so. He's mentioned it in interviews as the book which has had the greatest effect on him, or something like that.


message 37: by Brent (last edited Mar 05, 2017 06:45PM) (new)

Brent Woo In an interview (which I can't find right now) he says pretty firmly that Flaubert's Madame Bovary is "probably his favorite novel". While maybe not mentioned in the text, that deserves a mention, I think! Awesome list, by the way. I'm going to tick off everything on it!


message 38: by Manny (new)

Manny I hadn't seen that! And it's true, now you mention it there is something of the Emma B in our hero...


message 39: by Simon (last edited Jun 21, 2017 05:12PM) (new)

Simon Bovary is mentioned 10 times in volume 6, maybe also in previous volumes.
"With Madame Bovary Flaubert continued this reality oriented and disenchanting side of the novel"
(p.401 in the german edition, my translation)

Love this list by the way, thanks! It's already tongue-in-cheek of course, but i feel like reading many of these books really wouldn't benefit reading Min Kamp much. Even Paul Celan is quite sufficiently quoted by Knausgard. And about Thomas Bernhard he doesn't say much, at least in volumes 2 and 6 i checked, only that Extinction was "one of the most frightening and shocking novels I had read". (vol. 2, p.420, Random House, Kindle Edition)

Ah, these Ebook search functions sure are handy.

There's one passage where K basically lists his biggest influences, something like "my writing is fosse-ized, ..., hamsun-ificated". I think in volume 6. Somehow i can't find the passage even searching for hamsun, and i'm sure Hamsun was in that list.


back to top