Hey! I’m back from holiday
a week ago.
Though I know the month is now at its end, according to the fashion magazines I read while I was away (the one and only time of year I ever read a fashion magazine) September is the new January, so I arrived home feeling all inspired to make over my life. This was helped by the fact that in addition to the magazine, I also almost always buy some sort of self help guide while I’m on holiday, in the hope the feelings of relaxation and excitement that come from being in a new place, going for fun days out with people I like tends to produce in me might somehow be transferrable to my life every day.
If it hasn’t happened yet, I figure it’s because I haven’t read the right book.
(Or because I never really work to implement the advice within any of the books because taking practical steps to actually fundamentally change yourself is very difficult, and I keep hoping that with age and change of situation I’ll just transform into the person I wish I was without really trying, and remain more disappointed than I have a right to be when every change that occurs in my life doesn’t seem to instigate a similar one in myself. Also, therapy is expensive.)
Today I thought I’d list three ‘post-holiday inspo reads’ that I enjoyed the most.
The Book of Hygge: The Danish Art of Living Well by Louisa Thomsen Brits
Through various lifestyle articles and the Happy documentary, I have come to the realisation that the Danes are doing life better than the rest of us. Since Denmark is consistently rated as one of the happiest countries in the world it seems the Danes have cracked the code to the good life most of us find so elusive.
I’ve learned from this book that the secret has a name: hygge (pronounced hue-gah) a word with a broad definition that Thomsen Brits has broken down into six concepts: belonging, shelter, comfort, wellbeing, simplicity and observance.
I haven’t finished reading this one yet, but since starting I have begun to burn scented candles more regularly and get back the enthusiasm for cooking I recently lost to busyness and the overwhelming desire to watch countless episodes of Bojack Horseman.
How to be a Parisian Wherever You Are by Sophie Mas, Audrey Diwan, Caroline de Maigret and Anne Berest,
We are all deeply concerned about the potential effects of Brexit on the lifestyle book sector. Though, as with most potential effects of Brexit, the majority of us have no idea what they are.
This is probably my most regularly thumbed lifestyle tome. It sits next to my bed under my collection of American Poetry and The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, which I have never got around to finishing.
This book is an absolutely delightful guide on how to live the life of no fucks given – with style. It’s a book encouraging women to be demanding, contradictory messes with great shoes.
Yeah, it’s not self-help as such, but it’s a good reminder not to take everything so seriously.
How to be Bored by Eva Hoffman
I consume media obsessively. If I’m not watching Netflix, I’m reading and if I’m not doing that then I’m listening to a podcast (have you heard I Only Listen to The Mountain Goats yet??). When I stand in line, or I’m waiting for a friend, or I’m forced to watch a particularly long Youtube ad, I get my phone out and check Twitter or Instagram. Sometimes when I’m watching a show and I don’t know how I feel about it, I get out my phone and read think pieces about how other people feel about it while I’m still watching it.
After a while, this behaviour results in a kind of emotional numbness.
To an extent this was the aim. I use avoidance as a coping mechanism (don’t we all?). Even as I’ve grown up and it’s stopped for working me – in the literal sense that there are certain things that can no longer be avoided, and in the sense that I can see it having a negative impact on my relationships – I’ve clung to that coping mechanism like a dirty, ill-fitting comfort blanket.
So I’m trying not to do that anymore. Hoffman’s ruminations on boredom, presence and the 21st century problem of over stimulation provide some good tools for moving through life in a way that allows you to actually experience it – like Domhnall Gleeson does at the end of About Time.
And aren’t we all aiming to lead a life as good as Rachel McAdams’ outfits in that movie?
Do you have any quick inspo-reads you return to a lot? What are they and why? Do you understand Brexit? I sure don’t!