All posts filed under: Books

Review: The Year of Living Danishly

Helen Russell, former Marie Claire editor, is┬ánot exactly jumping up and down with excitement when her husband is offered a job at Lego in rural Denmark. As a Londoner she is used to the busy and eventful city life and Denmark has never been on her list of places to live. Discovering that Denmark has been ranked the happiest country in the world 40 years in a row, suddenly she sees a chance to report on a very popular life style topic – happiness – and maybe even find more of it in her own life. So she ventures out on “the happiness project” for one year in Southern Jutland, Denmark, together with her husband and dog. Of all times they arrive in the beginning of January while the country is dark from 4 pm-9 am and everyone stay inside because of the snow, cold and darkness. It is a year full of challenges and Helen is not immediately met by happiness. But she soon falls in love with Danish pastry (in the beginning she …

Review: The Danish Way of Parenting

  When American mom and columnist, Jessica Alexander, visited Denmark she noticed how Danish children were much more calm and hardly ever threw tantrums. Their parents talked to them in a calm way without yelling. There seemed to be an unspoken Danish way of parenting and together with psychotherapist and family counselor, Iben Sandahl, she set out to investigate how the Danes raised happy and balanced kids. Based on more than thirteen years of experience, research, supporting studies and facts this resulted in a book about how the happiest people in the world raise their children. The Danish Way of Parenting is my new parenting bible. As a Dane raising my children abroad I am eager to bring this parenting style with me and raise happy little Danes. To me the book is very useful and keeps me straight when I doubt my instincts surrounded by different cultural practices. But the book might be even more useful to non-Danes who wishes more calm, independent, creative children who do not constantly need entertainment and praise. In …

How Unhappy Stories Make Us Happy

  Generally speaking Danish novels and movies tend to be on the not so happy side. Complicated relationships, unhappy endings and as I wrote in my last post, dark crime stories seem to dominate the Danish world of fiction. It seems like a mystery in itself why the happiest people in the World produce such dark dramas?! Why do so many scary, if not depressing, stories come from this country and how does that go along with being such a happy country? You wouldn’t really think that anyone is happy in Denmark based on those crime stories and movies about unhappy families. Or, are these dark stories part of the reason why Danes are happy/content? Reading about someone who is doing worse than ourself in life might actually make us feel better about ourselves. It puts our life into perspective and can make us appreciate what we have and feel thankful that at least we don’t have as big problems as the people in the story.     The authors of “The Danish Way of …