Ok, picture this. It's throwing it down outside. The rain is coming in ice cold sheets. You've just come into a house after a long journey on a perishing train. You're cold. You're hungry. Possibly a little fraught. Then, as you step over the threshhold, you smell something lovely. A stew, possibly, cooking on the stove. Then there are some base notes. Is that vanilla? Apple? You sniff longingly.
You remove your boots, your coat, and, shivering, you're given a warm drink, and told to warm up in the other room. There's a log fire blazing, you can now smell the scent of the wood and you spy a pile of it stacked neatly in the corner.
There's a few table lamps in the room, dotted about, giving a warm glow. And, underneath, there are piles of books. You sink into the large, squashy sofa, thankful for the soft-to-touch throw and cushions, and turn your face towards the fire. You can hear your family, laughing, bantering, in the distance, and you're looking forward to getting together with them, feasting on whatever is cooking in that oven. But, for the moment, you need to collect yourself. You stroke the blankets, pick up a book, and sip your drink.
My husband's family call it gezelligheid. I can never pronounce it right. It's a Dutch word that very roughly translates to cosiness. Just like the popular Danish word hygge (pronouced hue-gah). (I'm using the Danish word in the hashtag simply because it's easier to spell!)
I do adore a log fire. Even if it is not quite cold enough. It transforms the house. Like, but better than, switching on a few table lamps. It takes the coldness out of the house. Invites cosiness. Giving warmth, literally and figuratively.
Books, for me, are a large part of that cosiness. They can ooze it just by being dotted around the room. On shelves or stacked on coffee tables. They can also give you that feeling as you read. You could be on that cold train but you've forgotten. The book has grabbed you in a large, cosy hug, consuming you, until you return to earth with the snap of the closing page, looking around, half dazed; blinking.
Other words used to describe hygge include warmth, conviviality and togetherness. And what can give you cosiness, warmth and togetherness? Books. Even better, a book community.
There are a number of hashtags on instagram and twitter for book recommendations. Some of them are large, some have been hijacked, and some cater more for younger tastes. One I enjoy is Laura from Circle of Pines Trees #theyearinbooks. Once a month Laura hosts a bookish chat on twitter (the next one is Monday 3rd October). But I feel the need to create another hashtag.
On twitter and instagram I feel I'm part of a lovely community. A community with many passions including (but not limited to) books. Fiction, non-fiction, nature, food, memoirs, inspiring books and pretty books with beautiful words. Books enhancing their lives.
So if you've read a good book lately, on any subject, published at any time, fiction or non, then do share on twitter or instagram. Use the hashtag #bookishhygge. And if you're not on either of those mediums then tell me your recommendations in the comments.
I'd really like to collect the recommendations and highlight in a monthly post here on A Bookish Baker.
And if you know of any other great book hashtags then let me know.
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