Tuesday, April 23, 2013

my swedish education

So I've already mentioned that I've been reading the 'Millennium Trilogy' for the past few weeks.
Normally it doesn't take me this long to read three books. But these are not normal books. And the main thing I'm learning from them is that apparently nothing I thought I knew about Sweden is correct.

Things I Used to Think About Sweden:
1. It's really cold there.
2. Everyone's happy there.
3. Everyone is tall and blonde and looks like a supermodel.
4. Everyone is rich.
5. Everyone is happy.
6. There are no politics.
7. People pretty much just shop at Ikea and sit around being cold and happy.

So I'm not sure where I got all of these beliefs, but there they are. Were. Obviously I've never been to Sweden, met anyone from Sweden, or even bothered to Wiki anything about Sweden. I just had this general impression of happiness and bliss and societal peace and snow and since Sweden is basically irrelevant to my life, I didn't bother to fact-check.

Well thank you Stieg Larsson (may he rest in peace) for setting me straight.

Things I Now Believe About Sweden:
1. It's really cold there.
2. No one is happy there.
3. No one is monogamous there.
4. No one cares that no one is monogamous there. Even if it's their own spouse.
5. All levels of government, medicine, and police are corrupt.
6. All names (of people, places, streets, etc.) contain no fewer than 27 letters and I would sprain my lips if I tried to pronounce them.
7. People pretty much just shop at Ikea and sit around being cold, hacking computers, participating in conspiracies, and doing extremely personal things with an extremely large number of people.

So evidently Sweden isn't quite the frozen utopia I had imagined it to be. I'm going to think twice before planning my next vacation there. And no, I'm still not going to bother to do any additional research on Sweden...I mean, if the combined 1500 pages of the Millennium Trilogy can't tell me everything I need to know, then obviously it's not worth knowing. 

Consider yourself educated.

PS. All that being said, I'm still really enjoying the books. They take forever to read because HOLY CRAP THERE ARE SO MANY CHARACTERS and I can't keep them all straight. Their 40-letter names don't really help the situation out, either.


  1. My mom gave me a couple of them to read but I just couldn't bring myself to do it! I need books that require minimal brain power these days. Glad you are enjoying them though!

  2. Bummer Sweden is not the Utopia you hoped for. Surprising really, aren't they ranked like the happiest country or something? Lies! At least Swedish meatballs are still good. This weekend when I'm shopping at Ikea I'll think of you!

  3. I am very intimidated by your gardening skills and how many books you have read. Makes me feel like an illiterate plant-killer... except I don't even try to plant things, so I guess i'm an illiterate plant-hater?

  4. Obviously I need to try to read these books again. The first time I attempted to read them was not the ideal situation.

    Also I have actually been to Sweden and it is way awesome-er than your post-Stieg Larsson experience would lead you to believe.

  5. What I learned about Sweden was that they drink coffee ALL THE TIME. Did you notice that? They get up and put on a pot of coffee. At lunch - pot of coffee. Late night conversation - put on a pot of coffee. I would be in Heaven. Until someone cheated on me or tried to violently kill me (which this book seems to highlight quite a bit). :)

  6. Yeah, I think I'm more pitiful bc I've actually been there and still had most of the same impressions as you did. I was also not at all prepared for the violence/creepiness of it all. Yikes. And I just realized yesterday that the movie on Netflix is the Swedish version, but you probably already knew that.

    P.S. I'm upstairs for H's end of year program. You can come watch him sing in a few if you want. :)

  7. When I saw on my blog list that the title of your post was Swedish Education, I thought fersure you'd be talking about Swedish Fish...

  8. This is funny! It took me a while to get through the first one and I haven't felt ready to take on the other three yet. Have you seen the movies?

  9. I have to know: what did you think of the movies? I watched the American version, and the first two of the Swedish version. Both were pretty good, but also terrifying.

  10. I haven't even heard of these! But, I get confused really easy, so the 40 characters with way too long of names would do me in for sure.

  11. I've read these books (and loved/was very disturbed by them.) They too disrupted my previous perceptions of Sweden. I have a friend from Norway that reinforced my former perception (because Norway and Sweden are basically the same right? Just don't tell my Norwegian friend that I said that because it makes her very angry.) Anyways, my Norwegian friend made me think everything in Norway was just better. The coffee is better, the chocolate is better, the cheese is better, all the parents buy their kids high design strollers and stokke high chairs (which I interpreted as they are all rich.) They walk an bike everywhere.No GMO's! Free quality healthcare! Extended paid maternity leave! Quality affordable healthcare! Designer jeans! Fjords! And don't even get her started on the water quality. Basically she had me thinking Norway was basically heaven except for the cold part. Oh...And she is beautiful, skinny,and very blonde. So your first list sounds about right ;)


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