The Danish art of hygge, or hominess, has gained a lot of attention in the past couple of years, but I only discovered it very recently, whilst reading The Year of Living Danishly by Helen Russell. I love the main principles of hygge: getting cosy under a blanket, lighting candles, drinking tea. But my favourite act of hygge is simply immersing myself in a good book (no surprises there, then).
It got me thinking about the sort of books I read when I want to feel at my absolute cosiest. It’s certainly true that particular genres and authors help me feel more hyggelig than others, and I suppose that’s why I return to them time and time again. Here then, are my favourite rainy day, blanket-clad, cup-of-tea-in-hand, authors.
In my review of Persuasion, I described reading Austen as “like feeling the warmth of a cosy jumper on a chilly, winters day.” There is a familiar tone to her novels whose consistency feels like returning to an old friend, who just happens to be a stonker of a storyteller. In my mind, there’s nothing better than curling up on the sofa and being transported to a Georgian pump-room, somewhere in Bath. In fact, her writing is equally as calming when sat on the grass, in the shade of a tree on a warm day. When isn’t there an appropriate time to cosy up with a Jane Austen novel?
Gabaldon’s Outlander series is my ultimate reading indulgence, a story with which, I admit, I am now pretty obsessed. Page-turners are well suited to rain days, yet the Outlander books are by no means quick reads at around 700-1000 pages long. But I like the fact that I can return to these characters again on the next lazy afternoon, and the next. Getting lost in a story is what hygge is all about, and for me there is nothing more appropriate than Outlanders addictive, lengthy narrative.
The Brontë Sisters
The bleak, Yorkshire moors provide the backdrop for the classic novels that these northern siblings are so renowned for, Jane Eyre and Wuthering Heights being the most memorable. The dark, gothic tone of these stories makes them a perfect companion to a cup of tea and a cosy blanket. Whilst hygge can be practised year-round, I find that the Brontë’s are best enjoyed on a cold, winter’s day with the candles lit.
When it comes to cosy reads, historical fiction is up there with the cosiest, and Gregory’s books in particular have a fluency that makes for an easy, comfortable read. It certainly helps that her most popular series of novels have been based in the Tudor period and the Wars of the Roses respectively, as these are two of my favourite eras of history. Her stories are escapism at its finest, often told through the eyes of a real person, and are so vivid that it’s easy to get swept away.
Which authors or genres help you to get hygge?