Has somebody officially declared it Christmas yet? Or are we still in the no-man’s land of Elections and Lockdowns?
Never mind. Today is my Husband’s birthday, and if it’s possible I think I love him more each passing year. Tonight I’ll feed him lasagne and garlic bread, and this weekend we’ll watch football and probably go for a walk in the (hopefully) golden sunshine. Peter, after 30 years together, I’m so glad you said yes.
And Friday! Yay! Time for some positive book love. Today’s book is The Little Library Christmas by Kate Young. I reviewed The Little Library Year in February this year. It seems like a lifetime ago now, this year has been so bizarre.
The Little Library Christmas was only published in October of this year, but when I saw it was coming, I had to have it. It’s a small (8 inch by 5 inch) softbacked book of 184 pages, but it’s an absolute beauty for anyone who, like me, loves Christmas and books. Any book that starts with a quote from The Story of Holly and Ivy by Rumer Godden is starting in the right place for me.
The book ties in familiar and useful Christmas recipes with familiar and useful Christmas excerpts together with beautiful full colour photographs, some whole page spreads and some illustrating the recipes in the book. The whole feel of the book is cosy, comfortable, and very, very Christmas.
The book is separated into several chapters: Brown Paper Packages is full of present ideas to make and give; Let’s Party Like it’s 1843 has canapes and party food; ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas has a very scandi-feel, with food good for a quiet Christmas Eve (hopefully with a decent book and a glass of port); A Bird in The Oven covers Christmas Day itself with recipes for bird, sides and puddings as well as a bowl of Smoking Bishop punch; while finally Starting Anew is a New Year’s Eve party with beef, cocktails and even a recipe for Vegemite toast to eat to ward off hangovers before retiring to bed.
Truthfully, the recipes aren’t hard or complicated, and in many cases are recipes you either know or already make in a different form. They’re not complex, they’re good, sensible, useful recipes. You won’t need a blowtorch or seven different kinds of soy sauce to make them, but you will need a good appetite. Generous, hopeful, comforting recipes. The sort that we need this year when being generous, hopeful and comforting people will be the best gift we can give others.
What makes this book lovely and, dare I say, an ideal gift to give to a book-loving cook is the way she intertwines books and food together. There are copious quotations from books to do with Christmas spread throughout the book like tinsel on the tree. You flick through and come across another one that reminds you of childhood (Pippi Longstocking, anyone?); youth, with Turkish Delight from Narnia; young adulthood and Bridget Jones; while always and everywhere Charles Dickens shines like new-fallen snow on the sun-sparkled hills. You don’t need to intend to cook anything from the book to enjoy it.
Certainly it looks unimpressive next to the more weighty Christmas cookbooks of Nigella, Jamie Oliver and Delia Smith but, as the wise words go, good things come in small packages. It’s small enough to carry around, to take on any family visits (if any are allowed come December) and it also looks festively red sat on a shelf or pile of books.
Kate Young blogs at The Little Library Cafe and she can be followed on social media as well on Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest. Oh… and I did another flick through of the book so that you can see every page here…. it’s almost as if I know you need to see what the whole book looks like before committing.
Don’t forget to read about The Hygge Nook Crafternoon plans….. and start crafting and raising money to help mental health services in your district. You can see my post about it here: Hygge Nook Crafternoon for Mental Health.
If you’d like to support me….
I don’t monetise my blog. I don’t run adverts, take sponsorship for writing posts or use affiliate links. I want everything I do on this blog and in my hygge life outside to be truthful. If I promote a book it’s because I’ve read it and like it, if I point out an item it’s because it’s impressed me on its own merits and not because the publicist has talked me into it. It does mean I don’t run giveaways and I’m not chasing followers, but the drawback is that I need to find a way to support myself.
That’s why I write books. My thoughts are that if I ask you to buy a book not only does it support me, and let me keep writing as an independent writer, but you get something back for your bucks. I’ve written several books, some on Hygge, some on Christmas. If you like what you read here, or in the Hygge Nook, and you’d like to support a struggling writer, would you please consider buying a book? E-books give you the best value, since for 2 or 3 pounds you get the whole content of the book without paying the extra for paper production, but I’d be a pretty poor writer if I didn’t appreciate the beauty of a real book in the hand. If you buy even just one book, it all adds up in the end to support me, and I’d be so grateful.
My latest book, Celebrating a Contagious Christmas, is available on Amazon now as an ebook and, by popular demand, a paperback. It’s about the adjustments we’ll have to make to our usual Christmas celebrations if we’re in Lockdown come December, how illness or employment may make a difference and how we have to spread hope, not germs, in an attempt to keep the world on an even keel.
Cosy Happy Hygge is available as an ebook or a paperback on Amazon now. It’s about using rhythm and ritual to make your life a gentler, kinder place. Writing it has been an important part of my mental health recovery.
My first three books are hygge related, 50 Ways to Hygge the British Way was my first book, and is available in Paperback and Kindle version. It’s a simple look at ways to feel more hyggely in life and at home even though we’re not Danish and don’t have it in our DNA. Although it was inspired by the blog, it’s completely original work and not collected blogposts. It will probably be updated and an improved second edition coming in Spring 2021.
Happier is my fourth book. It’s about how I boost my own happiness levels. It’s full of hints, tips and ideas for you to use and adapt to suit your own situation. It is available in ebook and paperback version from Amazon.co.uk and Amazon.com.
I have three Christmas books,
Have Yourself a Happy Hygge Christmas was released in September 2017 and is available again in paperback and ebook version. It looks at keeping the Christmas season warm and cosy, with ideas for activities and routines to keep Christmas happy.
A (Hygge) Christmas Carol is my look at Dickens’ immortal classic and the many lessons we still learn from it today. It contains the full text of the book as well as hyggely thoughts on the story.
Enjoying a Self Care Christmas is only available in e-book version. It’s about keeping Christmas simple enough and healthy enough to keep you sane in the process. I’m hoping to do a series of Self Care through the year books.
If you already have my books, or just want to support me as an independent writer, you can always just send me the price of a cup of coffee as a friend, to paypal.me/HyggeJem . I tend to use a lot (all) of my spare cash on books that I review for the website, so every penny donated goes towards building my happy hygge life.
If you buy any of the books or some of the items through the links on this page, I get a couple of extra pence per copy, as an Amazon Affiliate, in Amazon vouchers which go towards buying more books to review for the blog. I’d really love it if you’d support me monetarily, but I quite understand that cash is tight for many people, and I just love having your support via reading and commenting as well.
Truthfully, I’ll probably never make a living as a writer, but I do make a little extra income that gets ploughed back into books and magazines. One obsession feeds the other.