Why reading and writing is the road to happiness...

This blog started years ago as a place to muse on the life projects keeping me entertained. It is no surprise then that it has morphed into a blog about my reading as that has been my lifelong project. Here I review lots of different types of books, with an added focus on Australian women writers. Hope you enjoy - feel free to contribute to the conversation!

Monday, 14 May 2012

Swedes, Crime and Buns

Like seven billion other people, I read the Stig Larsson trilogy and enjoyed them, although in the last book I gave up trying to follow who was who - how many Olegs can there be in that country? With the trend towards reading Scandinavian crime, I turned to Camilla Lackberg, on my friend Julie's recommendation. She is a Swedish crime writer, and I really enjoy her books. The crimes are just as violent as the Larsson books, and are actually quite creepy at times, but the protagonists are a married couple and their relationship sweetens the harshness of the content. You really begin to care about the couple and the other characters as you read through the series. I read some review somewhere that says Lackberg mixes violence with the comfort of domesticity. I highly recommend the books. But something that has captured my imagination in the Lackberg and the Larsson books is the Swedish obsession with coffee, sandwiches and buns! Lisbeth and Mickael are constantly packing themselves a thermos of coffee and a pack of sandwiches. And I would think - damn, I'd like some coffee and a sandwich right now while I'm reading. And it's even worse in the Lackberg novels because they are constantly - and I mean like every 5 pages! - having a cup of coffee and a hot bun out of the oven. The protagonist Erika is constantly baking buns. It makes me drool. I start looking around frantically. Where can I get Swedish buns near my house? Where? Where?!
Enter Jamie Oliver. On his Jamie Does... series I watched an episode where he is doing Swedish food - and there were the buns!!!! I bought the book, and made them straight away. Jamie's looked crusty, gooey with fruit, oozing with flavour, delicious looking. Mine looked...crap. True to form then. But they tasted okay, if not a bit doughy. I've tried them again today since I'm reading another Northern European writer - Jo Nesbo. A lot of hype about his books last month when he visited Sydney and the film of his novel premiered- 'Headhunter'. I'm reading 'Nemesis'. I'm not overwhelmed by it - not as good as Lackberg or Larsson.
Here are the buns - they look a bit better this time, but they spread! The dough is very wet and hard to work with. Can I give you the red hot tip though - they're delicious! Blueberry, with orange zest and demerara sugar on top. What a treat with a coffee and a Swedish crime thriller!

Anyone else addicted to Scandinavian crime??


  1. I'm up to the third book in the Dragon Tattoo series. Do we ever find out why she had a dragan tattooed on her? And have you noticed the position of the tattoo on the cover of the first book is different to the cover of the second book? Given the books are so meticulous about detail, this bothers be.
    I am over the Sweedish Government commentry. I try to care but I just don't.
    Now, the coffee thing. I have never drunk so much coffee and eaten so many sandwiches as when I read these books. Have you noticed that when they mention the filling in the sandwiches they are so totally different to anything an Aussie would even think of? I worry for the health of the characters in the books. They never seem to rehydrate after all that coffee. Don't they get urinry tract infections and sleep problems?

  2. You are so funny Kate!!!! I never even thought about the tattoo - but you're right, they never mentioned its origin. Read the Camilla Lackberg, you'll love them. No endless anaylsis of the government in those, and they do buns not sandwiches!