Can you believe there are so many useful books in the world? Well, yes, I can. I always find the help I need in a book. And although I’m a great Kindle Reader for fiction, for inspirational and affirmational books it has to be paper. There’s just something about the feel and smell of a good quality book… not to mention the fact that the highlighter is a bugger to get off the Kindle screen. And some of these books are well worth highlighting whole passages from.
I’ve separated the books into sections: Hygge, Happiness, and Homemaking. Not so much because the books absolutely fit into only one of the categories, because they don’t and in some of the books there’s a considerable overlap, but because there’s a main focus or thrust to the book and that cateory is the one they fit in best. And they’re stored alphabeticall as well. In a past l was probably a librarian. In fact, in my present life I’d make a good librarian. The old-fashioned kind that can always find the book you need, or has a tissue for the sad days and a Werther’s Original for the bad. Be quiet at the back, but if you need to giggle, at least tell me what the joke is, too.
Do I need to explain what a hygge book is? These are the ones that started me off or encouraged me on my journey to finding what exactly was my hygge. How did I achieve that exalted state of mental comfort, happiness, security, contentment and mindfulness that is hygge? Each of these taught me something… even if only that Danish Hygge is always going to be beyond me, because I don’t live in Denmark (duh) but that there is a sort of Very British Hygge that I can achieve by lowering my standards and letting my native sense of humour out.
The Art of Hygge; How to Bring Danish Cosiness into your Life by Jonny Jackson and Elias Larsen: OK, truthfully this is a picture book for adults. It’s a collection of pictures from all around the world that catch a little hint of hygge in different ways. There isn’t a big philosophical element to it, and the ideas are all ones you would get yourself just sitting and thinking about what you’d like to do. There are chapters on crafts for instant hygge, decorating the home, recipes for cosy nights in that could have been taken from a good Scandinavian Christmas recipe book and a chapter on outdoor activities. But the look of the book is beautiful. The pages of photos are arranged well and I have to recommend it just on that point alone. It won’t get you soul searching the why but it will make your soul happy if you are a visual learner. It’s like Hygge Lite.
The Book of Hygge; The Danish Art of Living Well by Louisa Thomsen Brits: This is a lovely volume, beautifully produced with photographs of candles, wraps, throws, wood, and other symbols that sum up hygge. Louisa is a writer who lives in East Sussex and is of Danish heritage. She includes a lot of the philosophy behind Hygge, the reasons why to rather than the simple how. I love the liberal use of quotes throughout, and there are many lines from the book that just shout out to be made into Facebook inspirational quotes and shared. Louisa is on both Instagram and Twitter, so go find and follow if you like her work.
The Cozy Life by Pia Edberg. This book regularly gets mentioned as one that fellow Nookworms at the Hygge Nook either read themselves or gave to another as a first introduction to getting more hyggely. It’s not massive, it’s not a great philosophical novel that stretches your brain, but it is a beautiful, simple and cosy tale of a young woman’s life, and how she uses hygge to keep her life beautiful. Hygge is an act of self care, and Pia shows how we can incorporate it into all aspects of our life to keep it balanced and to live well. You can read my review of the book at Hygge Books: The Cozy Life by Pia Edberg.
Hygge: The Danish Art of Happiness by Marie Tourell Søderberg. Marie is a beautiful Danish actress based in Copenhagen to whom hygge comes as naturally as breathing. Her book is beautiful as well, with classy photographs and a gold-spangled cover that make it a pleasure to handle. It’s very personal, with photos that look like they come straight off her Instagram feed. There are quotes and interviews with her friends and colleagues, so the whole book gives you a small insight into the Danish view of hygge. You can read my review of it at Hygge Books: Hygge by Marie Tourell Søderberg.
The Little Book of Hygge by Meik Wiking; Published in September 2016, this is one of the best books looking beyond the simple “candles and cosy toes” approach to Hygge. Meik is the CEO of the Happiness Research Institute in Denmark. His book has facts and figures presented prettily in blue and orange tables, along with a lot of personal stories and thoughts. he’s a great believer in the outdoors and how the weather can heighten hygge. If you get a chance, listen to the book on Audible as well. He has a cute Danish accent. I regularly fall asleep to Meik. You can read my review of the book at Hygge Book: The Little Book of Hygge by Meik Wiking.
The Year of Living Danishly by Helen Russell. The book that started it all for me as a hygge-hugger. I knew the word before hand, but it wasn’t until I bought the book in January 2015 that I knew hygge was something I really wanted to do with my life. The details on how Denmark reacts to childcare, weather and more besides have convinced me that, in a past reincarnation, I may have been a Dane. Helen is on Twitter and Instagram as well.
Scandinavian Comfort Food by Trine Hahnemann. Trine has been called the Danish Delia for her common sense approach to cooking and living. Her cookbook has over 130 very comfortable and not complicated recipes. I’m working my way through it as bedtime reading, and planning my February meals on the strength of it. There’s a good mix of savoury and sweet as well, with seasonal cookery for Easter and Christmas. You can read my blog review of it at Hygge Books: Scandinavian Comfort Food by Trine Hahnemann
Some books are great at teaching you how to be happy. There’s something about them that just oozes joy or resilience or comfort. How are they different from hygge books? Well, these are less knowingly hygge, or have a very definite mental health slant that means sometimes… just sometimes… these books make you feel uncomfortable before you feel content again.
You really don’t need these books explaining… they are the books that I have used and enjoyed in creating my little nest. They have taught me about homemaking, housekeeping or having a good meal on the table. These are just a small selection: to be honest, I could fill the page with them and still have more. Reading books is my hygge, and that’s all well and good. There is no faster way to reach a safe space and find your fellow travellers in this world than to pick up a book and read.
The header is a photo by Alex Geerts on Unsplash. It might be one of my favourite photos of 2021: look at the socks, the colours, the leaves, the blanket, the drink. Perfect book hygge in a picture.
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 it would be a shame not to list them here as well:
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. August is like a pause before real life begins again in September, so it’s a second chance to set up rituals and rhythms that boost happiness and work for you.
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.
Have Yourself a Happy Hygge Christmas: Christmas is about the small things in life, much as hygge is, and establishing what you want from Christmas and then being able to say no to the excess is important. The book has hints and tips that hopefully will help you enjoy what is, too often, a frantic season.
How to Hygge Your Summer: Hygge, when it first hit the headlines, was promoted as a cold-weather pursuit. Of course, you don’t pursue it ever and it’s not limited to candles, throws and a decent pot of tea. Here I took the principles of hygge and applied them to summertime: fellowship, nature and mindfulness are available all year round.
50 Ways to Hygge The British Way: This is my first book, but I really need to update it, as I can see so many ways I’d improve it now. Perhaps I will bring out a 5th anniversary update: what hygge means to us now, how it’s been superceded as an interiors trend (as was bound to happen) and become what it was always supposed to be: a feeling that people have in teh right place and with the right people. A veritable sanctuary in a crazy world. Don’t be surprised if the link says unavailable.
Available as just an ebook, and a short, sharp read, is Enjoying a Self-Care Christmas: Easy Ways to keep the Joy of Christmas, and your Sanity, intact. It’s an easy read, with ideas and hints to keep you sane through the season. The self-care advent calendar is one I’ve followed for a few years now, and it really is a small daily dose of calm in a manic month.
Celebrating a Contagious Christmas was written in response to the pandemic in 2020, and will need updating regularly, but it is about celebrating whatever the situation, and does have good advice on stocking up an emergency cupboard, celebrating when travelling to relatives is impossible and putting the heart of Christmas back into the heart of the celebrations.
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.
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