As colder days creep in, and snow begins to cover everything in sight, I prefer to embrace the season by chasing my dog around the yard barefoot and limiting my outerwear layers until temperatures become utterly unbearable. Acclimation is everything. For those of you who prefer a less painful approach, the people of Denmark have cultivated a milder, more agreeable strategy of dealing with the long dark of winter in the atmospheric sentiment of hygge.
Pronounced “hyoo-guh” (I find it helps to imagine an abrupt Scandinavian foghorn), this word has no exact equivalent in the English language. Among the many things it does encompass are coziness, togetherness, and a general appreciation of the simpler things in life. This relatively uncomplicated, though hard to lock down, concept can be found in a myriad of places. From baked goods to classic family recipes, candlelit heirlooms to soft fuzzy blankets, and fresh brewed tea to quiet tidy spaces, hygge is all about finding peace and joy in intrinsic natures of things.
Read All About It!
If you would like to learn more about channeling some classic Hygge into your holiday season, check out this list of books available at our library!
One of the best things about hygge, is that it is always a deeply personal venture. One of the more subjective, yet essential, tenets is a carefree feeling of security. I always find myself in a wholly safe spot when reading a particularly good book. Furthermore, eclecticism is yet another value embraced in hygge. As a result, the wide world of literature makes it easy to find your own winter-withstanding comfort zone in any genre!
The generosity of holiday baking is probably one of the more Wisconsin ways to come together. Check out Fabulous Modern Cookies by Christopher Taylor if you want to kick the biscuits up a notch this year. Baked goods go hand-in-hand with romance in Fake It Till You Bake It, a tantalizing new novel by Jamie Wesley. Or, if you prefer a hot drink over a puff pastry, check out the first book in Annika Sharma’s new series Love, Chai, and Other Four-letter Words!
For a more visually engaging affair, graphic novels make a perfect fit. More blossoming romances can be found in the Heartstopper series by Alice Oseman. Or perhaps you find the best cozy read in a new take on a nostalgic classic, such as Kevin J. Anderson’s graphic novel adaptation of Dune (the second book in this series just arrived at our library!)
Diving deeper into the non-traditional side of hygge, horror enthusiasts can explore the darker side of togetherness in Uzumaki, Junji Ito’s unsettling tale of creeping assimilation. But if you prefer the lighter side of scares, Jason Pargin’s (a.k.a. David Wong) John Dies at the End might be the perfect companion series to keep you merrily engrossed and pleasantly distracted from the icy floes of the season.
Hygge also finds its home in minimalism and tidiness, values mirrored in the succinct art of poetry. Ocean Vuong’s insightful meditations of memory and loss in Time is a Mother create a sublime canvas for reflection and discussion. For something closer to home, Eau Claire based author, Dorothy Chan’s Babe is overflowing with vibrant visions of youth, trauma, love, and resilience.
No matter what corner of the literary continuum you’re currently craving, elements of hygge can always be a part of your reading ritual. What’s your go-to book for the perfect cozy/nostalgic/fuzzy/delicious/unexpected/traditional read this season?