...because you thought Sweden was Switzerland!

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

What's new this week

The 3-week long nationwide book sale started yesterday, and all bookstores are participating, including Swedish-based online bookstores like Adlibris and Bokus (which are offering free freight because their wares are already cheaper than in regular bookstores). Yesterday, I went around in some of them. Akademibokhandeln, Sweden's biggest book store, was among those that started the sale on the midnight between Monday and Tueday.

Although tax on books has been reduced in Sweden in recent years and student discounts are available, many exchange students – even those coming from within Europe – usually complain about the price (and limited stock) of books here. Sometimes, even textbooks are hard to find and one has to recourse to either placing a bookstore order or photocopying the teacher's book (the proviso being, of course, that you do it for personal use. But who would buy your photocopies anyway?) If you don't want to do either, I usually have three suggestions to folk which I follow myself. In order, they are: (1) discover your city and campus library – you will find almost everything there, even recently published books (2) if you must, buy books online – they're cheap and reliable and have so much more titles available than the local bookstore (3) wait for the yearly book sale to buy the things you really want, but note that it will mostly be fiction, non-fiction and "fact books" (like cookbooks and self-help) available in local bookstores.

According to the radio, the trend in Norrköping has been a preference for non-fiction over novels. But I understand that, since the city library is just a block away from the big bookstores and is really competing with them in terms of ambience and accessibility. They recently created a youth lounge where you can play Sony wii and eat your snacks while taking your study break. They also have tables with chessboards that are usually occupied by old Greeks passing the afternoon. If the books are too creased on the spine (popular titles usually are), they also give those books away – something that I took advantage of just this week when I got a Swedish copy of "Tears of the Giraffe". Sometimes, you can even find an Umberto Eco book among the pile, but that of course is also in Swedish. But that's also the downside (depending on how you look at it) of most big-name bookstores here: their English sections are dominated only by Stephen King and Daniel Steel. Talk about a motivation to read the good titles in Swedish!

My book sale damages? Two cookbooks for 99 each, bought from Åhléns (very heavily discounted!). One of them is a bit more complicated than the other and features traditional Swedish soulfood you can make from scratch. The other book features easy-to-do everyday recipes in a more fusion-kitchen style that requires few ingredients. Was also thinking of buying something from Nigella Lawson, but some of the ingredients seemed too uncommon for the Swedish kitchen so I settled for Swedish titles instead. I can't wait to try some recipes out :-) We're really turning domestic, but what can we do? We gotta eat, you know.

This week we also got two armchairs of the type you see in that picture. We figured it was time to get rid of our sofa (which Marcus bought second hand when he was still living alone). I swear it was starting to smell like feet, and the cushion couldn't keep its shape. Luckily, Marcus' dad wanted to get rid of a sofa set that belonged to Marcus' grandfather. It's more than 50 years old and the grandfather had it re-upholstered in this golden wallpaper-like design. The amazing thing is that these armchairs, though older than our first sofa, had kept their shape (and all their springs intact) through all those years. I think it gives our white boring walls a lift, not to mention giving our apartment an update since baroque textiles are in once again.


Blogger aka Cheryl said...

congratulations on the new sofa and ur new cookbooks. you're so domesticated already, haha. speaking of domesticated, jamie's a little worried dahil di sya marunong magluto and she's about to get married. you should give her tips! haha :D

3:07 AM

Blogger Ahoy! said...

I didn't know how to cook either until about a year ago. Hehe!

Three words: "trial and error" :-) And perhaps two more: "recipe books". There's really no secret to it. Echoing the motto in Ratatouille, "anyone can cook!"...

... Okay, maybe with the exception of my dad. Haha! Hi dad!

8:56 AM


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