I chose Helen Dunmore’s A Spell of Winter as my November read and I quite simply adored it. It was atmospheric, melancholy, layered and gripping. If you’re looking for a wintery read, I can highly reccomnd it. For December, I’ve chosen an old favourite, Dylan Thomas’ Under Milk Wood, which I’ve read, and listened to, many times, but will never tire of. I love this old copy of it. I have a feeling I may have borrowed it from my Dad, who is also a big fan. A couple of years ago I wrote about my first visit to Laugharne, Dylan Thomas’s home, and supposedly the inspiration for the town in Under Milk Wood. Since that visit I’ve returned more than once, it’s a truly magical place. Like the book, it improves with every re-visit.
In October, I read The Book of Hygge by Louisa Thomsen Brits. It was a beautifully written, intelligent and fascinating book. I really recommend it to anyone who wants to discover more about the concept of hygge. It’s a word that seems to be appearing everywhere of late, but it wasn’t until reading this book that I had any sense of what hygge is, and its deeper meaning which goes far beyond the brewing of coffee and and the lighting of candles, and encompasses a way of living and interacting, of noticing and creating moments of contentment, connection and happiness. For anyone who’s keen to learn more, Louisa Thomsen Brits is giving a talk in London later this month as part of the 91 Magazine West Elm popup. You can find out more here.
I’ve chosen Helen Dunmore’s A Spell of Winter as my November read. It was a recommendation from my friend Sara during one of The Year in Books twitter chats. Its one of those novels that I really feel as if I should have read before now, so I’m finally putting that right.
There’s something about the beginning of Autumn that means the prospect of curling up with a book becomes even more appealing than usual. I’m slowly making my way through Anna Karenina. I find that it’s one that needs my full concentration, so not great for a sleepy end-of-the-day read, which means it may take me a little while, but that’s no bad thing!
I’m extremely excited about my October choice, the rather zeitgeisty ‘The Book of Hygge‘ by Louisa Thomsen Brits. I’m a huge fan of Louisa’s gentle and nature-infused Instagram feed, and I’ve been fascinated for some time by the Danish concept of ‘hygge’ (hue-gah), which seems to have entered common parlance of late, and although I am drawn to it, I know very little about it, and am keen to discover more. Not only that, but this book is utterly beautiful and is illustrated with stunning photographs by Susan Bell. I feel quite sure that I have a treat in store.
I’ve always felt September to be the month of fresh starts. A clean notebook, a new page, a full fountain pen… September is full of promise. Perhaps it’s because I’ve spent most of my life as either a student or a teacher, and now, a parent, but the academic year makes more sense to me than the calendar one. So, after a summer break, The Year in Books is back. I have a long to-read list, and I can’t wait to share it with you. But first, tell me, what did you read and enjoy over the summer?