Are you dreaming about a trip to Norway? If so, these books about Norway will hopefully be perfect for you! Norway has been on my travel list for quite away (
and we are really hoping for a trip there in 2022 update — we went to Norway!!), and reading some of these Norway books just wants to make me visit even more.
We’ve got fiction, non-fiction, children’s book and young adult books all about Norway, so there’s something here for everyone. Let’s get going!
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More Scandinavian Books
Fiction Set in Norway
The Mercies by Kiran Millwood Hargrave
Set in Norway in 1617, a small village of women must learn how to survive when all of the village men drown in a storm. But when a newcomer arrives on a witch hunt, it could spell trouble for everyone. For fans of historical fiction and books about female power.
The Morning Star by Karl Ove Knausgaard, Translated by Martin Aitkin
At a Norwegian resort, a group of people witness a mysterious bright star appearing in the sky. But afterwards they must try to understand how to go on with their lives as strange things continue to happen. For fans of literary fiction.
Out Stealing Horses by Per Petterson, Translated by Anne Born
As Trond has grown older, he lives in an isolated cabin in Norway. But here he reflects on the summer he was 15, when an incident occurred that changes both his and his friend’s lives. For fans of literary fiction.
The Snowman by Jo Nesbø, Translated by Don Bartlett
Listen, I am not a thriller reader, so there’s no way this is going to make it on to my TBR. But if you want some Scandinavian noir/mystery, Jo Nesbø is a great place to turn. Here, Inspector Harry Hole tracks a serial killer that has been murdering women with the first snowfall. For fans of thrillers; and if you like this, Nesbø has a lot more books. (This is the seventh book in a series, but one of the most popular. While you can read them in order, you don’t absolutely have to.)
Doppler by Erland Loe, Translated by Don Bartlett and Don Shaw
After Doppler’s father dies, he moves to the woods and is perfectly happy being by himself. After he kills an elk though, he becomes friends with her left-behind calf. This absurd and comic novel is for fans of novels that critique society and contemporary fiction.
Kristin Lavransdatter by Sigrid Undset, Translated by Tiina Nunnally
First published in 1922, this Norwegian classic tells the story of protagonist Kristen Lavransdatter’s life in the 14th century, from her childhood as a student in a convent to her marriage and beyond. For fans about modern classics, epic books, and strong female protagonists.
Sophie’s World by Jostein Gaarder, Translated by Paulette Moller
When Sophie begins getting mysterious mail, she becomes entrenched in the world of philosophy, learning about historical philosophers and theories. But she also wants to know who the girl is whose mail she is receiving. For fans of fiction that is entwined with philosophy.
Norse Mythology by Neil Gaiman
Norse myths are reimagined by Gaiman, from their origin through Ragnarok in this entertaining book featuring Odin, Thor, Loki and other Norse mythology characters. If you think mythology is boring, this may convince you otherwise. For fans of fantasy and sci-fi.
Lean Your Lonliness Slowly Against Mine by Klara Hveberg, Translated by Alison McCullough
Rakel is a bit of a math prodigy who moves to Oslo for university. There she meets a professor who becomes entangled in her life and who draws parallels between her and Sofja Kovalevskaja, the groundbreaking Russian mathematician. This is a reflective novel about math, music, poetry, and love and is for fans of literary fiction.
The Ice Palace by Tarjei Vesaas, Translated by Elizabeth Rokkan
A classic of Norwegian literature, The Ice Palace centers around two young girls who meet once and form an awkward friendship. The next day, one girl goes looking for the titular ice palace in the woods, and when she doesn’t return the other struggles with the loss. This is for fans for literary fiction on the more depressing side and sparse prose.
Echoes of the City by Lars Saabye Christensen
A reflection of the city of Oslo, in this book a family struggles in Norway post-WWII and their lives and the lives of their neighbors become entwined. This book examines humanity and kindness, and is for fans of literary fiction.
Hunger by Knut Hamsun, Translated by Sverre Lyngstad
This classic novel was first published in 1890 and centers around a man who goes mad in a small town in Norway. Hamsun won the Nobel Prize for one of his subsequent novels, but this one is his first and is for fans of character driven stories and classic novels.
A Doll’s House by Henrik Ibsen
A classic play from Norwegian writer Henrik Ibsen, A Doll’s House centers around a family’s life and the mother, Nora, who struggles against societal expectations for mothers and wives. If you aren’t sure about reading a play, definitely give this one a try. It’s not long and so enjoyable (just think of it as reading a lot of dialogue!).
Non-Fiction Books About Norway
My Struggle by Karl Ove Knausgaard, Translated by Don Bartlett
Knausgaard’s six-volume autofiction work has been an absolute blockbuster. It’s hard to explain what this is about, because it is both about nothing and everything. Knausgaard takes the mundane details of life and makes them shine with importance and interest. For fans of quiet books, steam of consciousness (still accessible!), and autobiographical fiction.
Autumn by Karl Ove Knausgaard
If you want to try some Knausgaard but are a little intimidated by the My Struggle volumes, his seasonal quartet might be perfect. There are both less of them (four total) and they are shorter. Here he focuses on the everyday things with small essays for each: apples, beekeeping, loneliness, chimneys, silence. For fans of reflective essays.
After a deep sea accident almost kills him, Watkins begins dreaming of Norway and the mythical land of the stories he hears from his fellow shipmates. Once he has recovered, he goes there with just the minimal survival gear to hike the famous fjords. This travel memoir is for fans of adventure and survival stories.
Walking One Step at a Time by Erling Kagge, Translated by Becky L. Crook
This short and quiet book of essays is exactly about what it says: walking. Kagge is an explorer who has been on many incredible journeys, but here he is equally interested in the every day journeys we take and how sometimes we can be better off putting our two feet on the ground and setting off. For fans of accessible philosophy and short essays.
We Die Alone: A WWII Epic of Escape and Endurance by David Howarth
I feel like we don’t get a lot of WWII books about Norway, so if you are a WWII aficionado, here’s one to add to your list. This is the story of a team of Norwegian ex-pats who sail back to Norway to help the resistance, only to be attacked by Nazis. Only one man survived, and this is the story of his escape and how a small village helped him. For fans of WWII and survival books.
Find more books set around the world! Check out these 10 Books About Patagonia.
Children’s Books Set in Norway
Ola by Ingri & Edgar Parin d’Aulaire
A beloved children’s book, follow a Norwegian boy as he encounters many adventures as he is skiing. Recommended ages: 4-8 years.
Trouble with Trolls by Jan Brett
Treva and her dog Tuffi set off to climb Mount Baldy to visit her cousin on the other side. But the trolls who live on the mountain want to steal Treva’s dog, and she must outsmart them to get through. Jan Brett’s books are classics, and kids will love both the story and the rich illustrations. Recommended ages: 4-8 years.
D’Aulaire’s Book of Norse Myths by Ingri & Edgar Parin d’Aulaire
For your mythology loving kids, this collection of Norse myths is beautifully illustrated and will introduce children to Odin, Thor, Loki and other Norse mythology characters. Recommended ages: 5-10 years.
Master Maid: A Tale of Norway by Aaron Shepard, Illustrated by Pauline Ellison
Lief is not good at taking advice. In fact, he often wants to do the opposite of what he’s told. But when he goes to work for a troll, he’ll need to learn to take advice from the maid in the kitchen. This book is from a Norwegian folktale. Recommended ages: 6-9 years.
The Princess & the White Bear King by Tanya Robyn Batt, Illustrated by Nicoletta Ceccoli
Based on classic European fairytales, in this mythical book, a princess is taken by a white bear to live in his castle. Things are fine until she makes a mistake and must set out on a journey to find love and happiness. Recommended ages: 6-12 years.
Leif the Lucky by Ingri & Edgar Parin d’Aulaire
A fictionalized story of Erik the Red’s son, Leif, this picture book follows his adventures on his father’s viking ship as they search for new lands. This is a picture book for older readers. Recommended ages: 8-12 years.
Middle Grade + YA Books Set in Norway
Astrid the Unstoppable by Maria Parr, Translated by Guy Puzey
Astrid is an adventurous and spunky heroine who loves to ski through the mountains and is known as the “little thunderbolt of Glimmerdal.” When two new arrivals to her mountain village turn her life upside down, she just wants to figure out a way to get things back to normal. Recommended ages: 7-10 years.
William Wenton and the Impossible Puzzle by Bobbie Peers, Illustrated by Tara F. Chance
Eight years ago, William and his parents moved from England to a small town in Norway, and his parents still won’t tell him why. William has a knack for solving puzzles, and when the Impossible Puzzle comes to town and William solves it, his life changes drastically. This is book one of a series. Recommended ages: 8-12 years.
Odd and the Frost Giants by Neil Gaiman, Illustrated by Chris Riddell
When Odd, a young viking boy, becomes lost in the woods, he helps out a bear. But it isn’t just any bear…it’s a Norse god trapped in a bear’s body. And Odd must help him, along with the other trapped gods he meets, defeat a frost giant and reclaim Asgard. Recommended ages: 8-12 years.
Magnus Chase and the Gods of Asgard by Rick Riordan
When Magnus Chase discovers he is the son of a Norse god, he must fight Asgard’s enemies along with his mythical friends. This book is for kids who love adventure books (and perhaps love Riordan’s other books like the Percy Jackson series). Recommended ages: 10-14 years.
The Wide Starlight by Nicole Lesperance
Eli Davis still remembers when her mother disappeared on a Norway fjord after whistling to the Northern Lights. Ten years later, Eli lives on Cape Cod with her dad. When the Northern Lights appear one night, she tries whistling to them, and her mother reappears along with some mythical companions. Recommended ages: 12 and up.
The Reckless Kind by Carly Heath
In this YA novel set in 1904 Norway, Asta decides to escape to the mountains with her friends rather than marry. But they need to make some money to survive, and the only way to do that is to win a dangerous horse race. Recommended ages: 14 and up.
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