Wednesday, March 8, 2017
As a rule, I no longer review books here. I make the occasional exception for those rare books that are too wonderful to keep to myself. This is NOT one of those books! This is the opposite end of the spectrum; a book so ridiculous, so jaw-droppingly stupid that I'm embarrassed to admit I spent money on it. During Dewey's 24 Hour Readathon last October, I heard a lot of chatter about the upcoming release of this book, so I jumped on the bandwagon and preordered. After all, who doesn't want to know the secrets of happy living? Let me save you the $19.99 and explain Hygge (pronounced hoo-ga).
Atmosphere: Light candles, use multiple lamps rather than one overhead light, and look for bulbs marked "warm white", or better yet, buy a house with a wood-burning fireplace.
Presence: Shut off the phone and other electronic devices and be "present" where you are.
Food: "Hygge is about being kind to yourself - giving yourself a treat." Sweets, cake, coffee and hot chocolate are all hygge. "Fancy" foods, such as foie gras, are not.
Clothing: Casual, black, scarves, bulky tops, layers and woolen socks. Works in Denmark and Nebraska in the winter. I'm not sure how to hygge on the beach.
Home: A hygge home should contain a cozy nook for reading, a fireplace, candles, things made out of wood, books, ceramics (like a favorite coffee mug), blankets, pillows, and vintage items.
Hygge activities: Board games, TV night, croquet, pot-luck meals - anything where you spend time with friends.
In short, the secret to happiness is chocolate cake, coffee (with cream), a board game and good friends, followed by a good book in front of a fireplace. It's about savoring each of those items and being grateful. I figured that out years ago!
The book is authored by the CEO of the Happiness Research Project. I guess getting paid to research what makes people happy, not to mention a major book deal, is pretty hygge.