Book of the Week, non-fiction

Book of the Week: The Year of Living Danishly

This week’s BotW is a rare non-fiction pick – and has been a big hit in our house. I picked it out a couple of months ago and gave it to The Boy to read last weekend when he’d done too much Janet Evanovich in a row.  He laughed so hard at it and enjoyed it so much that I promoted it to the top of my to-read pile and read it too.  And it is just joyous.

The Year of Living Danishly is the story of author Helen Russell and her husband Legoman who move to Jutland in Denmark after he gets a job with the Danish toy giants.  As the country is reputed to be one of the happiest in the world, she sets out to find out whether the hype is true – and whether living a bit more Danishly can help everyone.  Ms Russell does have some reservations about the Danes – they seem to have a bit of a herd mentality and some of their habits are a bit … odd – so this is quite a balanced look at the pros and cons of Danish life as she experienced it.

I absolutely fell in love with this book.  It’s witty and engaging and an absolutely fascinating insight into a country that I knew very little about.  I finished the book thinking that Denmark wouldn’t be a bad place to relocate too – even if the winters are dark and glacial.  The Boy has an auntie and uncle in Denmark – so he had some personal experience of a few of the experiences detailed in the book – he can confirm that Danish kindergarten is fabulous and laid back – he just joined in with a class of them in the park some time in the early 80s and the teachers didn’t even bat an eyelid.

Even if you’re not a big non-fiction reader, this is well worth a look. It’s not dry or academic, it’s warm and enthralling and will leave you wondering what pickled herring tastes like (but maybe not enough to try it).  Meanwhile, The Boy and I are thinking about making a trip to see his relatives in Copenhagen soon!

Get your copy from Amazon, Waterstones, Foyles, Kindle and Kobo – so go forth and live more Danishly.

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