“It’s cold, it’s dark, and it’s going to last the rest of your life”- Bill Murray hit the nail on the head, man Winter just seems to go on forever for me- and I live in the “South” (Is Oklahoma part of The South to you? I would say no. Having lived in Virginia and Tennessee I see Oklahoma as a very different state of mind than The South or The Midwest. I would call it Western or Texas’s red-headed cousin).
The photo today is my Quince & Co Beatrice cardigan in Blue Sky Alpaca EXTRA. This sweater has been on the needles since November 2016 and I am on the never-ending front band.
I started working 9a-7p this past week so it is very dark by the time I get home in the evenings to read. Like most people, in the last few years I took to the idea of Hygge- the concept of drawing inwards and focusing on cozy comforts in the winter time. Last year in January I read The Year of Living Danishly: My Twelve Months Unearthing the Secret of the World’s Happiest Country by Helen Russell. I like the literary structure of taking one year and focusing on a different concept every month (ala My Year of Yes by Shonda Rhimes, The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin and This is Where You Belong by Melody Warnick). It makes a big concept seem less daunting and usually makes for a quick read. The Year of Living Danishly certainly did not make me want to move to Denmark (rest easy Mom), but it did get me thinking about Hygge books- books that are comforting and cozy and I can return to again and again.
Every couple years I will reread The Inn at Lake Devine by Elinor Lipman. This is the perfect romantic comedy to me. Natalie Marx is a strong-minded woman who, as a teenager, was invited to tag along to the exclusive (meaning exclusively gentile) Inn at Lake Devine by a friend. As an adult she reconnects with her WASPy childhood friend and the family that owns the Inn and a wedding, a funeral and a love story ensue.
Another book that was full of lovable, imperfect characters was Small Blessings by Martha Woodroof. It is set in Lynchburg, Va, where one of my dear friends attended college. There is something I love about the idea of university towns- smart people tucked away in an idyllic setting. This book is about a single bookseller who moves to town with a complicated past and falls for a professor with complications of his own.
Finally I love to escape to a fantasy world and especially the books I loved as a kid. I still pull Ella Enchanted by Gail Levine off the shelf every couple years to revisit this plucky heroine. I also loved the Tamora Pierce Song of the Lioness books growing up because it featured another strong female lead who was brave enough to follow her own, less traditional, path.
And of course if nothing else will do I can always go back to Harry Potter. I love the whole series and cannot wait to get me hands on the illustrated edition of The Prisoner of Azkaban. If you have not had the chance to look at the illustrated books that have been coming out in the past few years take this opportunity to cozy up with these beautiful books.
What books make you feel warm and cozy?
Books on my shelf:
- Almost Sisters by Joshilyn Jackson
- It’s All Relative: Adventures Up and Down the World’s Family Tree by A.J. Jacobs
- Faithful by Alice Hoffman- trying this one on audiobook, which I do not normally do, so we will see if I like it