Norwegian Wood, by Lars Mytting

Norwegian Wood: Chopping, Stacking and Drying Wood the Scandinavian WayNorwegian Wood: Chopping, Stacking and Drying Wood the Scandinavian Way by Lars Mytting
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

People forget their schoolmates. They forget their holidays and their favourite toys, but they never forget the woodstove that warmed them in their childhood homes.

I grew up with a woodstove. A glass-fronted iron stove, to be more precise. I’ve lived in houses with fireplaces and been in front of countless campfires and bonfires and fan heaters, but nothing in life compares to the heat that our old family woodstove gave off. I’ve moved country and now live in a very flameless apartment, but my image of perfection is still sitting in front of that stove on a winter evening, post-bath and wearing clean pjs while reading my favourite book.

Part of my enjoyment of this book came from how I discovered it — perusing a local bookstore with my brother. I picked it up on a whim, thinking it would be deeply boring or so niche that it wouldn’t have a place on my shelves, but we started to flick through it and immediately got excited. We’d point out poetic passages and say “I get that!” and remember our childhoods tending to our fire during the winters. The quoted passage above struck such a cord with us that that’s when we knew it’d be coming home with us and bouncing between our respective places of residence.

This book warmed me rather like those childhood fires did. It’s a simple, eloquent, gentle (and occasionally humorous) guide to, well, wood. Particularly firewood in Norway. If you grew up with a woodstove, or even just enjoy the presence of a fire in your home or life, I’d highly recommend this.

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