The Books of Hygge

Author Louisa Thomsen Brits shares the books that help her feel a sense of hygge and comfort.

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It seems the Danish word hygge is everywhere these days: appearing in articles in the New York Times, The New Yorker, Forbes, Jezebel and countless other venues, “hygge” was even named one of the top words of 2016 by the Oxford and Collins dictionaries. So, what is it? Hygge is the quality of coziness, togetherness, and contentment, which provides a warm and welcome antidote to frigid winter days and uncertain times. Hygge anchors us, reminding us to slow down, to connect with place and with one another, to dwell and savor rather than rush and spend. 

 Reading affords us stillness, connection and inspiration and often, like hygge, moments of restorative ease. When we curl up to read, we experience a sense of abundance and contentment, a taste of hygge—a feeling of engagement and relatedness, of belonging to the moment. I’ve selected books that focus on the rhythm of daily life and our relationship with ourselves, with each other and with the natural world—books that explore the art of living that inspired me during the weeks that I wrote The Book of Hygge, the poetry that I turn to for comfort, and a slender masterpiece that explores the moments, big and small, that shape us.

Featured image: Ollinka/
Author Photo:© Susan Bell

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LOUISA THOMSEN BRITS was born in Uganda to a Danish mother and English father. Louisa is a mother of four, an amateur naturalist and wild swimmer. She has been a radio restaurant and arts critic and a tribal bellydance teacher. Louisa is interested in the overlooked details of ordinary lives, liminal places, community and craft. She writes about the art of living, the nature of things, our common life and the rhythms and rituals that unite and define us all.

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