(London Guardian) The hottest read in Norway this year is packed with polygamy, prostitutes – even corporal punishment. But this isn’t Fifty Shades of Grey; instead, Norwegians have been rushing to pick up copies of the Bible.

Published last October, a new Norwegian translation of the Bible has been one of the top 15 bestsellers in the country for 54 out of the last 56 weeks, jostling for position with more populist titles from the likes of EL James, James Nesbø, Ken Follett and Per Petterson. It is now one of the bestselling books of the year, according to Dag Smemo, project manager for publisher the Norwegian Bible Society, with 157,000 copies sold in the last 14 months, and more time in the charts than both Fifty Shades of Grey and Justin Bieber’s autobiography.

Smemo puts the popularity of the book – among Christians and non-believers alike – down to the strength of its translation. The Bible Society worked with Hebrew and Greek experts on the original text, and then involved literary writers including A Death in the Family author Karl Ove Knausgaard to perfect it.

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