The Year of Living Danishly by Helen Russell

I absolutely LOVED this book. I picked it up thinking it would be corny and boring - the same feeling you get when you read a history book you're really not that into. But this one, I 100% recommend it to everyone. Even if you never intend on visiting Denmark, read it. It's easy to read, there is never any rambling or unwanted information, and the chapters are so brilliantly set out.

Each chapter is essentially a summary of the month, except instead of writing things like "on this day we did this and this happened", Helen Russell writes it as it it's really happening right then and there in complete detail with conversations included. She also adds in the names and qualifications of all the people she spoke with to get opinions or background on what ever the strange and crazy Danish tradition is going on at the time.

At the end of each chapter there is a short list of anywhere between 2 to 7 dot points of things that were learnt that month. And at the end of the book there is a detailed list of 10 things you can learn and apply to your life in your own country that would supposedly improve your level of happiness. The list at the end I didn't really read much of as it just reinstates everything from the book, but the dot point lists at the end of the chapters are absolutely brilliant. They're humorous and provide a good reminder of what you've just read as you go on to the next month. I love the layout - more books need to be like this.

A few of my favourite dot points are;

  1. You can dry hump in water (don't ask, read chapter 3 for more detail).
  2. Cows can't dance.
  3. You can set fire to a Danish flag but a tardy hoist is criminal (completely backwards - I know).
  4. Vikings are tougher than penguins when it comes to surviving the Danish winter.

There are sooo many more of them that I love but telling you those would be both extremely out of context which would be confusing as hell, and contain a million spoilers that would also ruin the awesome reading experience if you decided to pick up the book!

It isn't an overly expensive book. Depending on where you purchase it, it can range between $22AUD - $30AUD. I like my books to be around the $20AUD mark but with this book, definitely worth that few extra bucks.

If you guys have read it, let me know what you think!

Cate-Marie xxx

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