Staff’s Choice: Best books to read in your hammock

Staff’s Choice: Best books to read in your hammock

Sara’s pick: Some Kind of Heavenly Fire by Maria Lax

London-based Finnish photographer Maria Lax recently published a book called Some Kind of Heavenly Fire. Her work explores her hometown Pudasjärvi’s mysterious UFO sightings in the end of 60s and early 70s, which her grandfather wrote a book about. It was a great deal for Finland at the time and even the Pentagon got interested. Youtuber Willem Verbeeck did an interview with her about her book.

You can get a glimpse of her cinematic photos from the book here.

Jaakko’s pick: Pekka Hiltunen’s Studio series

Pekka Hiltunen’s Studio series crime thrillers make excellent summer reading. The author takes Finnish born Lia and Mari into all kinds of adventures around London, and it’s fun to spot familiar places in the books. The main characters are recognisably very Finnish, it’s almost like you know them personally. I could easily imagine having afterwork drinks with Lia and Mari. Viaplay has just produced a TV-series based on the series, starring Sofia Pekkari and Pihla Viitala. I haven’t yet seen it, but it’s on my wish list for the coming autumn.

Ninni’s pick: Helmet 2020 reading challenge

Have you always loved reading, but recently somehow had difficulties finding time and energy for it? Would you like to have a more varied book diet? I warmly recommend the Helmet 2020 reading challenge by the Helsinki Metropolitan area libraries network. I participated for  the second time this year, and it has returned me to the bookworm I was as a child. The challenge offers 50 categories for which to choose books. It also has possibly the world’s most welcoming Facebook group full of book recommendations, discussions on literature and reading  and mutual encouragement (mostly in Finnish). If 50 books in a year sounds like too much of a challenge considering it’s already August, there’s also a little reading challenge with 25 books available.

Annika’s pick: The Summer Book by Tove Jansson

Time for a summer classic! This book consists of short, episode-like stories that picture summer in the Finnish archipelago. The story is based on the relationship of a young Sophia and her grandmother, and it’s breathed into life by their discussions, adventures and daily chores on the island. Fresh sea breeze and endless lazy summer days – this book definitely takes you to summer mood!

Emilie’s pick: Collins bird guide

The book that most often gets picked out of the bookshelf in our household in Finland is Collins Bird Guide. This bird bible from 1999 devoted to the Western Palearctic is described as the finest field guide ever produced. For my husband, an avid birdwatcher, this book is a steady companion – and never more than this summer when unprecedented circumstances gave us ample time to search every corner of our surroundings for species of the most varied kind. The majestic sea eagle is a frequent visitor, and the grey heron has become a resident member while this year’s rare visitors included the great egret, golden eagle and  pallid harrier. A great field guide is a must for every enthusiast and this one is warmly recommended!

Volter’s pick: Verso Live 

Verso Books’ Verso Live is a refreshing addition to the crowded catalogue of online events. The hour-long conversations bring together activists, academics, and journalists to discuss a broad range of topics. My highlight of the series so far has been Judith Butler and Amia Srinivasan’s discussion drawing from Butler’s recent book, The Force of Nonviolence. Upcoming events look equally fascinating, find out more here.

Photo: Maria Lax



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