How To Be Danish: From Lego to Lund. A Short Introduction to the State of Denmark by Patrick Kingsley
|How To Be Danish: From Lego to Lund. A Short Introduction to the State of Denmark by Patrick Kingsley|
|Reviewer: Robert James|
|Summary: This insightful guide into the happiest country in the world is a perfect stocking-filler for anyone with an interest in foreign cultures. Patrick Kingsley popped into Bookbag Towers to chat to us.|
|Buy? Yes||Borrow? Yes|
|Pages: 192||Date: November 2012|
|Publisher: Short Books|
|External links: Author's website|
First, the bad news. This slim volume won't actually tell you how to become a Danish person, despite the title. What it will do, though, is give you a new appreciation for the people of Denmark, and quite possibly make you want to jump on the first plane to Copenhagen to savour what is, according to the United Nations, the happiest country in the world.
It's a credit to the author Patrick Kingsley that in a slim, small book, the perfect size to fit into a Christmas stocking, say, he's covered such a wealth of topics. The subtitle talks of Lego and Lund (as in the detective Sarah Lund, lead character of The Killing), but the book also takes in famous restaurant Noma, Danish furniture manufacturers, and the issues with the Danish language, amongst a host of other subjects. I think my personal favourite has to be the chapter on the role of immigrants in Danish society, which is fascinating, particularly considering the furore a few years ago over the cartoons of Muhammed in the country's press.
Kingsley has an engaging, rambling style. The chapter on Danish design starts off talking about furniture and quickly focuses on a company sticking posters saying 'only for surgical staff' or 'only for medical staff' on everything they can find in a hospital. (If it sounds confusing, it's very well-explained, and definitely worth reading why they did it!) Other chapters take similar detours, including one to the Faroe Islands, to meet the woman who makes Sarah Lund's famous jumpers. The chapters ae relatively short, most running about twenty pages, and can be read in any order so it's a fun book to just dip into - but so interesting that you're likely to want to run through it in one go.
Highly recommended to anyone looking to gain an insight into a wonderful country.
As soon as I hear the word Denmark I think of Carsten Jensen's epic We, the Drowned, one of the finest works of the literature of the past decade, for my money. If you'd rather stick with non-fiction and want to look at another fascinating country, I can also highly recommend Bangkok Days by Lawrence Osborne.
You can read more book reviews or buy How To Be Danish: From Lego to Lund. A Short Introduction to the State of Denmark by Patrick Kingsley at Amazon.co.uk
You can read more book reviews or buy How To Be Danish: From Lego to Lund. A Short Introduction to the State of Denmark by Patrick Kingsley at Amazon.com.
Patrick Kingsley was kind enough to be interviewed by Bookbag.
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