Hygge books for cozy winter reading

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If you’re hunkering down for the northern hemisphere winter and looking for the right books to pair with wintry conditions, today’s episode will fill up your cold weather reading list. […]

The post Hygge books for cozy winter reading appeared first on Modern Mrs Darcy.

A windowseat with a pillow, stack of books, candle, and hot chocolate.

If you’re hunkering down for the northern hemisphere winter and looking for the right books to pair with wintry conditions, today’s episode will fill up your cold weather reading list.

Sarah Butler has a deep love for all things hygge and winter, especially when it comes to the books she reads. Sarah joins me today from her home in Brooklyn, and shares her experience of discovering the Scandinavian approach to the cold and dark months and what that’s meant for her life and her reading life.

We talk about the books that started Sarah on this path as well as a range of reads that deliver on that cozy wintry feeling, and I suggest a stack of books Sarah can burrow into this snowy season.

If you have books that make you embrace the winter, we’d love to know: please share your suggestions by leaving a comment below.

What Should I Read Next #417: Hygge books for cozy winter reading, with Sarah Butler
"I will happily read a book that doesn't have much of a plot if I love the characters and the setting."

Connect with Sarah on Instagram.

[00:00:00] ANNE BOGEL: Hey readers, I’m Anne Bogel and this is What Should I Read Next?. Welcome to the show that’s dedicated to answering the question that plagues every reader, what should I read next? We don’t get bossy on this show. What we will do here is give you the information you need to choose your next read. Every week we’ll talk all things books and reading and do a little literary matchmaking with one guest.

Readers, I know many of you are joining us from all around the globe, and each of us is likely experiencing a very different winter. That’s our current season here in the Northern Hemisphere, where my guest and I are today.

One thing many readers around the globe agree on, though, is the appeal of wintry books, those seasonally inspired reads that make you want to pour a cup of something hot and snuggle under a blanket. Maybe with a candle lit in the fireplace thing too.

[00:01:06] Today I’m talking to a guest who has a deep love for all things hygge and winter, and this is absolutely reflected in the pages of her favorite reads.

Sarah Butler lives in Brooklyn, where she works at the library in a job that, as you’ll hear, sounds like a reader’s dream. She has always loved winter, but after discovering the Scandinavian approach to the cold and dark months, she has embraced the season even more in her life and in her reading life.

I’m excited to chat with Sarah about all of this today, and to recommend the stack of wintry books she can really burrow into this winter. Let’s get to it!

Sarah, welcome to the show.

SARAH BUTLER: Hi, Anne. Thank you so much. I’m so excited to be here and talking to you today.

ANNE: Oh, it’s my pleasure. I cannot wait to hear more about your job and your special love. I have to say where I am in Louisville, Kentucky, Sarah, we are in a rare spell of single degree. We’ve even hit subzero temperatures, and it seems like a perfect time to talk about what we’re going to talk about today.

[00:02:05] SARAH: Wonderful. I’m sitting in my apartment here in Brooklyn, and I can see a little bit of snow on the ground still, so I’m definitely in the mood.

ANNE: The perfect atmosphere. And readers, even if you’re listening in July, there’s never a bad time to talk about cozy books and about interesting library jobs. So, Sarah, would you start by telling our readers a little bit about where you are in the world? Let’s give everybody a little glimpse of who you are.

SARAH: Sure. I live in Brooklyn, New York, so I’m here in my apartment in Carroll Gardens, Brooklyn. I’ve lived in New York City for about 17 years now. I grew up in the Midwest, in a small town in Nebraska, and I moved to New York right after college and never left.

Here in New York, I have three kinds of main hobbies. Even if I do all of them in one day, I’m very happy. And they are art, running and reading. And reading is the only one that I actually accomplish every single day because I always make time to read before bed.

[00:03:00] In my professional life, I work for one of the big library systems here in New York City. I have the great honor of working in nonprofit development and fundraising. So I’m raising funds from individuals for library programs.

How that kind of works is that at least in urban libraries like ours, we get a large majority of our funding from the city. And then everything that is kind of above that, so anything that goes above and beyond keeping the lights on and our librarians paid and our buildings clean is paid for by private donations. So I work with individuals who are giving generously to the library. I know we can talk more about how that all kind of comes together in my reading life as well.

ANNE: I would love to hear about that. Sarah, you mentioned that you also end up doing a fair amount of reading for your job.

[00:03:47] SARAH: Yes, I do, and of course, just walking around the library, I’m always, you know, finding things to read. But specifically for my job, I work with individuals at the library, so people who are giving their own money to help support the work that we do.

And as a kind of benefit and a thank you to them, I host a series of events that are called Cocktails and Conversations. And through those events, we invite local authors, which, as you can imagine, New York City, we have so many wonderful local authors who generously spend their time with us to a cocktail party.

They’re hosted, usually either in people’s private homes and or hosted by our members and our donors who invite this group of people and their friends to hear an author speak. And we have lovely cocktails and canapé and talk about a really special book.

So where the reading comes in is that I’m the person who finds the books, finds authors, think about what might be interesting to our members, and kind of either introduce them to new writers or bring in somebody really exciting that they maybe have heard of, and we’ll get them to come to an event.

I do about… it used to be four, and now we’re doing about six of these a year. So I read a fair amount to try to kind of fill in those event spaces.

[00:05:04] ANNE: Ooh. Are you able to tell us a little more about one of these events or some of the books you’ve discovered because of this work-related reading?

SARAH: Sure. So we really try to focus on new, you know, kind of new releases, thought-provoking, award-winning, mostly fiction. Sometimes we do nonfiction and memoirs, sometimes poetry. But it’s that kind of really literary type writing.

Some authors have had the great pleasure of working with. You know, recently we just had an event with Hernan Diaz, who wrote the Pulitzer Prize-winning book Trust. Right before that, we had Hua Hsu, who’s an incredible writer, who wrote a memoir called Stay True. I’ve worked with So Chilly Gonzales, who is so much fun. And Rumaan Alam came. We had Min Jin Lee. So just a great host of authors. Sigrid Nunez was really wonderful, Colum McCann. So these are big books, these are important books, and I’m just so grateful-

[00:06:03] ANNE: Right, right. We could file all those under standout books I’ve read recently.

SARAH: Yeah. Yes. I heard you discuss Trust, which I was excited to hear that you had read that book. He’s amazing. Of course, being able to meet these authors and work with them it makes you enjoy the book all the more.

And these are not necessarily books that I’d be picking up in my reading life all the time. So it’s wonderful that I get the chance to read them. You know, sometimes I’m not reading the entire book all the way through, but I’m getting a taste of it for the event. And then I always end up having to go back in after hearing the author talk about it, because it’s really fun and it makes you more interested and all the more enjoyable to read those titles.

ANNE: Yes. Now, I don’t think I’m ever going to see the inside of one of these Cocktails and Conversation events in Brooklyn, but our community here in Louisville, Kentucky has this amazing series called the Kentucky Author Forum, where like Will and I had tickets to go see Kevin Wilson interviewing Ann Patchett. But just those discussions are so rich.

[00:07:00] And whether or not I’ve already read the books, I always leave with so many fresh insights and takeaways for my own reading life.

I would love to hear how the work you do and the reading you do for your work has shaped how you read when you’re not on the clock.

SARAH: That’s a really good question. I would say that before I worked at the library and before I kind of started running these events and finding authors for these events, I maybe would be more apt to pick up the more recent award-winning fiction that I’d heard about, you know, that was kind of on NPR, that I heard about from the New York Times in my own reading life.

And now that I’m working with so many of these authors and these books for my work life, I kind of tend to read a little bit more backlist and really delve into really specific interests and things that would never make a good event for the library, but are really personal to me. So I think that’s kind of the answer. But, you know, in a bit of above and beyond that, like I said, I don’t think I would have read all of these books.

[00:08:00] We had an incredible author, Robert Jones Jr. come and talk about his work, The Prophets. And that’s a really sad, hard book that I don’t think I would have picked up. But hearing him talk about it and hearing why he wrote it and the way that he wrote it and what it meant to him, it did make that reading experience so worthwhile.

You know, we had Fatima Farheen Mirza, was one of my very favorites. And just to be able to share… that was a book that I loved, and I also thought that it would fit really well with this group. And I really kind of fought for her to come and join us. And to be able to share that book with so many people who maybe wouldn’t have picked it up was really special.

We are having Ann Napolitano come in February. So that was another one that I really loved and thought, oh, I have to get this one in. Every once in a while I’m thinking of myself first, but mostly I’m thinking of the group and what people would really like to hear.

ANNE: You know, and if you happen to really enjoy them as well, that’s just the way it has to be sometimes.

SARAH: Exactly.

[00:09:00] ANNE: Much of the time, it sounds like. You mentioned that not everything made a good Author event. Tell me about a wonderful reading experience that you’ve had or that you would seek out that just doesn’t translate to that format.

SARAH: I’m a real reading kind of enthusiast. And when I get interested in a topic, I tend to kind of do a deep dive and read all that I can about a specific thing. And I just find that not everyone is as interested in these things as I am.

And we’ll talk about one today, but another kind of interest over the past year that I’ve had is I have a four-year-old daughter, and I love children’s books and children’s literature. And I’ve kind of got into wanting to read more about some of these authors. One of them was Margaret Wise Brown, who is the author of Goodnight Moon and Runaway Bunny and hundreds of other books.

There’s a biography about her. I don’t read a lot of straight biographies. I read a lot of memoirs. But this is a biography that’s called In the Great Green Room: The Brilliant and Bold Life of Margaret Wise Brown.

[00:09:57] This was a book that I just fell in love with this year, and I’ve told people about it, and people’s eyes have kind of glazed over it. This would not make a great… It’s so niche. But Anne, her life is fascinating and so juicy and so messy.

You maybe picture Margaret Wise Brown as kind of like a cozy grandma, like the bunny in the chair in Goodnight Moon. That is not her. She was a young, very vibrant, very kind of spicy young woman in New York City in the Greenwich Village in the 40s. So yeah, that’s kind of one of my interests.

I also read a lot about Mary Blair, who is a children’s book author and illustrator, and then worked with Walt Disney on many of his motion pictures. So those are kind of the difference of where I’ll go with my own reading after reading something wonderful and big like Trust or A Place for Us.

ANNE: Readers, if this book sounds familiar, we talked about it on two What Should I Read Next? episodes in 2022. Katrina Fleming came on with a request to find amazing biographies, and we talked about In the Great Green Room. That’s Episode 330. It’s called Fascinating Lives, Fascinating Stories.

I also recommended this book to Lucy Knisley. This was actually in late 2021 when she was on. That episode is called When you NEED a season of low-stress reading.

[00:11:18] Sarah, we haven’t talked about your reading taste yet, but Julia Fine has a book called The Upstairs House about a woman who is just exhausted physically and mentally after giving birth to her first child. She’s also supposed to be working on her dissertation on mid-century children’s literature and finds herself communing with the ghost of Margaret Wise Brown, who, at least to her way of perceiving things at the moment, has taken up residence in her attic. So if you want to continue that rabbit trail-

SARAH: I absolutely do. Yeah, yeah.

ANNE: It’s called The Upstairs House by Julia Fine.

SARAH: I’ve not heard of this, and I’m so delighted to hear that this exists.

ANNE: Well, see, this is the great thing about sharing your niche interests with other readers.

SARAH: There’s a new book that’s a biography of Judith Jones, and I think maybe a couple other people. I don’t have the title of it in front of me. But Judith Jones was this editor that you may have heard of in New York City who famously pulled two books off the slush pile. One was Julia Child’s Mastering the Art of French Cooking, and the other was The Diary of Anne Frank.

[00:12:26] ANNE: That’s why I know her name.

SARAH: Yes. And I, as someone who loves this type of thing, I love biographies of women who have done amazing things, especially in this kind of time period of the early 20th century, I was so excited, and I kind of brought this to my team, this book about Judith Jones. And they all looked at me like, who is Judith Jones? And I thought, “Oh, we don’t all know who Judith Jones is.”

And then from that reaction, we realized that probably if everyone in our room didn’t know who she was, probably the greater audience maybe also doesn’t know who she is. So it’s probably not going to work, but I would like to read the book on my own time.

And another interesting thing about this group of donors and library supporters is that they’re not always big readers. A lot of them are people who are really invested in their communities and in what the library does above and beyond books.

[00:13:18] So that’s another way that we’re able to kind of bring books and storytelling to them, kind of spark their interest. So it is helpful if there’s a little bit of something there that’s maybe not quite so niche to connect them with.

ANNE: That’s interesting. That’s a very good point. I’m glad you brought that up.

SARAH: When you kind of get into the world of libraries, especially urban libraries, you learn that there are so many things that libraries are doing besides books. Of course, your listeners and myself think of libraries primarily as books. But there are so many other programs and reaches and community outreach that we’re doing. So it’s a good way to tie it all together and bring books to the focus a little bit.

ANNE: Well, thanks for that peek into your workday. That sounds fascinating. And now, Sarah, I would love to hear more about one of your niche interests.

SARAH: Yes. So we’ll talk a little bit about this in the books I’m bringing today, but we are smack dab in the middle of my favorite season, which is winter. Here in New York City we had a snowfall, a very small snowfall, like an inch and a half maybe on Tuesday, but it broke a streak of 701 days in New York City without any accumulation of snow. So it was very exciting.

[00:14:28] The forecast says more snow on Friday. So I’m just giddy with all of this. So it’s all to say that I love winter. I love kind of immersing myself in this winter culture and always have. I’ve always loved this season. I’ve loved the memories of being in Nebraska and having a snow day and being able to play outside and, you know, cozying up and then coming inside for a glass of hot chocolate. Those kind of sentiments have always really resonated with me.

A few years ago, I think around maybe 2015, 2016, this concept of hygge, you know, was uncovered for me. This is not a new concept, but around that time, it was kind of a new word that was coming into our lexicon here in America. And I remember learning about hygge in, I think, a magazine article and just thinking, “Oh, there’s a word for this. There’s a word for this kind of love of the coziness and the, you know, the joyfulness in this season of winter.”

[00:15:28] I should say hygge is not only experienced in winter, but it is often associated with winter. Here in the city, it can be a bit divisive. I came into work on Tuesday when we had the snow and I saw a co-worker and she said, “Oh, how are you?” I said, “Oh, I’m so happy we got the snow.” And she looked at me like, “What? What are you talking about? This is horrible.”

My train was late and I had to come here and I have to remind myself, it’s not everyone’s thing. But, you know, when we get a beautiful snowfall and the city is coated, everything kind of softens and everything is kind of transformed into something else and it becomes silent, which is very rare and it becomes just transformed.

So reading and books is one way that I’ve really kind of delved into this interest specifically with books about hygge, about the Danish way of living. I should say it’s a Danish term, but it’s really kind of celebrated in Scandinavian countries: Sweden, Norway, and Denmark. It’s something that I’m just excited about.

[00:16:31] ANNE: Well, I’m excited to talk more about this and what it means for your reading life. Sarah, should we get into your books now?

SARAH: Sure.

ANNE: Sarah, you know how this works. You’re going to tell me three books you love, one book you don’t, and what you’ve been reading lately, and then we’ll talk about hygge, and with that in mind, what titles might be good for your reading list right now in the season or if you want to conjure that atmosphere all year long.

Sarah, how did you choose these?

SARAH: So I chose my three books… The first two are really these kind of hygge, wintry books that really represent how I love to read, especially right now. Will I pick up a wintry book in the summer? Yes, but more likely I will. I will kind of in especially January and February. So those are the first two I chose. And then the third book really represents more of kind of the writing style and the reading experience that I find really delightful.

[00:17:25] So the first book that I brought today is called The Year of Living Danishly: Uncovering the Secrets of the World’s Happiest Country by Helen Russell. This book, I believe, is from 2015. This was a book that was, I think, probably not a huge book at that time, but it was definitely circulating around that time.

But I recently picked it back up again and reread it. And this book really, besides being about all things hygge and kind of Scandinavian culture, it also represents a type of nonfiction book that I really enjoy, which is kind of deep diving into a topic.

Helen Russell is a British journalist who was living, I think, in London with her husband. They were newly married, and her husband got an offer to work for Lego in Denmark, in this very small town, I think, called Jutland. So they decide, Let’s do it. Let’s move to Denmark.

And being a journalist and kind of an investigative mind, Helen Russell kind of took this as a challenge to try to uncover what makes living in Denmark so great. It’s often reported, I don’t know where they get these statistics, but that the Danish people are some of the happiest in the world. So she kind of had a goal to go and uncover why.

[00:18:44] The book is written in kind of 12 sections every month that she’s living for this one year in Denmark. Spoiler, she still lives in Denmark. So it was a successful experiment. And she has a real kind of wit and humor, this kind of British sensibility. She’s kind of self-deprecating.

But other than just kind of observing the world around her and what’s going on, she’s talking to a lot of Danish people about winter and about how they survive it, how they live in these, I think it’s at least four months of almost complete darkness, and very cold.

And besides snow, there’s a lot of that kind of freezing rain. And she finds this all kind of horrifying until she realizes that embracing winter and embracing this concept of hygge, which I’m not sure if we even explained what hygge really is… I actually have a little card here by my desk that says it’s the Danish art of creating joy and coziness in life’s everyday moments, whatever the season or time of day.

[00:19:44] So it can happen in any season, but it’s really that feeling of creating warmth and contentment amid kind of like a peak hygge moment. It’s hard to describe because there’s not an English word that translates into what exactly this is.

ANNE: Right. Which I think is why when the concept first kind of dawned on the, at least, United States consciousness around the time this book was released, so many of us went like, Oh, yes, that’s how you articulate this feeling I have, the sense I had that I didn’t previously have a word for.

SARAH: And that’s exactly what happened to me, was that it gave me a language and kind of a validation for what I knew I already loved. So besides this wonderful book, The Year of Living Danishly, now, is this the best book ever written? Is this one of my favorite books of all time? Maybe not. But it really does represent that kind of moment in my reading life that really sparked something, that kind of set me off onto this journey of reading so many other books on the topic.

[00:20:40] There’s a very common book you’ll see in bookstores called The Little Book of Hygge by Meik Wiking. It’s a little cute coffee table book with lovely illustrations and it’s nice to look at and hold. But he describes kind of a perfect peak hygge moment is when if there’s a storm raging outside, but you’re indoors with your friends, and you’ve just maybe been out skiing or snowshoeing, but you’ve gotten warm, you have a cup of something hot, you’re surrounded by the fire, you’re telling stories, everyone is kind of laughing, there’s firelight and candles. And that’s the peak hygge.

And it’s made even more kind of wonderfully Hygge by that storm outside, by the contrast of the two things. So it’s been fun. I’ve really had a wonderful time bringing more of that. So not only having this validation of there being a word and a whole world of things that I can kind of connect with, but also bringing more of it into my life.

[00:21:38] ANNE: You mentioned in your submission that you’ve done a lot of deep diving into this concept and into Scandinavian and Nordic winter culture and that you’ve begun to practice some similar sorts of things in your own life.

SARAH: I will say that when we have people to our very small, you know, third-floor Brooklyn apartment, the first thing people often say is, “Oh, it’s so cozy in here.” And that’s very much on purpose. That is something that I have cultivated.

We have this old brick fireplace that I really wish worked. The landlord would never let us light a fire in it, it’s a hundred-plus-year-old building. But I bought a kind of… it’s kind of a hokey little fake wooden logs that has a glowing crackling fire behind it, and you plug it in and it makes the sound of a fire and it glows. And it does that thing where it makes you feel cozy.

You know, kind of collecting things that are of a very kind of high-quality design that are special, that feel special and making your home kind of this beautiful safe haven. Twinkle lights, candles, these are very easy things to bring into your life, but it makes such a huge difference than having an overhead light on, but switching that off and putting on twinkle lights and candles.

[00:22:50] In addition, you know, one of the best ways that I have learned to enjoy winter, and I think this is so obvious, but a lot of people, especially in New York, do not do it, is invest in really warm, practical winter clothing.

There’s a saying in Denmark and in kind of all Nordic countries that there’s no bad weather, just bad clothing. And that’s very true. If you go outside and you’re wearing, you know, rain boots and very thin, but fashionable gloves and a really cute wool coat, you’re going to be so cold and so miserable.

But if you’re able to put on actual snow boots, and I like big, wooly, fuzzy mittens that are not fashionable, and a warm hat and a nice, warm, you know, wind-protected coat, you can really have a glorious winter walk in the snow and in the elements, you know, be able to enjoy the beauty of it all and not just feel cold.

[00:23:44] ANNE: Oh, I’m laughing at this because after talking to Kim Hewlett, we did her super seasonal reading all year-long episode where we shared books for the whole calendar year. She moved to Iowa to a very cold town several years ago, and she said, like, “We moved to Iowa and everybody said, buy Cuddle Duds. And so I bought Cuddle Duds for my college students who are spending the winter in cold places for the first time this year and got some for myself as well.” And it’s a lot more pleasant to walk the dog when it’s four degrees, when you’re all layered up.

SARAH: Yes. And in saying that you love winter and loving the cold, does it mean that you love to be really cold? And do you like to enjoy it all despite it?

ANNE: It means you’re ready.

SARAH: Exactly. It’s a small, somewhat obvious, and yet sometimes not obvious thing.

ANNE: Well, Sarah, I totally hear what you’re saying, that maybe this isn’t the finest piece of literature you’ve ever read, and yet what a huge difference it made in your life.

[00:24:40] SARAH: Definitely. Definitely. I just learned that she has a new book coming out too, which is called… I think it’s called How to Raise a Viking that comes out next month, which I’m excited to read as a parent myself now. I was not a parent when I first read her book.

ANNE: That sounds great. I love that you chose that to start your favorites list. Sarah, tell me about another book you love.

SARAH: Kind of transitioning here to another very wintry book, but a very, very different in tone, my next book is called The Snow Child by Eowyn Ivey. The Snow Child was written in 2012. So this is another backlist novel. This was the book that I think has been on your podcast a few times, maybe not for a few years. But when I think about, again those kind of, the feelings that I’m looking to replicate in my reading life, The Snow Child was a wonderful reading experience for me.

So this is a novel about a husband and wife in the 1920s who are having a really hard time and they are unable to conceive a child. They’ve had a lot of loss in their life. And they kind of make this decision, not unlike Helen Russell, honestly, to uproot their lives and move to the frontier of Alaska, which is just a very, very brutal and hard landscape. But it’s almost like their names are Jack and Mabel.

[00:25:51] And it’s like they needed to feel something and to experience something that maybe felt like how they were feeling on the inside. They needed a change. They needed something new. So they moved to Alaska and they experienced the harshness of winter, of these very, very dark days, not unlike… they probably are in Denmark. And they also kind of start to come together.

And in one of these moments of seeing each other again as husband and wife and starting to kind of heal, they have this kind of silly moment in this beautiful snowfall where they build a small snow child out of snow. They put a little hat and a scarf on this little child, and it’s just a wonderful moment. Eowyn Ivey writes about that moment so beautifully.

And the next morning, they wake up and the snow child is either gone or the clothing are gone off of it. And they kind of think nothing of it. But they later kind of see these flashes of what looks like a young child running through the wilderness behind their home. And there’s a red fox with this little girl.

[00:26:54] And I felt like when I was reading this book, that I was really kind of holding my breath through this book. I did not know what was going to happen. It is not clear even really what is happening. Mabel and Jack kind of bring this child in very slowly into their lives. And this hope that they have for a child is kind of recognized in this child that they see in the wilderness. I think her name is Faina.

And Faina kind of brings them together. You follow this family for many years, actually. She grows up into a young woman. And as a reader, you’re not quite sure. Is this a child that grew up in the woods and has learned to adapt to the elements?

Faina loves the snow, which I love that about her. She loves the coldness. She’s adapted to it all. And as a reader, you’re thinking, is this someone who’s just grown up this way, and this is how she’s learned to survive? Or is there something else going on here? There’s a magical element to it.

[00:27:48] Eowyn Ivey wrote this book after finding an old Russian fairy tale that’s called The Snow Child. I’ve not read that fairy tale. Maybe I should. So this was kind of her imagining of the story and the landscape where she lives in Alaska.

What I love about the book is both this beautiful wintry setting, the harshness… It’s a hard, sad book, but Jack and Mabel ultimately are very good people who have hope and who have this sense of longing, and that longing is really fulfilled.

The ending was nothing like I thought it would be. And I loved that. You know, I don’t shy away from kind of heartbreaking, hard themes. But if a book doesn’t have some sort of like hope and goodness, I will struggle. I don’t like it to be too, too hard. But if the people in these situations are good, and there is hope, I really love a story like that. So this represents that type of book for me.

[00:28:40] I don’t read a lot of magical realism. This is kind of an outlier in that way, which is another reason I brought it because it was something maybe I’m looking for a little bit more of. I really enjoyed the reading experience of this one. The story’s really stuck with me over, gosh, a decade since I read it first.

ANNE: Yeah. I can see why that was such a good fit for you, especially coming in your hygge years.

SARAH: Yes. It was around the same time, I believe, that I read the Helen Russell book.

ANNE: Thank you for pointing out that’s an outlier on the magical realism, but something that you really enjoyed and would be open to more of. All right, Sarah, tell me about the third book you love.

SARAH: So the third book will pivot away from winter. So I can kind of bring a book that I’ve read more recently. It is even further backlist. This is a book from 1982. It is Family Happiness by Laurie Colwin. Have you read this book, Anne? Have you read Colwin?

ANNE: I’ve read all of Laurie Colwin’s food writing. Yes. And I’ve read Happy All the Time. And I thought about picking up A Big Storm Knocked It Over and or Family Happiness. And so I’ve really been eager to hear what you have to say about this.

[00:29:44] SARAH: Yes, well, I will start to say that I discovered Colwin and this is… you know, I mentioned briefly that I’ve also love art. Art is one of my interests and hobbies. These books were re-released within the past few years with all new covers and these beautiful illustrative designs that are actually done by the book designer herself, Olivia McGiff.

And you know, maybe I should, you know, be embarrassed by that’s why I finally picked these up after many people telling me over the years that I should read this, specifically my good friend Lauren from work.

ANNE: Somebody in marketing is thrilled.

SARAH: Exactly. But they’ve all been re-released and I’ve kind of been collecting them. But the reason that I bring this book here is because I think that this book really represents a type of reading that I’m really enjoying right now in my reading life. This is a very current interest.

This is written in 1982. It is not new. But the writing and the setting in New York feel so very real, so very like tactile New York. I think that it’s kind of hard for a writer to always get that exactly right. And Colwin does it so well.

[00:30:47] So this book is a story of a woman named Polly. She lives on Park Avenue in Upper East Side. She has a husband and two kids and she has this part-time job, it’s kind of philanthropic. And you learn about her kind of eccentric mother and father, her very eccentric brother and his wife.

Colwin writes the side characters and kind of these different people in her books so well. They are so unique. I’ve never read these characters before. They are so funny and I love that about her.

So we meet Polly and she’s in this wonderful life and she… you know, while she kind of sees the quirks in her family, she still loves them. And then we learned that Polly is almost living a double life. She has a… what word can I use other than lover? She has a lover in lower Manhattan in SoHo, who she’s just kind of fallen in love with this artist.

[00:31:41] This is not a topic that I would really be interested in. In fact, I wasn’t even sure that that was what this book was about when I picked it up, but kind of loving the character and getting to know her and her world. And then this is introduced… The stakes felt so high.

As a reader, I think Colwin really pulls off this moral ambiguity of, oh, but I want Polly to be happy. But oh, what is she doing? And that kind of pull and tug throughout the book was so propulsive.

A lot of Colwin’s writing, like Happy All the Time, has maybe less of a plot. And I will happily read a book that doesn’t have much of a plot if I love the characters and the setting and the world and the writing doesn’t bother me at all.

This one does have that kind of like, what is going to happen factor, again, kind of like The Snow Child. I had no idea what was going to happen. The ending was completely surprising, and I loved it. But I just think, again, the way that she writes these characters is unlike anything I’ve ever read. And again, so specific to New York.

[00:32:42] There’s a couple other instances in my reading life where I’ve had this experience. One that comes to mind is my friend, Tana, who I grew up with, who lived in New York. And she called me one day and she said, “Have you read Willa Cather’s One of Ours?” I’m from Nebraska, we’ve all read Willa Cather. We love Willa Cather. But One of Ours is one of her later novels. And she said, I know these people. The characters, I know them.

This was written like maybe the 20s, but they are Nebraskans through and through, like I’ve never heard on a page before. And it’s absolutely true. And I think J. Ryan Stradal does this really well about Minnesotans. I actually went to college in Minnesota. So reading that book, I just was so struck with how specific his characters were to the place. And I think Colwin does that so well about New York.

Another author that if I can be so bold to bring into the conversation is Katherine Heiny. She wrote a book a couple years ago called Early Morning Riser that took place in Michigan. But in her backlist, there’s a book called Standard Deviation.

[00:33:44] Heiny wrote one of the introductions to these new releases of the Colwin book. So I know that she’s very inspired by her. But her books do remind me, she’s a contemporary writer, but they remind me of the characters in a Laurie Colwin novel that, again, are so funny and specific. You’ve never read anything like them before.

So I really loved that one as well, Standard Deviation. Not a lot happens. You’re kind of following these bumbling characters through this kind of silly circumstance. But these are books in my reading life that I’m finding a lot of joy in right now.

ANNE: Those sound amazing. I think that’s really interesting that you mentioned J. Ryan Stradal, because I was thinking that Kitchens of the Great Midwest almost has that hygge vibe, but not in a part of the country you’re looking for books for, and not solely winter.

SARAH: I do love that book, though. That’s one of my favorite books, Kitchens of the Great Midwest.

ANNE: That’s so interesting. I’m glad to hear that. Katherine Heiny does sound like a perfect fit for you. I didn’t know that about the college in Minnesota. Also, I think that’s so interesting without me asking, you named my quibble with Happy All the Time.

[00:34:45] I’ve always loved Laurie Colwin. I love her approach. She feels modern and old-fashioned at the same time. And sometimes that’s just a really comforting place to go on the page. So I’m going to tuck those away for maybe an actual rainy day.

SARAH: Definitely. There’s still some of her books I haven’t read yet, so I have more to explore.

ANNE: It’s nice to have more to look forward to. Sarah, tell me about a book that was not a good fit for you.

SARAH: The book that I brought that’s not a good fit for me is a book that I think a lot of people maybe think I would like, and in fact, it was recommended to me many times. The book is Pineapple Street by Jenny Jackson. This is a newer release. This came out, I think, last year. And having just heard me kind of go on about Laurie Colwin and how much I love her and her world, again, this is something you think I would like.

This book, Pineapple Street, is the story of a family and kind of the members of this family and the kind of outer circle of this family who kind of centered around this one house in Brooklyn Heights. And Brooklyn Heights is a neighborhood I’m very familiar with. I live not too far from there. I spend a lot of time there.

[00:35:52] This book does a lot of name-dropping real places that you could walk into right now, today. I could go to Brooklyn Heights and be absolutely in Jenny Jackson’s world. The thing about this book that just did not work for me, I think, was her tone.

Ultimately, what this book is about is about money, and it’s about this balance of greed and philanthropy. I wasn’t sure if Jenny Jackson really liked her characters or if she wanted us to like them. I wasn’t really sure that she liked Brooklyn or Brooklyn Heights or if she wanted us to like them. So the tone just felt kind of confusing to me.

I do think that after reading it, reading a little bit more about it, I do think that this book is kind of a satirical look at the people in this kind of high society world of old money in Brooklyn. But it just didn’t land for me because of those reasons.

Like I said, I need to kind of see the hope and humor in the characters. And I didn’t really find anyone I was really grabbing on to that. I just felt like we were trudging through this together of these horrible people making bad decisions. And it didn’t have that sparkle that I like to read in a book.

[00:37:06] ANNE: Ooh, sparkle. That’s a great word. Well, I thought this book was a lot of fun myself. So just highlighting that people who both love to read and who even love similar books can feel very differently about specific titles. But I’m really glad that you’re highlighting that this seemed like a book that would work for you to a lot of people. A lot of people who knew you and knew your interests thought, oh, this is New York. This is Brooklyn. This is neighborhoods. This is relationships. People just thought this would be great for you. But that tone is so important.

And so as we’re looking for books set in the winter or books set in New York City, which were the two categories that you thought you were really interested in, books that have that strong sense of hygge… I think the hygge means you’re going to get a book with warmth and tenderness and hospitable air.

But yeah, Laurie Colwin is… well, tell me if you think it’s fair to say that Laurie Colwin has a softness to her writing. And I think Pineapple Street is really sharp. It’s shrewd. It’s dishy. It’s maybe gently satirical.


[00:38:11] ANNE: Yeah. It’s about how money brings out the worst in people.

SARAH: It feels a little mean. Well, Colwin… You’re kind of laughing along with her, some of her characters, but there’s ultimately this kind of graciousness and love underneath it all. So it’s maybe just a slight difference between the two, but an important one for really where my reading interests lie.

ANNE: Yeah, I think so. Tone is huge and we’re definitely going to keep that in mind for you. Sarah, what have you been reading lately?

SARAH: I thought I would maybe talk about a couple books in the past year that have had this kind of wintry tone.

ANNE: Yes, please.

SARAH: A couple that stick out, Winterland by Rae Meadows. Again, Winterland. I loved this book. It’s a historical fiction novel about gymnasts in Soviet Russia in the 1970s. And that’s also kind of a niche interest of mine when I was… you know, I loved watching the Olympic gymnastics as a kid and [inaudible 00:39:08], I watched her movie. So this book was something I immediately picked up.

[00:39:12] And this book, I will say, this is a very… I think it takes place in Siberia, most of it. This is a cold, harsh winter. It is not a lot of hygge, Anne, but I still loved it. I loved being in the wintry setting. I loved immersing myself in this harsh Russian culture. And maybe it’s because the characters did feel so real and kind of had this like hope in this dream that I was able to hold on to, but I really liked that one.

Another one that I have to mention is Marisa de los Santos’ most recent Watch Us Shine. I love Marisa de los Santos. These kind of four books in the series, this is the fourth. Her books are so precious to me. And I love this character, Cornelia. I know that her books come up often on your podcast.

ANNE: I love her.

SARAH: I do too.

ANNE: And I think a lot of readers really resonate with that, like complex stories that don’t shy away from the hard things in life and yet do have that underlying thread of hope and goodness and warmth.

[00:40:12] SARAH: And this one in particular, it was a very good representation of that, where this book has some really hard things in it and things that I thought, oh, I don’t want these characters to be, you know, kind of going through this. And yet it’s novel and they’re supposed to be going through these things.

And ultimately the kind of final scenes of this book take place, I think in Northern Minnesota under Northern Lights. The Northern Lights are a theme throughout this book. And-

ANNE: I love.

SARAH: I love this idea of the Northern Lights. It had the most kind of wonderfully hygge ending you could ever imagine for a book. I thought, Oh, she wrote this for me.

ANNE: That sounds perfect for you.

SARAH: I loved that one. In December, I reread, I think for the third time, Elin Hilderbrand’s Winter Street Series. I do love Elin Hilderbrand. Winter Street Series is not her best. Those are not her best books, not her best writing. Her best book, I think, is 28 Summers, if I could plug that. Very not wintry book. But I love returning to this family in Nantucket during the winter and I love being with them and being in their world. So that was kind of a fun reread for me.

[00:41:14] ANNE: Do you want to share anything else that you’ve been reading lately?

SARAH: Well, I’ll tell you, Anne, I just finished… actually, I’m not quite finished with The Rachel Incident, which I heard you recommend, one of the best books of the year. And I listened on audio, as you suggested, and I absolutely loved it. Like, I think I have 30 minutes left on it, which I need to take a walk today and finish it.

ANNE: It’s a great ending.

SARAH: It’s so good. And again, this is one of these books that… again, I’m not really sure what’s happening or where it’s going, but I want to be with these characters. I’m with them. I’m with them no matter what’s happening. And that was a really fun reading experience.

ANNE: You know, I think that book actually kicked off what has been an inadvertent theme in my reading this winter, and that is, the lies we tell to protect the people we love. Maybe that should be an episode. Who wants to hear those? I got them. I got them.

SARAH: I do. I would like to hear that episode.

ANNE: Okay, we’ll talk.

SARAH: And, you know, to be in Ireland and… it was fun and hard and strange and really, really good.

[00:42:16] ANNE: Sarah, between your favorites and what you’ve been reading lately, I feel like I have such a great picture of what you enjoy and what you’re looking for. But you tell me, what are you looking for in your reading life right now?

SARAH: You know, I wish I had a really creative answer to this that was going to solve some sort of problem. But, you know, Anne, what I really want is just more of what I love. As we talked about, I read a lot outside of kind of these genres we’ve been talking about for my work life. And that’s so helpful in the kind of cadence of my reading life throughout the year, that in the moments where I’m picking books for myself, I really want more of what I love.

I would love to walk away with a stack of some of these wintry feeling books, you know, anything that’s kind of set in Scandinavian countries, in these kind of wintry settings, and maybe some backlist gems. I talked about Laurie Colwin. Another author that I’ve really kind of fallen in love with over the past couple years is Rosamunde Pilcher.

ANNE: Yeah, because she’s perfect for you.

[00:43:11] SARAH: Oh, she is. She is. She’s wonderful. And something backlist and rich that I can kind of sink my teeth into, maybe a few books that I can explore by the same author. So nothing too creative outside what I’ve talked about, but that’s what I’m looking for.

ANNE: That sounds great. And I’m keeping in mind that you said novels that have that strong New York City sense of place. How did you describe it? I think when you were talking about Laurie Colwin, you said that she really does a tactile New York where you just feel like you’re there. I have that in mind too.

SARAH: Yes, definitely. And it’s kind of hard to pull off, but I’m interested in your thoughts.

ANNE: It’s funny, you don’t realize how hard it is for an author to get right until you read ones that aren’t quite what you want.

SARAH: Yeah. I read a book recently that was set in New York, and I read about 20 pages, and I thought, “Oh, this writer is not from New York City.” And she was not. I looked it up. She was from the South somewhere. And I thought, She has been to New York, but she has not lived in New York. She does not understand the nuance.

[00:44:18] ANNE: Sarah, I have so many ideas for you. Some of them are so completely up your alley. It will not surprise me a bit to hear, like, yes, Anne, that was perfect for me. I’ve already read it three times, and that’s fine. But I want to give you some options to choose from.

We do have some authors who’ve written tons of books and some authors who’ve written fewer, and we’re going to start with the latter. Tell me you’ve read A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith.

SARAH: Oh, yes. Yes. I love dear Francie.

ANNE: Good fit for you?

SARAH: Yes, absolutely. I haven’t read it in many years. I think it was maybe before I even lived in New York that I read it, but love, love, love that book. Great suggestion.

ANNE: Okay. Next, we’re going to go with a series. Now, you mentioned that you’re reading some children’s literature with your daughter. She’s not quite old enough for these, but she will be before too long. This is Karina Yan Glaser’s series, The Vanderbeekers of 141st Street. Do you know these?

SARAH: I’ve heard of them. I’ve not read them.

[00:45:13] ANNE: As a reader and a parent, I think these are great to have on your radar. I’ve seen so many readers who are reading these middle-grade books because they love them. Readers of all ages. No other interest. I think my peers enjoyed these more than my kids when they were first coming out.

But this is the story of a family who lives in Harlem on, you may guess, 141st Street. The first book of the series is set in the winter. It begins just a few days before Christmas when the five kids find out their landlord is not going to renew the lease on their Harlem brownstone. They spring into action to try to engineer a plan for them to be able to stay in the family.

Their landlord is a real Grinch. We find out that he has a really heart-wrenching backstory. It ends up becoming a story of just sweetness and love after loss and found family. It’s just heartwarming. Lots of readers love the series because they feature lots of diverse characters, a strong sense of place. You’ve got that Harlem neighborhood setting.

[00:46:15] I wanted to Google all the places, although the places are not as real as they were in, say, Jenny Jackson’s Pineapple Street. But still, you can map their route on maps or in your mind if you know the streets really well as they visit the bakery and they go to school and they visit their neighbors and all that.

And I think something you’ll like about this is… Actually, you know what? Karina Yan Glaser could give you a reading list. She said she grew up in Pasadena, but she grew up loving to read books about big families, especially when those families lived in New York City. She thought, “Oh my gosh, like I can’t get enough of this. And also that is the kind of life I want.”

So after high school, she went to New York for college and she never left. And she’s a New Yorker by choice, not by birth, but loves the city and just really enjoys portraying it on the page. And I think you’re going to feel that love coming off of it.

[00:47:09] The last book in this series was just published. It was book seven. Now the series is complete. That was called The Vanderbeekers Ever After, and it just came out in September. Wow. I mean, I’m grinning ear to ear to hear that. I can kind of picture the cover, but I didn’t know much about these.

And everything you just said about being a New Yorker by choice and wanting that life and that lifestyle with the bakeries and, you know, the walkability is right up my alley. So I’m so excited. There’s seven books.

ANNE: I’m happy to hear it. Okay, we’ve got a standalone. Have you read I Capture the Castle by Dodie Smith?

SARAH: I have not. I have it on my bookshelf of a beautiful copy. So tell me everything. I don’t even know why I picked it up.

ANNE: This is why it’s on your bookshelf. It’s narrated by a 17-year-old girl. Her name is Cassandra and she is whimsical and imaginative and funny, sometimes on purpose, but often accidentally. And the conceit of this novel is she is keeping a diary that has become a novel. It’s a little weird, but it works.

[00:48:09] But her family is very eccentric and she’s just documenting their daily life, which transpires in a gorgeous, but falling apart, old English castle, which is often damp and gloomy. So you have to keep your kettle on and pour your tea and light your candles and put on a sweater to get that sense of coziness.

This book is a mood. It’s charming. It’s unpredictable. There’s a love story. There’s writers dealing with writer’s block. There’s some bear costumes in one part. It’s funny. It’s poignant. I think it’s got that sense of hope and warmth and whimsy and tea and a castle that is going to make that a good fit for you.

SARAH: All of those words. Oh, that sounds fantastic. I have it right here with beautiful yellow copy that I picked up at a bookstore and it’s been sitting there waiting for you to nudge it into my hand. So how exciting.

[00:49:09] ANNE: Wonderful. I’m glad to hear it. To move to a more contemporary author, have you read anything by Elinor Lipman?

SARAH: I don’t think so.

ANNE: She could keep you busy for a while. The two I really have in mind for you are The View from Penthouse B that came out about 10 years ago. And it mostly takes place in an apartment in Greenwich Village where there are two sisters who are newly single for different reasons. One is just widowed, one is recently divorced and they become roommates.

Their third roommate is a really handsome queer cupcake baker and so they live together and shenanigans ensue in the apartment. They spend a lot of time cozy at home talking about their days, entertaining friends, scheming about how they’re going to get out there and meet people because that’s what they’re doing. They’re trying to return to the dating world at this new phase of life and they’re going out all over lower Manhattan seeing what’s happening.

[00:50:06] I love how one review described Elinor Lipman by saying, you know, she’s evocative of Jane Austen and Entertainment Weekly. And that could be just like a really fun vibe.

I also like The Family Man. It’s set on the Upper West Side if that’s the neighborhood you want to go to. This is about an older lawyer, also queer, who after his ex-wife’s husband dies, longtime husband dies, he reconnects with his long-lost stepdaughter. She’s 24 at this point. One of his biggest regrets was allowing his ex-wife’s new husband to adopt this daughter. He really hasn’t been in their lives at all. And suddenly, as the title says, he’s a family man again.

So something I think you’ll like about this aside from the sense of whimsy and… there’s just lots of points of intimate connection in her novels. Like families and friends talking over food is like a pervasive thing in her books. But it’s also got a sense of warmth and whimsy.

[00:51:05] She often has plots that are just a little bit screwball. They’re gentle. People behave badly, but they generally seem to be kind-hearted. It feels a little bit Nora Ephron. She’s written a lot of books. So if you like those, I think those are excellent entry points. She could keep you busy for a long time. And while not all her novels are set in New York City, many of them are set there.

SARAH: Wow. I feel like you nailed it. I’ve never read a book by Elinor Lipman, but it sounds right up my alley. So I’m not sure how they’ve escaped me. This is so exciting.

ANNE: Okay, I want to go back in time. Also talking about the cupcake baker somehow made me think, now I would not describe this as hygge, but Steven Rowley’s The Guncle is also pleasingly domestic, on the other coast.

And then to go back in time, talking about classics you’ve missed, The Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Grahame is a lot of fun for adults if you’ve missed it. There’s some great audio versions.

But this is a story of friendship. You have four stubbornly loyal friends. There’s Mole and Ratty, Toad, Badger. What I like about this book, though, is the animals are just adorable, and many versions are illustrated and just really sweet and fun to look at.

[00:52:14] There’s lots of madcap adventures. Many things are just a little bit zany. But also there are so many scenes just set in snug cottages over cups of tea where everybody’s just like talking it out and getting warm or taking refuge from the summer heat. It’s got a vibe that I think you would enjoy.

SARAH: You picked another one that I have a gorgeous copy that was my husband’s when he was very young in our house, and I’ve never read it. I flipped through with the beautiful illustrations before, and I can picture these little cozy spaces. How exciting. Do you think that my four-year-old would be ready for these now?

ANNE: Oh, gosh. I have no idea, but there’s no harm in trying.

SARAH: Okay. Fun.

ANNE: Can we keep going?

SARAH: Yes. Yes.

ANNE: Okay. Do you know Cheryl Mendelson’s work?


ANNE: She’s probably best known for Home Comforts about keeping a house, and she has a shorter book about laundry. But she’s also a novelist.

[00:53:10] In the early 2000s, she wrote a series of books beginning with Morningside Heights set in the neighborhood of the same name. You know, I forgot about this until you were describing your experience of reading those Laurie Colwin novels. And I think they have a very similar sensibility.

SARAH: Sounds fantastic. I’m not familiar with her at all.

ANNE: Look her up. There’s a newer novel called Morningside Heights by Joshua somebody, I think, that just came out in the past couple of years. Not that one. That’s a good book. It’s a different book. I don’t think it’s what you’re looking for.

The one you want is by Cheryl Mendelson. And these, I don’t think, are well-known or widely read. I found them because I loved Home Comforts, that was recommended by a friend. That one is a real cult classic. But then I started seeing what else she was up to, and that’s how I found the series and I read the whole trilogy.

I think you were the right reader for this set of books that portrays a family and core circle of their friends who all have… They’re psychiatrists, and opera singers, and accomplished pianists, and professors, and writers.

[00:54:16] SARAH: And New Yorkers.

ANNE: Right. This is the circle that they are moving in. But at the same time, in This Place in Time, I think it’s set in 1999, their neighborhood is gentrifying and lots of people are being priced out. And they’re trying to figure out, what does that mean for their work, for their relationships, for their friend groups. Will they have to move to the suburbs? That’s a big question in some of these novels.

But they’re gentle, even as the characters do hard things. And they’re also just very concretely set in these Manhattan neighborhoods.

SARAH: Sounds fantastic. Yes. And Morningside Heights is somewhere where I don’t often go. So it’d be fun to read them and then take a visit.

ANNE: I love that. Okay. I have to tell you about two more. The Monk and Robot Series by Becky Chambers is very cozy, very hygge, off your beaten path. Those books are very short. They’re novellas. So if you wanted to try something new, I wouldn’t say this is exactly in the vein of The Snow Child, but it’s more like The Snow Child than much of what you are typically drawn to. This would be an easy and very warm way to experiment.

[00:55:23] And finally, I need to make sure you know Amy Poeppel. Is she an author you’ve read?

SARAH: Yes. I love Amy Poeppel. Yes. She had a new one, The Sweet Spot.

ANNE: Which is going to be the one that I would tell you to start with.

SARAH: Okay. I’ve not read that one. I’ve read the one Musical Chairs.

ANNE: Yes.

SARAH: I loved Musical Chairs.

ANNE: Which is so much fun. The Sweet Spot is grounded even more thoroughly in New York City. Most of the action takes place in a Greenwich Village brownstone. The sweet spot of the title is the neighborhood dive bar that’s just a few blocks off Washington Square Park. It’s all Google-able. You can just Google and map your way through the book.

One of the characters is a potter who has her studio in Brooklyn. I do not remember the neighborhood, but it would be obvious to you if it wasn’t named where exactly it’s supposed to be taking place. Her books are delightfully chaotic. She brings unlikely characters together.

[00:56:15] She always writes just big-hearted fiction that has a strong multi-generational element that a lot of readers really appreciate. She’s really one for nailing her endings too.

SARAH: Sounds fantastic.

ANNE: Sarah, that is a lot of books. So of some of the books we just talked about, The Vanderbeekers of 141st Street and that series, I captured The Castle by Dodie Smith, the novels of Elinor Lipman, The Wind in the Willows, Amy Poeppel, Monk and Robot, Morningside Heights. Of those titles, what do you think you might pick up next?

SARAH: This is an embarrassment of riches. This is so exciting, Anne. Out of all of these, I think I’m most excited about Elinor Lipman, the way that you kind of described her, and I’m just so unfamiliar. I’m excited to pick those up. And I Capture The Castle. That might be really nice for right now in this season. But I think I’m going to read all of them. So thank you so, so very much.

ANNE: I love it. And it’s my pleasure. Sarah, I enjoyed this so much. Thanks for talking all things hygge and all things books and reading with me today.

[00:57:15] SARAH: Thank you. Thank you. I really appreciate it.

ANNE: Hey, readers, I hope you enjoyed my discussion with Sarah, and we would love to hear what you think she should read next. Find Sarah on Instagram. We have that link to her account, plus the full list of all the books we talked about today at whatshouldireadnextpodcast.com.

Never miss an episode when you follow us on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Overcast, wherever you get your podcasts. Another great way to stay connected to our show is by signing up for our emails. It only takes a moment, and make sure that we will be in your inbox with news. Sign up at whatshouldireadnextpodcast.com/newsletter.

You can connect with us on Instagram @whatshouldireadnext, and I’d love to invite you to follow my personal account. I’m @Annebogel.

Thanks again to the people who make this show happen. What Should I Read Next? is created each week by Will Bogel, Holly Wielkoszewski, and Studio D Podcast Production. Readers, that’s it for this episode. Thanks so much for listening. And as Rainer Maria Rilke said, “Ah, how good it is to be among people who are reading.” Happy reading, everyone.

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Books mentioned in this episode:

Trust by Hernan Diaz 
Stay True by Hua Hsu
• Xochitl Gonzalez (try Olga Dies Dreaming)
• Rumaan Alam (try Leave the World Behind)
• Min Jin Lee (try Pachinko)
• Sigrid Nunez (try The Vulnerables)
• Colom McCann (try Transatlantic)
The Prophets by Robert Jones Jr
• Fatima Farheen Mirza (try A Place for Us)
• Ann Napolitano (try Hello Beautiful)
Goodnight Moon by Margaret Wise Brown
In the Great Green Room by Amy Gary
The Upstairs House by Julia Fine
The Editor: How Publishing Legend Judith Jones Shaped Culture in America by Sara B. Franklin 
❤ The Year of Living Danishly: My Twelve Months Unearthing the Secrets of the World’s Happiest Country by Helen Russell
The Little Book of Hygge by Meik Wiking
❤ The Snow Child by Eowyn Ivey
❤ Family Happiness by Laurie Colwin
One of Ours by Willa Cather
Kitchens of the Great Midwest by J. Ryan Stradal 
Early Morning Riser by Katherine Heiny 
Standard Deviation by Katherine Heiny 
Happy All the Time by Laurie Colwin
Pineapple Street by Jenny Jackson
Winterland by Rae Meadows
Watch Us Shine by Marisa De Los Santos
• Winter Street series by Elin Hilderbrand (#1: Winter Street)
28 Summers by Elin Hilderbrand 
The Rachel Incident by Caroline O’Donoghue (Audio edition)
• Rosamunde Pilcher (try Winter Solstice)
A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith
• The Vanderbeekers of 141st Street series by Karina Yan Glaser (#1: The Vanderbeekers of 141st Street)
I Capture the Castle by Dodie Smith
The View from Penthouse B by Elinor Lipman 
The Family Man by Elinor Lipman
The Guncle by Steven Rowley 
The Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Grahame
• Morningside Heights series by Cheryl Mendelson  (#1: Morningside Heights)
Home Comforts: The Art and Science of Keeping House by Cheryl Mendelson
• Monk and Robot series by Becky Chambers (#1: A Psalm for the Wild-Built)
The Sweet Spot by Amy Poeppel
Musical Chairs by Amy Poeppel

Also mentioned:

• WSIRN Episode 330: Fascinating lives, fascinating stories
• WSIRN Episode 270: When you NEED a season of low-stress reading
• WSIRN Episode 411: Super-seasonal reading, all year long

The post Hygge books for cozy winter reading appeared first on Modern Mrs Darcy.

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