When I first saw this book, I was mesmerised by the cover. I know, don’t judge a book after its cover, but look at it, how could I not? (I am a sucker for a good cover art!)
This book looks like one of those coffee table books (you know, the ones you put there to look smart and sophisticated, while hiding your copies of the twilight series in the third row of the top shelf of your book case?) and I would definitely put it into this category, and also store it there, if I had an actual coffee table. On the other hand, you wouldn’t be wrong to put it into the genre of general non-fiction (in my opinion even self-help might apply to it.), however, who expects to find results of studies and facts about happiness is expecting to much.
“The little book of Hygge” focuses on the Danish lifestyle of Hygge and how this might be linked to the general feeling of happiness in Denmark (They constantly win all the contest of who is the happiest, the most content and generally all of those things…). Meik Wiking is focusing mostly on how one can achieve a form of Hygge at their own home. Giving guides, recipes and really pretty pictures of Hygge as inspiration (No, like really pretty, it was like reading an winter inspired aesthetic blog). However, he leaves a lot of space for the reader to get inspired and roll with it. Hygge seems to be more a state of mind then an actual concept of things.
And that is also my only critical point with this. Hygge (like the German concept of “Gemütlichkeit”) is a state of mind, something you know or not, understand or not. It is hard to translate into a different language and culture that is not familiar with it. The author tried his best in explaining what exactly it is and I think he is doing a good job, however also seems to get bogged down in the weeds with just that. The beginning is still not quite clear: Why start with what Hygge is to then backtrack and put it in the general context of untranslatable words of the world and happiness research. And the candles seem to be such a big part of Hygge that the author mentions them constantly.
Nonetheless, this is definitely one of the books I enjoyed a lot this month. It never pretended to be the begin all and end all of Hygge but a good and solid introduction. It did not promised more than it gave and thats what I appreciated about it. And the cover work, I mean seriously who was responsible for that?