World Cup 2018: Time for Some Literary Connections!

World Cup season is the perfect time to make some literary connections with the countries playing! Lists have been published recommending books by authors from each of the World Cup countries. There have also been daily literary World Cup matches where participating countries’ books or authors have been matched against each other to see which book/author readers like best. Check out #literaryworldcup on Twitter for the latest match-ups and results.

Sadly, neither Norway nor the USA made it to the World Cup this year, but Scandinavian enthusiasts could still root for Sweden and Denmark and their Nordic cousin Iceland. Sweden and Denmark moved on to the knockout Round of 16. Good luck to them!

I thought I’d consolidate titles recommended around the Internet from the Nordic countries of Denmark, Sweden, and Iceland. It’s interesting to see which books and authors are repeated. Make sure to click the links to the sources to see suggestions for all World Cup countries.

Have you come across any lists with book suggestions from World Cup countries that I missed? Please share in the comments. I’ll update this post as I come across more lists.

Los Angeles Public Library recommends four books for each of the World Cup countries:



  • Wonderful Feels Like This by Sara Lövestam (YA), translated by Laura A. Wideburg
  • Roseanna by Maj Sjöwall & Per Wahlöö, translated by Lois Roth (Martin Beck Series)
  • Faceless Killers by Henning Mankell, translated by Steven T. Murray (Kurt Wallander Mystery Book 1)
  • A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman, translated by Henning Koch


New York Public Library recommends authors from each of the World Cup countries:


  • Jussi Adler-Olsen
  • Hans Christian Andersen
  • Sara Blædel
  • Isak Dinesen (aka Karen Blixen)
  • Peter Høeg


  • Fredrik Backman
  • Kerstin Ekman
  • Jonas Hassen Khemiri
  • Selma Lagerlöf
  • Stieg Larsson
  • Camilla Läckberg
  • Henning Mankell


  • Arnaldur Indriðason
  • Halldór Laxness
  • Yrsa Sigurðardóttir
  • Snorri Sturluson (13th c.)

Noteworthy: News from the University Libraries (Loyola University, Chicago) recommends:




Emily Temple, senior editor of Literary Hub, recommends the following books:

Penguin Random House suggests the following:

CrimeReads recommends a crime novel for every country in the World Cup:

Hodges Figgis, Ireland’s oldest bookstore, recommends the following:


Three specific books were mentioned more than once:

  1. Smilla’s Sense of Snow by Peter Høeg (Denmark)
  2. Tómas Jónsson, Bestseller by Guðbergur Bergsson (Iceland)
  3. Independent People by Halldór Laxness (Iceland)

Four series were referenced:

  1. Kurt Wallender Series by Henning Mankell (Sweden)
  2. Millennium Series by Stieg Larsson (Sweden)
  3. Department Q Novels by Jussi Adler-Olsen (Denmark)
  4. Flovent and Thorson Thrillers by Arnaldur Indriðason (Iceland)

Many authors were mentioned more than once for different works:

  1. Sweden’s Fredrik Backman
  2. Denmark’s Naja Marie Aidt
  3. Iceland’s Auður Ava Ólafsdóttir
  4. Iceland’s Yrsa Sigurðardóttir
  5. Iceland’s Sjon

I’d love to hear if you’ve read any of these and how you liked them.

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