Book Review: Hygge by Charlotte Abrahams

Saturday, November 19, 2016

I love reading. Books are amazing. They are a form of escapism, yes, but they are also inspiration, joy, and... well. Goodness. I think in some ways I have used my appetite for reading to define parts of my personality, so it made sense for me to review some of what I read! Here we go...

Title: Hygge: A Celebration of Simple Pleasures. Living the Danish Way
Author: Charlotte Abrahams
Publication Date: October 13th 2016

Synopsis: "Hygge; the wonderfully onomatopoeic Danish word that is so central to Danish culture. Hygge is about cherishing yourself, about making time to enjoy everyday pleasures. It prioritises experiences over things.

When writer Charlotte Abrahams first came across the term, her interest was piqued. Is hygge the reason that Denmark consistently tops world happiness polls? If so, what can non-Danes learn from this approach to life?

Hygge: A Celebration of Simple Pleasures tells the story of her attempts to embrace a more hyggelig life, interwoven with meditations on hygge as a cultural phenomenon and its role in making Denmark such a happy state.

It is also an exploration of contentment. What it is, why it is important and whether allowing ourselves to raise the white flag from time to time can help us to achieve it."

My thoughts: Hygge (pronounced 'hoo-gah') is something that, like Charlotte Abrahams, I have been interested in since I learned of its existence. However, I haven't really done much to research it. Abrahams' book steps in nicely to do that for me! 

The cover is absolutely beautiful, to begin with. I love the simple structure and lovely colours and textures (the black parts you can see are actually kind of velvety!). You can see straightaway that lots of love and care has been put into this book.

Abrahams separates the book into the following sections: Hygge by Design, Hygge Living, and Hygge for the Soul. Hygge by Design was probably my least favourite section, but it did help me to understand the beginning of the Hygge movement of styling and furniture design, and a little background was helpful in the layout for the rest of the book. My favourite section was definitely Hygge for the Soul - how can you turn away from a section where the first part is titled 'The Serious Business of Happiness'? Abrahams writing is gentle and friendly, with just the right balance of both personal story and researched facts, and she really brings it all together in the last section.

Each section has a white page part and a blue page part - the white pages are dedicated to laying everything out before you, talking it through, and offering her own take on things. The blue part gives you checklists and hints on how to apply hygge to the different areas of your life. This is a fantastic layout because I plan to refer to this in the future, and it is great that I can just flip to a blue section to get a short refreshed course rather than having to read through to find the part I remembered about that-one-thing-that-one-time. 

While I personally could have done without some of the information about Danish design, I still think this is a fantastic book worth checking out if you want to implement some Danish-style cherishing in your life. Two (very relaxed) thumbs up.

[I received a review copy of this book from Hachette in exchange for an honest review. Thank you!!]

A favourite line from the book: "The Monday after my hygge Sunday I was out running before seven (without so much as a goodbye to the sleeping boyfriend), and then put in a nine-hour stint in my hut. But the experience of the previous day had a profound effect. It sounds ridiculous; all I had done was take a day off - and a Sunday at that - but thinking about it with a hygge mindset really have made a difference."

You would like this book if: You are interested in hygge; you like beautiful books that have a calming influence while you read them.

Tea to drink while reading this book: A spiced tea of some sort, I believe, would suit this well. Perhaps T2's Spi Chai?

Rating:  8/10

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