Books

Category archives for Books

The library of the Royal Swedish Academy of Letters is (one of?) Scandinavia’s biggest research library (ies) for archaeology, the history of art and allied disciplines. Since it’s co-located with the archives of the National Heritage Board in the East Stable next to the Swedish History Museum, it’s an amazing place to do research. And…

I’ve been reading a 1974 edition of Sigfrid Steinberg’s 1955 classic Five Hundred Years Of Printing. Overall I’ve found it interesting and instructive, with a fine touch of sarcastic humour. But I came across a few paragraphs on the value of universal literacy that are so alien to me that I almost had to rub…

Sweden doesn’t have much of a written record for the Viking Period. We have most of the rune stones but hardly any of the sagas. And thus among Swedish Viking scholars it is not uncommon to be rather poorly read, like I am, in the eddas, the sagas and the other written sources of the…

Alboin and Cunimund in Hell

Back in 2012 we had a look at the first novel written in Swedish, 1666/68′s Stratonice by Urban Hiärne (1641-1724). He went on to become a high-ranking doctor, founded a hydrotherapeutic spa resort, was instrumental in putting an end to the Swedish witch hunts and fathered 26 children by his three wives. But before all…

I put Tove Jansson’s Moomin character the Muddler, Sw. Rådd-djuret, into a presentation. It’s about multivariate statistics for archaeologists, and I accompany the picture with the following quotation. How could you forget about the Muddler when you launched the ship, Sniff said accusingly. Did he ever get his button collection back into order? Oh yes,…

Best Reads of 2013

Here are my best reads in English during 2013. It was a really good year for quality, though I didn’t read very much: 41 books, twelve of which were e-books. The latter number was boosted by the Humble E-Book Bundle that I bought at Junior’s recommendation (sadly no longer up for sale). Find me at…

About the time of Alexander the Great in the 4th century BC, Greek writers started to offer lists of Seven Wonders that the well-read traveller should see. In the 2nd century BC the Hanging Gardens of Babylon began to show up on such lists. The location of Babylon is well known: on the River Euphrates…

Here’s a fun case of me not anticipating an imminent technological development, not thinking that last centimetre of far enough. In July of 2007, six years ago, I wrote: Lately I have come to think of books as computer devices, combining the functions of screen and backup medium. All texts these days are written and…

Historiska media is a publishing house in Lund. In recent years they have been putting out pop-sci guide books about Medieval Sweden, province by province. I’ve reviewed the volumes about Södermanland and Uppland provinces here. And now my friend and Fornvännen co-editor Elisabet Regner has written the first volume in the series that deals with…

In this well-written, painstakingly annotated and beautifully designed book, physicist Baruch Sterman (with contributor Judy Taubes Sterman) traces the history and prehistory of a certain blue pigment, along with its cultural and religious significance through the ages. It’s what the Torah and Talmud calls tekhelet, and it’s made from a gland harvested from Murex sea…