Off the Shelf: The Little Book of Hygge

The Little Book of Hygge-002In recent months, though I have enjoyed the writing process for years, it seems I lost my writing voice. I missed making a blank page come to life with words yet found words did not come freely or frequently. Finally, I determined to revive good reading habits, hoping that as I took in the words of  great writers, I might find my own writing voice again. My 2019 goal is simply to keep a journal of books I read and the quotes I value from each book. It has been a rewarding process so far. Perhaps this and future “Off the Shelf” posts will provide resources for your own reading pleasure as well.

In search of some casual summer reading, I recently picked up a book from the library, The Little Book of Hygge, written by Meik Wiking, the CEO of the Happiness Research Institute, Copenhagen; published in 2017. While I had heard the term “hygge” and knew of its increasing popularity, I was unaware of its meaning. Mr. Wiking does an impressive job of not only explaining the meaning of the word but making his reader feel the meaning of the word…which, in fact, is exactly what hygge represents – a feeling or sense of well-being as a result of life choices and experiences.

The Danish people are among the happiest people on earth. Meik Wiking has made it his calling to discover the reasons why and pass this along. A Dane himself, he has a solid grasp on the resources that contribute to Danish happiness alongside the reality that happiness in and of itself does not come from possessions. In his refreshing writing style, he gently takes his readers on a journey that includes an imagined walk through a Danish neighborhood and an evening as a guest at a small dinner with friends in a Danish apartment. I found myself first wanting to eat some Danish sweets and eventually wanting to visit Denmark!

The simplicity that hygge represents is beautifully illustrated in the simple layout of this book, its convenient size, its short chapters, and its clean yet simple artwork. Even the writing is simple, with concise sentence structure, easy explanations and randomly inserted humorous but kind jabs at the Danes themselves. I found myself laughing out loud at some of the quirks of hygge, all while wishing I could go to Hobby Lobby right that minute and buy some yarn to learn how to knit.

With chapters on Light, Togetherness, Home, Christmas, Summer, and more, everyone can find something to embrace about hygge. This book made me feel so comfortable and carefree that I ended up taking two quick and cozy naps while reading this short and happy text – my way of enjoying my own hygge. Grab this book for your beach bag or a lazy Saturday afternoon, and enjoy a little bit of Danish hygge yourself this summer!

Florida sunrise 2019


About Deb Ashley

At home, Deb is the wife of Mark and mom of three adult children. She enjoys cooking, taking care of a small but somewhat productive garden, feeding the local community of birds and other assorted critters, and taking naps with her dog Mandy. Her passions include teaching, writing and music. In the community, Deb enjoys working alongside her husband in his role as a pastor. She is involved in teaching and encouraging women from all walks of life through book studies, counseling, and speaking opportunities.
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