Hygge: The Danish Art of Happiness

Book: Hygge: The Danish Art of Happiness by Marie Tourell Søderberg

Date Read: September 26 to 30, 2021

Rating: 3 (of 5) stars

In September I was challenged to read a book that I wanted to learn something from. I debated quite a bit about which book would be the best choice—so much so that I ended up choosing the one that seemed the quickest read because I had pushed things so close to the end of the month!

I picked this up on one of the discount racks at my local bookstore, and have to admit that I was really drawn in by the cover. It is a beautiful book. It sparkles. Of course, a pretty cover is not quite enough for me. I was also intrigued by the idea of hygge. Although only vaguely familiar with the term at the time, it seemed to me the embodiment of what I love about the fall season—not that it necessarily has anything to do with the season, but that it involves the feeling that I associate with this time of year.

I am not sure that I could be called a hygge expert after reading this one, but I do at least have a bit of an idea of what it means to hygge. Hygge is about togetherness and coziness and good feelings. As I expected, it is not so much associated with the season, but many elements are fall-ish to me: soft blankets, warm lighting, hot drinks, and yummy snacks. There were certain elements of hygge that I already see embedded in my days, and others that I could probably use some more of. As is pointed out in the book, I think this is something that is valued by all, but perhaps prioritized more in some places than others. The Danish having a word for it helps to make it an embedded element in their culture.

It was interesting to me to read the other side of hygge: how some view it as something that is counter to productivity as a society. While I suppose I can see where that argument could come from, I also think it is the exact reason why valuing it is so important. Contrary to many countries around the world, I think we in the US put a little too much focus on productivity. People are afraid to do something just for the sake of enjoying it. Hobbies are turned in to hustles. Leisure is justified by outputting something in your spare time. I am guilty of it too, as evidenced by the existence of this blog—although it is mostly for myself, it is also a way for me to have something to “show” for all the reading that I do.

I suppose that is what I should take as something learned from this book, as the prompt for the month required. A reminder that life is more than productivity, and sometimes it is good to just enjoy the moment as it is.

As for the book itself, I debated about where a rating should fall. I said above, it is a quite pretty book. The interior is as aesthetically pleasing as the cover. There is a nice overview of hygge, and some practical tips for bringing more of it into your life. At the same time, it feels a little choppy and disjointed. There are quotes, stories, recipes, and interviews. Although each has something to offer to the book as a whole, there was not really a flow to how these were presented.

Minka’s Thoughts: “Snuggles and snacks? I’ve definitely got this down. 4 paws.”

Unread Shelf Progress for September

  • Books Read: 2
  • Books Acquired: 5
  • Total Unread Books: 281

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