Friday, February 29, 2008


JoeThis week's foray into Swedish culture: the annual book sale. Every year, starting on the last Tuesday in February, all the bookstores in Sweden have a great big sale. I guess it started in the 1920s as a way for stores to sell off their overstock from the previous year, and over the years it has evolved into a bit of an event. Not surprising, in a country where the average person spends 55 minutes a day reading. Apparently many people save up, and plan their book sale purchases for months in advance, and publishers will run special, cheap printings of classic hardcovers just for the sale. Naturally, I couldn't let such an event pass me by, so I wandered down to our local Akademibokhandeln (Sweden's largest bookstore chain, and Uppsala's best English language selection).

Backstock wasn't on sale for the most part, but there was a pretty large selection of hardcovers at heavily reduced prices, stacked by subject all over the center portion of the store. I had to fight my way through the crowds for about half an hour before I found the English section: Bob Dylan bios, some History of Rock coffee table books, and a couple of art books, all priced about half of normal (which made them only a little more than I would have expected to pay for them full price in the States). The Swedish language selection was impressive, though. Anyone need a copy of Harry Potter och Dödsrelikerna for a low, low 99 SEK? Yeah, me either, although it is oddly tempting. The first few volumes of the Lemony Snicket books were there in Swedish, which surprised me—Scandinavian literature is so pessimistic and grim that the lives of the Baudelaire orphans must seem pretty run of the mill. There were some interesting looking cookbooks, and plenty of bar guides (as if anyone could afford to stock a home bar in this country), and lot's of Baltic history, plus a smattering of books I recognized but translated into Swedish.

My new goal: learn just enough Swedish to justify buying at least one decent cookbook next February.


  1. George and I finally made it to the Ikea in Canton a few weeks ago. All of the living room set ups had bookcases filled with copy after copy of Seabiscuit. Perhaps they were picked up at the Bokrea?

  2. What is your address? I'll send you a book care package.

    We miss you around here!