“The Little Book of Hygge” (2017) | Book Review (March 2020)

Book Review THUMB


Chosen Book:

The Little Book of Hygge: Danish Secrets to Happy Living (2017) by Meik Wiking

**Pronunciation: Hoo-ga


Trigger Warnings:

“Throat cutting” a cake (p. 56).


Themes:

Humor, hygge, definitions, research, happiness, lighting, essentials, small group socializing, illustrations, art, community, mindfulness, present moment, process not the product, culture, cooking recipes, lists, easy to read and understand, nonfiction.


Summary:

This book is an excellent nonfiction read to inspire the reader to incorporate the cultural phenomenon of hygge (a Danish pleasure that involves a lot of mindfulness, small social gatherings for togetherness (our social relationships are a big factor in how happy we feel), feeling safe and secure, feeling comforted) by implementing skills and hyggeligt experiences into the reader’s day to day life. The book, by Meik Wiking (2017), includes dozens of small illustrations that make the book digestible, easier to understand and pleasant to the eye. Some photos are compiled in this review itself, from crafts to hygge essentials. Hygge is about exploring your authentic and pure self and things that are hyggelig are broken down into smaller pieces, making the read enjoyable and understandable. Hygge, for instance: is that warm cup of coffee in the morning, sitting on a fluffy pillow, smelling a frosted cake, sitting amongst friends in front of a fire, etc. It’s being in the present moment as fully as possible.

Largely, when I read this book, I was left intrigued, inspired and ready to practice more and more hygge into my life. I’m so glad that I took this book out from the library and I’m hopeful that you may see this and enjoy it too, or be intrigued to check out similar projects in the future. This book is an excellent intrigue and opening for all things hygge and how the Danes incorporate it into their every day life, giving ideas and fresh perspectives for all those who may read this book itself or come across the author’s work in other ways. πŸ™‚

Thank you!!! ❀ ❀ ❀


Recommendation Score:

5/5

hyggelig atmospheres


Book Length:

223 pages


Remarkable Quotes, Ideas or Inspirations:

  • Hygge essentials: unscented candles.Β 
  • This is a photograph of a Le Klint light that reminded me of a photograph I KNOW I have somewhere, lost in the abyss of my computer, of a similar looking light that existed in the Campus Center of my university’s academic help offices.Β 
  • Photo credits from above: Le Klint light from p. 11 of the hygge book and an online version of the lighting that I found from my university on Nadeaucorp (I wish I could find my own photo but it’s proving difficult, sorry!!)
  • I loved the idea that photography means painting with light and that Danes aren’t the only ones in love with lighting, that photographers are too. (p. 13)! There was also a lighting tip called “The Golden Hour” that the best lighting happens 1 hour after sunrise and 1 hour before sunset! (p. 13)
  • The “hominess” definition from Canadians reminded me of how much Recovery Home (my recovery art project) holds some of the same ideals: in that it’s symbolic for how homey things can be when real and authentic and physical in terms of bringing into reality feelings of being sheltered, safe and shutting out the world (Wiking p. 24).
  • Hygge 2

  • “The Hygge Manifesto: 1. Atmosphere: Turn down the lights (this is more hyggelig), 2. Presence: Be here now, turn off the phones. 3. Pleasure: Coffee, chocolate, cookies, cakes, candy. 4. Equality: We over me, share the tasks and the airtime (conversation). 5. Gratitude: Take it in, this might be as good as it gets. 6. Harmony: It’s not a competition, we already like you, there is no need to brag about your achievements. 7. Comfort: Get comfy, take a care, it’s all about relaxation. 8. Truce: No drama, let’s discuss politics another day. 9. Togetherness: Build relationships and narratives, ‘do you remember the time we…’ 10. Shelter: This is your tribe, this is a place of peace and security” — Wiking (2017) p. 30-31

  • This book made me think a lot about my own living situations and the people in my life and places I can learn to make more hyggelig. πŸ™‚ (p. 39)
  • Being comforted/cuddling with pets is equivalent to receiving cuddles/comfort by humans! (p. 41)
  • “There is something comforting about having a warm cup of coffee in your hands. It is definitely conducive to hygge”– p.61 I think that a frozen coffee does this for me too but I can definitely attest that hot coffee with caramel in it most definitely heightens the hygge for me. πŸ™‚

  • I like the idea on p. 87 to link purchases in life with good experiences, waiting to purchase an item so as to better pair it with an accomplishment so that whenever you see that object you link it back with that memory. This seems like something super interesting to do and I want to start with the bean bag chair I wanna get and the fluffy pillow with arms thing I also want too. πŸ™‚
  • On p. 96, Wiking talks about creating a hyggekrog (pronounced hoogacrow) in your house, and it gave me the inspiration to transform my bedroom’s closet into my own hyggekrog. I share the space with my Mom so some of the closet will still have her things there but I’m hoping that a corner/space can be placed for my own soothing stuff. πŸ™‚ I am making it a summer project for myself! Here are the hyggekrog essentials that I will incorporate (as I noted in my journal):
  • My hyggekrog closet essentials: 1. Bean bag chair 2. Storage box with multiple shelves (for coping materials) including: A. Zen garden. B. Books C. Thinking Putty D. Squishies. 3. Soft fluffy pillow with arms 4. Wall decals 5. Canvas art 6. Bookshelf with books 7. Mom’s side 8. Dresses 9. Fairy lights/lanterns 10. White noise machine 11. Stationery/letters 12. Coloring books/designated art supplies. 13. No Internet (unless for noise/comfort)

  • “Hygge is about giving your responsible, stressed out achiever adult a break. Relax. Just for a little while. It is about experiencing happiness in simple pleasures and knowing that everything is going to be okay” – (Wiking, 2017, p. 105).

  • The quote above really makes me think of Comfort Rooms in the psych hospital so I really love and have loved the idea of creating little nooks in my household of similar comfort things/places I can go to to self-soothe. I’m really excited to work on this this summer! πŸ™‚ One of my friends from program has often used her closet as a safety nook so I like the idea of doing something similar in my own. ❀ It’s like a new space in and of itself since I don’t go through my closet very much, so I’m really looking forward to it!
  • For a hygge emergency kit on p.108: one of the suggestions is having a favorite film or TV series to re-watch. For this point, it reminds me of one of my recent therapy sessions where my therapist was telling me that I like to make projects out of things and that while I can still do that, it’s best to balance these projects with things I just do for FUN. I.e. Some things pleasure, some things projects. So like, if I wanted to color I get stuck a lot because I feel like I should make a video out of it for content but then because of that extra step I just never wind up doing it. Instead, if I wanted to just color because I wanted to color, I could just do that, for me, for myself, not for anyone else. It’s a work in progress to challenge for sure!
  • Another ingredient (p. 108) is having physical letters from friends or loved ones available in your hygge emergency kit, which also can include print outs of typed/online responses, which I really like, too. πŸ™‚
  • Hygge 4

    Having a hygge related notebook is also a great idea as mentioned on p. 109! For this, I want to use my recent Valentine’s day related notebook, a little spiral bound with a doggo on it, lined paper on the front and blank on the back. I think it’d be an excellent place to categorize and exemplify (as Wiking suggests) my past hygge experienced and my future hygge experiences. πŸ˜€ (excuse the page flags in the background! XD)

  • Hygge 3

    Page flag notes: A good depiction of how simplistic art can be and still be beautiful. Credit: p. 110, Wiking (2017)

  • About the artwork above and in general within this book and in the world: I think I still struggle at times with the “good” or “bad” traditional viewpoints of art, however, these images are a good challenge to what “art” really is. Like, it can be breathtaking and incredibly hard work, making things pale with light, shadow, three-dimensions, and that doesn’t detract from that type of serious artwork, AND it can still be not that, like, art can be just lines or more simplistic, run down types of art and STILL be artsy. I think I’ve been quietly assessing my own art creation as lesser when it’s merely different. I like the mindfulness approach to art, where it’s about the process rather than the product. I suppose I have to remind myself why I create and how to do so to my own satisfaction rather than others’ opinions. Especially true for creative writing. It’s like struggling to balance one’s own ideas with the opinions of everyone else’s. At the end of the day, I have to go with my own gut and be appreciative and welcoming of that. ❀ xxx Like, not everyone is going to like what I create but am I creating it for THEM or for ME? :3
  • On p. 120 Wiking mentions how when a co-worker brought their doggo into work, he would set aside a goal that if he accomplished something on his to-do list, he could then go pet the doggo and how that greatly increased his productivity–I think this is a great idea even for myself at home to be able and go pet my Mokeys. πŸ™‚
  • “One of our issues as adults is that we become too focused on the results of an activity. We work to earn money. We spend time with people to network and further our careers. What happened to doing something just because it’s fun?” — Wiking (2017) p. 151

  • Again, the above quote reminds me of how often I make projects out of activities that were once only done for fun. Videos, reviews, blog posts, etc. How I put off doing some things or ingesting some content because I want to review it or put something together because of it. I think lately I forget that I can do something JUST for fun, without making some form of content out of it thereafter. It’s a rule of mine I’m still learning to challenge. It’s definitely the difference between work and play. πŸ˜› Maybe one day….
Hygge 5

I used some small scrapbooking paper and fucked it up because I thought we weren’t supposed to do the flaps on the folded part whereas it was just meant to not cut along the folded line straight across. So this one was a fail! Overall, they are called as you can see: “Woven hearts” I’m hoping to find some videos of them soon, hell, I should probably even do it now to help you and help myself! Let’s see….

Hygge 6

Here we go! I’m pretty sure the second heart is meant to go through BOTH rows of the first one, but for the purposes of this review, I left that out (okay, so I didn’t realize that I did but I’m not fixing it now, ahaha). Pretty cool though, nice little activity! πŸ™‚ Also, I realized now that I fucked up another section BUT if you watch the video, it’ll make more sense (the third flap should be OVER but it was also thicker so, bleh) I think you get the idea though πŸ™‚

  • p. 187 has inspired me to try and read those gardening/cookbook books out there and try to make little treats myself without my Mom’s guidance, help or hovering, which I’d like to try doing each Sunday. I didn’t yesterday but today maybe I will go through with it and make some brownies from the box. They may not turn out “all right” but hey, we all gotta start somewhere!! πŸ™‚ The idea of cooking or baking sounds pretty hyggelig to me!
  • p. 188 suggests a picnic by the beach/by the sea which I think is a FABULOUS idea to embark on this summer. Preferably with my friends David and Madeline, but even on my own, too. I think it’d be so hyggelig! πŸ™‚
  • “The gross national product does not include the beauty of our poetry or the strength of our marriages; the intelligence of our public debate or the integrity of our public officials…it measures everything, in short, except that which makes life worthwhile” — Robert Kennedy, p. 206

  • I really like the ending of this quote especially, because I think it’s very true and very important to be reminded of. What makes life worthwhile? What makes all the trudging through hard times worth it in the end? I definitely wanted to share this quote with you all, maybe to get you thinking of what soothes you and what experiences you’d like to have more of in the future to get through the hard times. ❀
  • “Studies show that when individuals experience social isolation many of the same brain regions become active that are active in the experience of physical pain” — Wiking (2017) p. 213

  • I thought the above quote and information was very interesting and might be something I include as a tidbit in my ED related fanfic. :3
  • “While happiness and hygge are definitely about appreciating the now, both may be planned and preserved. Hygge and happiness have a past and a future as well as a present” — Wiking (2017) p. 217

  • I loved this quote so much I had to include it in my review. It’s nice to think that happiness and hygge can be planned, held and experienced. ❀

What Drew Me to this Book and What Kept Me Reading:

I was drawn towards hygge after about October or November 2019 when I was browsing Coloring Books for Adults on Amazon. I was looking at fairies, dogs, and home/interior design ones (because I find the latter to be so comforting and nice!). That is when I came across the hygge coloring book by Creative Haven. I instantly fell in love with it and popped it into my Mom’s Amazon shopping cart.

I wound up getting the doggo one by Creative Haven and the hygge one for Christmas. I even have a page from the hygge coloring book that I colored on camera here (if you’d like the check that out!!):

When I went to the library up by my psychiatrist’s one time, around February this year, I was looking at the self-help/psychology section and I came across this hygge book. I was instantly drawn towards it, and thought it would make an excellent collection in my book reviews. I skimmed through some pages and I really loved the illustrations with artwork sprinkled throughout the words. It looked easy to read, easy to digest and something I was definitely intrigued by.

Funnily enough, when I went to the library again in March I found ANOTHER hygge book but I didn’t get it out that time, but for sure, next time! What made me love and continuously fall in love with this book was the illustrations, the artwork woven into easy to digest words and research. It was something I very much enjoyed and kept me hooked and made the reading experience so much more soothing and enticing. I love books that incorporate art and words and I really, really hope to one day publish one of my one. ❀ xxx

I also managed to find another book by the same author on happiness at my local library and greedily took that one out too. Can’t wait to read it! (And with this quarantine, it’ll be more likely that I can read it soon, phew!)Β 


Reminders or Wandering Thoughts I had While Reading:

  1. I should educate myself more on culture
  2. I should totes take out that Norse mythology book by Neil Gaiman and actually read it this time πŸ™‚
  3. P. 29: How prevalent are mental health conditions/trauma in the Danish culture? It’s said on this page and throughout the book that the Danes are the top ranked happiest people in the world so what besides hygge makes them such and do they still struggle with other issues that the rest of us do? :3
  4. Remembering happy experiences/moments on p. 34 is a lot like guided imagery to my mind–soaking in the positivity among sometimes darker skies. A lot of the time they are memories involving moments with others. ❀ Neat!
  5. There’s a nice clock illustration on p. 37 which also made me wonder if the color choices in this book’s illustrations may be significant? (Blues, oranges, dirty greens, etc.)
  6. On how touch that we are comforted and loved by releases oxytocin for us: I wondered how this applies or changes when it comes to trauma and forced touch/assaulting touch. (p. 41)
  7. I should really work on the books I want to create and publish myself!
  8. I believe I’ve mentioned this in another blog post before, but I find that when I read books nowadays I read in 3 different personas: 1. The Writer: Studying word choices or thematic details or flow of words that I can utilize in my own writings. 2. The Reader: Following along with the story, keeping track of the details etc. 3. The Analyzer: Trying to guess what’s ahead, playing with the characters and the book/like kneading dough, analyzing what is happening and getting ready to review the book later. These personas have made reading books more of a project than it ever used to be, and that can be really difficult to manage now. I have come to the conclusion that I can read a fiction book alongside a nonfiction book as I only have to keep track of two separate types of story lines. So that is nice! I have to work on challenging these “rules” of mine since they are only my own rules and I can override them at any time. It just doesn’t always feel that way! πŸ˜› (These thoughts came to mind for me on p. 107 when Wiking (2017) suggests having a favorite book in a hygge emergency kit. πŸ™‚ )
  9. Although I wouldn’t be the one to leave a chocolate on a co-worker’s desk, I’d be more apt to leave a little note, a coloring page, a card, etc. :3 (p.120)
  10. I wondered on p. 159 how the illustrations were created for this book, who made them, what program did they use, etc. If you decide to read this book for yourself, a lot of them use white space/absence of space to create the image all together, which I thought was especially neat. πŸ™‚ (For instance: books have white lines on the spines to create the presence of word blocks interrupting the blocks of color. Bread and bottles have the same effect on the top or surrounding them. πŸ™‚ Just a fun aside!)
  11. Next nonfiction books I would love to pursue (once covid-19 gets more under control as they are all closed at the moment): A. Homes/Interior design/Architecture/Decorations B. Cooking C. Gardening D. Crafts
  12. In particular knitting books (p. 177 mentioned) or blogs about it might be really cool and finding blogs about those crafts or even Youtube channels will probably be a great starting point for being quarantined at the moment!

Dates I Read This Book:

3/5/20, 3/6, 3/7, 3/8, 3/10, 3/11, 3/12.

Dates I wrote this post:

3/22/20, 3/23.

Music listened to in posting/crafting this review:

I Love Me/Anyone by Demi Lovato.


Thank you so much for reading and taking the time!!! Do you have any book suggestions? Something you wrote that you’d like me to review? Leave it in the comments!!! ❀ Stay safe and stay healthy, folks! ❀ xxx