Midsummer’s review round-up

It’s Midsummer: we Finns are preparing for the celebration of the longest day of the year. Bonfires are lit, feasts are prepared and of course, sauna is a staple part of Midsummer.

In addition to The Finnish Sauna Book by Carita Harju, you can read more about the health benefits of a hot sauna in Finding Sisu. Katja Pantzar’s book about finding courage, wellness, and happiness through the power of sisu has been recently published in UK and Germany, and in many other countries the printers are already running hot.

The US publication of Finding Sisu is due next week, and Vogue reviewed the book very favorably: read the piece yourself to see how you can practice your sisu anywhere in the world, even in NYC.

Another nonfiction highlight of the spring is The Peace Machine by Professor Timo Honkela, who is now visiting Japan and the Finnish Institute in Japan to discuss his “Peace Machine Concept” of designing artificial intelligence and machine learning to serve humanity, in practice to help people to live in peace with each other.

On the fiction side, The Bystander by Saara Turunen has stirred conversation in Finland about writing as a profession and the role of literary criticism. Readers and reviewers have enjoyed the book:

“The novel is harrowing, emotional, fresh, original, fun and thought-provoking. Oh boy it’s good!” – Ilta-Sanomat newspaper, Finland

Katja Törmänen’s prize-winning fantasy novel The Bear’s Bride has also been well received: ”Myth and history mix in Katja Törmänen’s unique narrative art”, wrote Kalevanewspaper.

The Angry Widow by Minna Lindgren – now sold to German, Italian, Czech and Slovak – keeps getting great reviews: “Lindgren finds comic details in our lives and tells them quickly and amusingly,” said Suomen kuvalehti magazine.

Get in touch with us for reading materials – and have a happy Midsummer!

Carita Harju


Carita Harju founded the organization Sauna from Finland in 2010 to do concrete work to raise awareness of the potential of Finnish saunas, promote the export of saunas, and commercialize sauna innovations: the organization’s mission is to create the world’s best sauna experiences. Her previous works include a coffee table book on sauna.

Katja Pantzar


Helsinki-based writer, editor and broadcast journalist Katja Pantzar was born in Finland and raised and educated in Canada. A freelance member of the Finnish public broadcasting company Yle’s news team, Pantzar is a regular contributor to Blue Wings, the in-flight magazine of Finnair and Helsinki correspondent for Monocle 24.

She is the author of three guides to Helsinki: The Hip Guide to Helsinki, Helsinki by Light and 100 Things to Do in Helsinki. Finding Sisu is the first book Pantzar has written that will be published outside of Finland.

Katja Törmänen


KATJA TÖRMÄNEN is a history teacher by training and a writer by profession. She has also studied and taught creative writing. She lives in Oulu, Northern Finland.

Minna Lindgren


Minna Lindgren (b. 1963) is a freelance journalist and columnist known for her whimsical writing style and fearless approach to topics as strange as opera and death. In addition to novels, she has authored nonfiction books on classical music. In 2009 Lindgren won the Bonnier Journalism Prize for her article entitled “Father’s Death” (“Isän kuolema”).

The fictional Death in Sunset Grove (Kuolema Ehtoolehdossa, Teos 2013) and Escape from Sunset Grove (Ehtoolehdon pakolaiset, Teos 2014) are the first two entries of a mystery trilogy that takes a sharp and satirical look at life inside a retirement home. Both books have been critical and commercial successes, and well-known British-born Finnish director Neil Hardwick is currently working on a film adaptation.

If you enjoy the whodunits of Miss Marple, the sharp quips of Downton Abbey or the playfulness of the bestsellingThe 100-Year-Old Man Who Climbed out of the Window and Disappeared, you will fall in love with The Sunset Grove Trilogy.

Saara Turunen


Saara Turunen is an author, playwright, and director. Her plays have garnered brilliant reviews and been translated into 12 languages and performed in several countries. She is known for her bold and direct style and much of her work examines the themes of art, gender identity, and femininity. Her debut novel Love/Monster (Rakkaudenhirviö, Tammi 2015) won the Helsingin Sanomat Literature Prize, a high profile award given annually to an outstanding debut novel in Finland.

Timo Honkela


TIMO HONKELA has researched artificial intelligence and machine learning for over 30 years, and served as a professor in three universities, including his current post as Professor of Digital Information Research in Helsinki University. The Peace Machine is his testament, in which he talks about his life work in hopes of inspiring other people to continue the important work.