Creating Sanctuary: Lining Up My February Reads

From early childhood, reading has been my easiest and quickest way to find my hygge. There are very few pleasures as great as carving out an hour (or two… or three, very often) to curl up with a cup of tea and a good book.

My reading during January was almost like a catch up session. I still have some of my Christmas presents waiting to open and explore, but since there are 4 more months until my birthday and a whole year to go until Christmas again, I don’t feel too bad spacing them out. Added to that, I’ve already read 6 out of my set 52 Reading Challenge. I record my reading on Goodreads, just because I like seeing what I have/haven’t read, and you can follow me on there, if you want to see everything I read… it’s a lot, and very eclectic.

But this week, it being February and the end of winter for many but the start of very early Spring in the Old Ways, It seemed a good time to pick out a few of my end-of-winter reads to enjoy. While it’s still cold outside, and night times are still long, a good book and a candle, a decent glass of wine and a crocheted blanket and I am in heaven. On my Kindle this month, then, are:

Snug In Iceland by Victoria Walker. I started this last night, and it seems like a cute read. Rachel is offered her ideal job, developing and opening Snug stores across Europe. Her boyfriend seems completely unconcerned at her happy news. Will time spent in Reykjavik and with the handsome tour guide, Jonas, be worth risking her relationship for? I’m enjoying the descriptions of Iceland, a country I’d love to visit, and it’s not a heavy read, so I’m sure this one will be finished for the weekend.

Paris by Starlight by Robert Dinsdale. I read his novel, The Toymakers, a few years ago and it was an enchanting and beautiful fairytale of magic and wonders. Paris By Starlight sounds something similar. Besides which, Paris: Starlight: Magic: Water Dogs: Moonflowers. A decent bottle of warm red wine, a box of dark chocolates and I will be happy to read as Husband watches his everlasting football. (and, yes, I do like football)

The Teashop on the Corner by Milly Johnson. This is one that passed me by in 2014, when it was published. I picked it up this January in a teashop/book cafe sort of mood. I think it will suit me admirably, because like many Milly Johnson books it’s not a straightforward romance, but rather a proper story with a cast of characters that you grow to love and laugh with. A definite one to read when I finally snap and flee to a cosy cafe, seeking out a corner table, a large latte and a slice of that iced carrot cake that I usually resist. February can be like that.

The Book of Delights by Ross Gay. I picked this up in January as well, because it was recommended to me apropos of looking for books that make every day sacred, special, wonderful. Life can be hard, dark and scary… and simultaneously full of wonder, joy and love. Ross’s decision to write an essay a day from 1st August to 1st August will make for an interesting read.. if only because as a young(er) American man of colour, his experience is so different from mine and yet, I think, we have so much in common. That’s humanity for you, isn’t it?

The Winter House by Nicci Gerard. Four friends reunite in a Scottish winter as one of them lies dying. It’s not a cheerful read, but sometimes, I think, we all have to meet the darkest emotions through reading just to be prepared for meeting them in real life. And I am interested to find a book set during the winter but not at Christmas.

The Art of Aliveness by Flora S Bowley. I’m intrigued by the addition of the initial to Flora’s name. Surely there aren’t two Flora Bowleys out there and writing? I’m a great fan of initials. At college, I used mine so much the people who knew me only as a name on the register thought it was my name, Jem, which is part of the reason why my blog pseudonym is HyggeJem. This book tickled my interest, as creativity and seeing myself as an artist in my own life resurfaces again and again, especially at times when I doubt myself. I haven’t even opened it yet, so I can’t say what it is like or about, but I suspect if it really speaks to me there’ll be a whole blog post on it at some later date. For now, I’m keeping it on my Kindle access page so that I can easily dip in and out.

And there you have it. My late winter/early spring reads. What books are on your TBR pile? Do you adapt your reading for the season? Or do you read ahead? It will, of course, soon be time for the books of summer sun and seaside jaunts to be picked up again. Time, time, time. Never still, always flowing. Like sand beneath my hand.

How to Hygge the British Way is my gift to the world. I don’t get paid for writing it, I’m not in it for the kudos, financial rewards, to become an influencer, work with brands or otherwise make any money from the blog. That’s why there are no ads, and any products I mention and recommend have either been gifted to me or bought by me with my everyday wages or donations from supporters. Every book I review has been bought and read by me, unless stated otherwise.

I do get a couple of pennies each time someone buys from the Amazon links on my page, as an Amazon Affiliate, but otherwise if you’d like to support me, I like to give something back in return. That’s why I write books. It always feels good if you get a book back in return for some money. You can find a full list of my books at my Author’s Page on Amazon, but especially recommended for this time of year are:

Cosy Happy Hygge: Setting up a rhythm to life and rituals to enjoy it to make for a more balanced life that handles waves and storms better. February is a great time to reset routines and rituals, it simmers with unnamed life underground desperate to burst through. The calm before the Spring Storm, as it were. The book has small and easy ways to make your life flow with grace and happiness, which lead to more hygge.

Happier: Probably my most personal book, it’s the story of how I used hygge and the little things in life to help boost my happiness. I still go back and reread to remind myself what I need to do to be a happy human. And it’s always the little things.

Planning ahead, early, is How to Hygge Your Summer. It has ideas for taking your hygge with you out of winter and to any place you go in the summer… the beach, the park, your holidays. Hygge is an all-year feeling, so start preparing and let’s hygge the heck out of summer this year!

If you’d like to support me, but don’t want to buy a book, I have a Paypal.Me account as Hygge Jem. Every little helps, so even a few pence goes towards the books, goods and courses I use and recommend on the site. I’m grateful for every little bit that brings me closer to my dream of full-time writing, and I know I couldn’t still be writing if it weren’t for the support of many readers and friends out there. Thank you all for every little bit of support, emotional, physical and financial, you give me.

If you’ve enjoyed this article, don’t forget to share it or save it so others can enjoy reading, thinking about and living hygge as well.

The regular photo I’m currently using between text and my book promotions is a photo by Rinck Content Studio on Unsplash. I love the implied cosiness of the photograph: the two hot chocolate cups, the biscuits and squares of chocolate imply a good bit of chatting going on here. Plus I like the colours: red tartan and real wood. What’s not to like? And the post header is by Josh Hild on Unsplash. I chose it because I love the idea of the light streaming out of the book. Even on the darkest day we can find a story, book, essay that lifts us.

2 thoughts on “Creating Sanctuary: Lining Up My February Reads

  1. I don’t adapt my reading for the season as a rule, but for my mood. At the moment though I have a couple of books I’m still trying to finish from last year’s reading list, one I need to review for someone, and two I’m starting as part of something I’m a part of via some clubs I participate in via Zoom. One of the latter is “The Artists’ Way” – a book I keep wanting to read, but not doing so, but will now be finally getting to thanks to doing it as part of a group over the next couple of months.


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