Author picture

Works by Anna Brones

Associated Works


Common Knowledge

20th Century



A gorgeous little coffee table book filled with luscious photos, great life advice, and words of wisdom about balanced living, the Swedish way. It's a quick read and goes into detail about what Lagom is, how it impacts Swedish culture, and how we can use it and cultivate it in our own lives. It's all about having a happy balance, learning to connect more with family and disconnect with technology. It's about preserving our environment and appreciating what it has to offer us. Also included are some amazing sounding recipes. For fans of all those obsessed with hygge and balanced living.… (more)
ecataldi | 2 other reviews | Jan 8, 2018 |
This was perhaps the best of the Lagom books I read, more self-helpy and about living a mindful and simple life and less about how to be a Swede. Plenty of good things to think about and apply to my own life.
amyem58 | 2 other reviews | Dec 30, 2017 |
Fika: the Art of the Swedish Coffee Break with Recipes for Pastries, Breads, and Other Treats is an irresistible cookbook for this Swedish-American with a life-long love of coffee. Even many of us attenuated Scandinavians born in America maintain that love of coffee and all the ritual of a coffee break, making this just the perfect book for me.

Fika is a Swedish neologism that reverses the syllables for kaffe, the Swedish word for coffee to indicate a coffee break. The immigrants who came to Minnesota left Sweden before the word was coined, but long after the tradition of taking a coffee break, a real coffee break, began. Having coffee is social, not like running to Starbucks and walking out with a paper cup to drink at your desk. It was sitting together, drinking coffee, eating coffeecake, rusks, or cookies. In my family, mom would make a pot of coffee, and put out a plate with snacks, some rye crisps, knäckebröd perhaps, molasses cake or oatmeal cookies, maybe a pie. Everyone had coffee together, even the kids. I do not remember when I first began to drink coffee. It was well before kindergarten, though it was probably two-thirds milk to one-third coffee. So this book reminds me of childhood, of the social communion that coffee represents.

Reading Fika, I was reminded of Halldor Laxness’ Independent People, the book that probably garnered him the 1855 Nobel Prize for Literature. Coffee is ever present, mentioned more than a hundred times at least. There are several times when Laxness gets to the heart of coffee’s special place in Scandinavian culture, during a wedding, a funeral, and this amazing scene when a young boy is waking up, listening to the coffee being made.

“But his grandmother’s ritual grumbling was never so protracted that it did not carry with it the promise of coffee. Never was the smoke so thick or so blue, never did it penetrate the eyes, the nose, the throat, the lungs so deeply that it could be forgotten as the precursor of that fragrance which fills the soul with optimism and faith, the fragrance of the crushed beans beneath the jet of boiling water curving from the kettle, the smell of coffee…This was morning’s hallowed moment. In such a fragrance the perversity of the world is forgotten and the soul is inspired with faith in the future; when all was said and done, it was probably true that there really were far-off places, even foreign countries.”

This book brings me back to my childhood, to my family, and recalls so many rich and treasured memories that I can’t be trusted. I love it unreservedly. It also reminds me of the many cooking utensils my mom had, like her notched rolling pin, kruskavel, that was so perfect for rolling crackers and some cookies. I love it, but it is not without flaws

The recipes are familiar, rich in the spices that make Swedish baking so distinct, with lots of nutmeg, ginger, and cardamom. There are many of the delicate cookies and crisps, the ones that make a hundred cookies out of the same amount of flour, butter and eggs that might make a couple dozen American cookies. However, some of the most familiar recipes of my childhood are missing. There are no recipes for krumkake, rosettes, or fattigmand. I imagine this is because three of them require special baking equipment though there is a recipe for the mandelmussor that require special tins.

This is a book of recipes for things to eat with coffee, not for making coffee, but I was also surprised to see no mention of Swedish Egg Coffee. Egg coffee is so smooth and delicious that it would be great to introduce it to American coffee lovers. Nonetheless, the book is full of delicious recipes from crackers to cakes to cookies, from the more everyday to the holiday-oriented special items. It is illustrated with drawings rather than photos which makes it feel very quaint and homey, which is exactly what fika should do.
… (more)
Tonstant.Weader | 3 other reviews | Jan 16, 2017 |
Lately, I've noticed more and more people out and about on their bicycles. My city has also recently introduced a bike share program and it wouldn't surprise me if dedicated bicycle lanes spring up next in the town. For this reason, I was drawn to this book, wondering if I should dare to take up bike riding myself.

It seems strange to think that as children most of us, myself included, practically lived on our bikes, riding around the neighborhood with no fear of traffic, rain or anything else for that matter. But somehow as we aged we ditched our bikes, either for more interesting entertainment forms or because we just didn't have time to ride. The longer we went without riding the less likely we were to get back on again. So, I asked myself if it might be time to join all the other riders out there, who have rediscovered the joys of riding or never lost it.

Hello Bicycle aims to make this easier by reminding the reader why riding a bike can be fun and healthy as well. The book is full of helpful hints and tips, such as how to choose a new bicycle,change a flat tire, and inventive uses for old bike tubes. It also covers safety issues and introduces one to the equipment needed for riding safely. I also appreciated the section which included some interesting recipes for boosting energy and items that are easily portable. While I didn't think there was anything that was particularly earth shattering or unique in this book it is full of common sense advice for anyone wishing to get a bike for the first time or get back on one after considerable time.

Thanks to blogging for books for allowing me to read this book in exchange for an honest review.
More reviews at:
… (more)
SUS456 | Jul 27, 2016 |

You May Also Like


Also by

Charts & Graphs