The Nordic Way to Happy | Wyatt’s World

On the heels of calming interventions such as adult coloring books and only keeping possessions that spark joy, a new lifestyle movement is afoot. Hygge (pronounced hue-gah) is a Danish concept that encourages finding meaning in the everyday. Here are five books to start a collection on the subject.

  • ScandiKitchen: Fika and Hygge; Comforting Cakes bookofhygge.jpg12716and Bakes from Scandinavia with Love by Bronte Aurell (Ryland Peters & Small).
    Cooking is a core part of hygge, and Aurell, who runs the ScandiKitchen Café in London, knows all about it. Here she shares recipes for cookies, cakes, and tray bakes that support such activities as having tea with friends and the cozy feeling this trend seeks to capture.
  • The Book of Hygge: The Danish Art of Contentment, Comfort and Connection by Louisa Thomsen Brits (Penguin).
    Another title to turn to is this February release that stresses the way hygge focuses on feelings of belonging, the creation of comfort, and an appreciative awareness of the space around you.
  • How To Hygge: The Nordic Secrets to a Happy Life by Signe Johansen (Griffin: St. Martin’s).
    Filled with photos and a welcoming, easygoing tone, this wide-ranging book covers many of the elements of hygge—from getting outside to interior design.
  • Norwegian Wood: Chopping, Stacking, and Drying Wood the Scandinavian Way by Lars Mytting (Abrams).
    Lest one think the idea of learning from the Nordic realms is totally new, back in 2015, this surprise hit took off, teaching people how to cut wood and stack it for future use. A best seller for over a year in Norway and Sweden, its focus on the art, craft, and thankfulness of the endeavor captured readers stateside, too.
  • The Little Book of Hygge: Danish Secrets to Happy Living by Meik Wiking (Morrow).
    An expert in happiness delves into what makes hygge so good for personal well-being, offering short chapters on the experience of light, gatherings, eating, and more. The stylized illustrations add interest and convey some of the spirit of this philosophy.
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Neal Wyatt About Neal Wyatt

Neal Wyatt compiles LJ's online feature Wyatt's World and is the author of The Readers' Advisory Guide to Nonfiction (ALA Editions, 2007). She is a collection development and readers' advisory librarian from Virginia. Those interested in contributing to The Reader's Shelf should contact her directly at