I didn’t come home with as many books as I thought I would although I spent many hours in second-hand bookstores in Tampere, Helsinki and Joensuu enjoying the experience of browsing through all things Fennica. The first book I bought was a 1964 hardcover Finnish translation of John Lennon’s first book, In His Own Write. In Finnish the title is Panee omiaan, which translates to Put in his own way. I’m glad I found this as I regretted not buying it–as a modern paperback imprint–when I saw it remaindered in a Turku shop five years ago. By then I already had the Swedish translation at home (and I don’t even speak the language) so the comparisons of John’s humorous writing with the Swedish would have been lost on me. At least with the Finnish I could see how the translator got himself into John’s mind to try to capture the Lennon wit. When I saw it at C. Hagelstam for only 12€ I had to buy it. It was better than having the later paperback edition anyway.
På eget sätt, which translates to In his own way in Swedish
What I love about Katajanokka is the Jugendstil architecture. You see it all over Helsinki, in fact, yet a high concentration is on this little peninsula in the southeast of the city. Whenever I saw this book in stores I couldn’t put it down (and it was always the Finnish edition) yet when I walked into the Helsinki City Museum and saw the English edition, Art Nouveau in Helsinki: Architectural Guide (published in 2020) I had to get it.
Singer Terhi Kokkonen published her first novel, Rajamaa, in 2020 and I looked for it all over Helsinki. I couldn’t find it, so after the Scandinavian Music Group concert in Espoo when some of the band members came out to see the fans, I asked Pauliina Kokkonen about it. She was surprised that I couldn’t find it in any bookstore, but said that it would be for sale for sure at the on-site bookstore of the publisher, Otava. And that is indeed where I found it, in hardcover and paperback. I chose the 11€ paperback over the 35,90€ hardcover. While in Finland I had read that the novel had just been sold to a Swedish film studio so perhaps by my next visit there will be a movie (or its DVD) out:
In one of my favourite little second-hand bookstores, Antikvariaatti Korkeavuori, I was happy to find an English translation of a Finnish classic, The Egyptian by Mika Waltari, for only 8€. I had seen it in another used bookstore for 30€ and had to emit an exhalation of derision when I saw the price. The floor had more piles of books that were higher than the last time I was there in 2019. When booksellers accumulate piles of books waist-high such that they prevent access to the books on the shelves behind them, they might as well forget about selling anything in that area. I have no interest in shifting books which risk toppling everything over in a domino effect.