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SCANDINAVIAN BOOKS TO ADD TO YOUR BOOKSHELF

As cozy season is well and truly here, I thought it was the perfect time to share a selection of Scandinavian books to add to your bookshelf this season. Whether you are interested in well-being, food, design or Nordic lifestyle, there should be something here for you to indulge in during the autumn and winter months.

1 NJUTA – ENJOY, DELIGHT IN: THE SWEDISH ART OF SAVOURING THE MOMENT

Do you aspire to live a more peaceful, intentional life of mindfulness, positivity, and gratitude? Then this new book is for you!

Njuta (pronounced “nyutah”), which means ‘enjoy or ‘delight in,’ is the Swedish art of savouring the moment. Focused on finding happiness in even the smallest things, njuta can be applied to every area of life.

From relishing a quiet moment of comfort to enjoying the beauty of nature or even just reveling in the deliciousness of a favorite snack, you too can do like the Swedes and open your eyes to all of life’s pleasures, no matter how simple. 

In this book, Niki Brantmark offers easy-to-follow how-to’s, practical lists of tips and tricks, and unique insights into the most fascinating aspects of Swedish culture, from morning dips to Christmas crafting. Njuta is the ultimate guide to rejoicing in the moment, anytime and anywhere.

Purchase it here.

2 THE BOOK OF NORDIC SELF-CARE

This book helps you discover the secrets of the Nordic way of life to gain meaning, calm, and happiness: find peace and balance through seasonal rituals, connecting with nature, mindfulness practices, and more.

The Nordic countries are renowned for being among the happiest in the world, and in this beautifully illustrated guide, Elisabeth Carlsson shares the keys to their lifestyle to help you improve your health and wellbeing. In the first chapter, learn about the benefits of wellness practices such as saunas and find skincare rituals that you can try at home. Next, take inspiration from Nordic foods by focusing on simple flavours, and seasonal produce, and preparing your meals as an act of self-care. There is also a chapter on immersing yourself in nature through cold-water therapy and wild swimming. Embracing and adapting to the seasons is one way that the Nordics cope with the dark winters, and you’ll find methods to help you tune in to your environment through seasonal celebrations. From small self-care rituals to ways to shift your mindset, this guide includes plenty of inspiration from the Nordic countries to help you simplify and savour your everyday life.

Purchase it here.

3 MY HYGGE HOME: HOW TO MAKE HOME YOUR HAPPY PLACE

My Hygge Home is a gorgeous guide to the Nordic art of creating a cozy, happy home from the internationally bestselling author, Meik Wiking.

Our homes should be a place of comfort, a place to feel safe when we shut the door. Somewhere to be ourselves, to unwind and create special memories. Inspired by Danish design and traditions, this beautiful book shares how to turn your home into a sanctuary and live like the happiest people in the world.

With simple tips based on new research from The Happiness Institute in Copenhagen, this book reveals what makes a happy home tick. No matter how much space you have or what your budget is, Meik shows how you can use colour, light and space to create your happy place and celebrate coziness the Danish way.

Purchase it here.

4 WINTER SWIMMING: THE NORDIC WAY TOWARDS A HEALTHIER & HAPPIER LIFE

This is a beautifully illustrated exploration of cold-water traditions in Scandinavia and around the world and a thorough account of why it provides such a boost to body and soul.

Whether in a lake, lido, river or sea, we know the benefits of swimming outdoors and in nature – environmentally friendly and accessible, it can influence our happiness, our energy and our inner tranquillity, and give us that winter glow.

In Winter Swimming Danish scientist Dr. Susanna Søberg leads us step by step into the icy water and explains the “cold-shock response”, the massive endorphin rush as our body reacts and adapts to very cold temperatures through the winter season. Not only do our circulation, heart, lungs and skin respond positively, but our immune system, metabolism and mental health too. In particular, she explains how our “brown fat” is activated to benefit multiple health conditions.

Purchase it here.

5 SCANDINAVIANS: IN SEARCH OF THE SOUL OF THE NORTH

Scandinavia is the epitome of cool: we fill our homes with Nordic furniture; we envy their humane social welfare system and their healthy outdoor lifestyle; we glut ourselves on their crime fiction; even their strangely attractive melancholia seems to express a stoic, commonsensical acceptance of life’s vicissitudes. But how valid is this outsider’s view of Scandinavia, and how accurate is our picture of life in Scandinavia today?

This book follows a chronological progression across the Northern centuries: the Vendel era of Swedish prehistory; the age of the Vikings; the Christian conversions of Denmark, Norway, Sweden and Iceland; the unified Scandinavian state of the late Middle Ages; the sea-change of the Reformation; the kingdom of Denmark-Norway; King Gustav Adolphus and the age of Sweden’s greatness; the cultural golden age of Ibsen, Strindberg and Munch; the impact of the Second World War; Scandinavia’s postwar social democratic nirvana; and the terror attacks of Anders Behring Breivik.

Scandinavians is also a personal investigation, with award-winning author Robert Ferguson as the ideal companion as he explores wide-ranging topics such as the power and mystique of Scandinavian women, from the Valkyries to the Vikings; from Nora and Hedda to Garbo and Bergman.

Purchase it here.

6 A SCANDINAVIAN CHRISTMAS: FESTIVE TALES FOR A NORDIC NOËL

I know it is not Christmas just yet…but this book will start to prepare you to have a truly Scandinavian Christmas.

In this collection, classic tales from Hans Christian Andersen and Nobel Prize winner Selma Lagerlof blend with modern-day stories from Karl Ove Knausgaard and Vigdis Hjorth. Each touch on the warm and wild spirit of Christmas, where the coziness and contentment of the season can often give way to the unexpected, magical and sometimes mystical.

A Scandinavian Christmas is full of literary gifts, so you can be transported to a winter wonderland in which fantasy, the fantastic and the festive combine for your reading delight.

Purchase it here.

7 THE SWEDISH ART OF AGING EXUBERANTLY: LIFE WISDOM FROM SOMEONE WHO WILL (PROBABLY) DIE BEFORE YOU

A book of humorous and charming advice for embracing life and aging joyfully. In this book, Margareta Magnusson reveals her discoveries about aging – some difficult to accept, many rather wondrous. She reflects on her idyllic childhood on the west coast of Sweden, the fullness of her life with her husband and five children, and learning how to live alone. Throughout, she offers advice on how to age gracefully, such as: wearing stripes, don’t resist new technology, let go of what doesn’t matter, and more.

The Swedish Art of Aging Exuberantly shows readers how to prepare for and understand the process of growing older and the joys and sorrows it can bring. While Magnusson recommends decluttering, her ultimate message is that we should not live in fear of death but rather focus on appreciating beauty, connecting with our loved ones, and enjoying our time together.

Purchase it here.

8 SCANDINAVIAN FROM SCRATCH: A LOVE LETTER TO THE BAKING OF DENMARK, NORWAY & SWEDEN

Looking for new baking inspiration? From chef Nichole Accettola, Scandinavian from Scratch brings an assortment of baked goods and simple morning or midday meals rooted in Scandinavian cuisine. After moving back to the United States following more than a decade abroad, Accettola found herself longing for the wholesome breads, buttery pastries, decadent cakes, and cookies that she enjoyed on a daily basis while living in Copenhagen. She set out on a mission to bring the tastes and treats of Norway, Sweden, and Denmark to San Francisco and opened her now beloved bakery café, Kantine. 

In Scandinavian from Scratch, Accettola has curated 75 delicious bakes, organized by occasion and arranged from simplest to most complex, drawing from her collection of each Scandinavian country’s baking traditions. The easy-to-follow recipes will expand your baking horizons and bring something special to the table, from breakfast and brunch to afternoon tea to holiday celebrations.

Purchase it here.

9 SOFT MINIMAL: A SENSORY APPROACH TO ARCHITECTURE & DESIGN

Building spaces of equilibrium: Copenhagen-based studio Norm Architects’ humane simplicity creates environments that feel as good as they look. Guided by ideas of well-being, the essence of Norm Architects’ style is balance: richness focused by restraint, simplicity imbued with warmth, and complexity heightened by order. Be it architecture, interiors, or furniture, Norm’s unique brand of soft minimalism speaks to the mind as much as the body, creating spaces for people.

The first monograph by Norm Architects, Soft Minimal is their own curation of works that have made them key figures of Nordic design. It presents residential and commercial projects throughout Scandinavia, Italy and Japan as Norm reflects on Nordic traditions, modernist principles, and the importance of natural materials. Exploring a creative process that makes the visual speak to all senses, the book becomes insightful, inspirational, and deeply poetic.

Purchase it here.

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