Scandinavian “feel bad” books have been hot for years – they are field leaders in crime fiction – but that’s all about to change.
Or so Sally Pattle at Linlithgow book shop Far from the Madding Crowd believes, because ‘Hygge’, a Danish take on how to feel nice and cosy indoors, has become her surprise start of the festive season.
It’s a fad which seems to have come out of nowhere to instantly grip the imagination, and as the Danes are allegedly the happiest people in the world their suddenly-popular lifestyle philosophy has become a big hit in the UK.
“There are about 20 titles but as long as they have the word ‘Hygge’ in them people are interested,” she said, “and they are selling really well.”
In the midst of an increasingly electronic gift-buying annual spree (if it’s not Playstation gizmos it’s Kindles) the books on offer this Christmas are finding plenty of local buyers.
Sally said: “Favourites include Notable Boats, a fabulous book about the history of individual vessels; autob iographies by Ken Clarke and John Simpson – everyone seems to want one or the other – and Scotland - mapping the islands, which is sensational.
There are parodies of the old Enid Blyton books, the alternative universe of Cogheart, and the mystical Neverwhere in the mix too.
From Sally’s point of view the encouraging factor is that books are selling well as gifts for people of all ages.
Meanwhile, local artist Lavinia Kilbride is opening her studio as a pop-up shop for the festive season, both to make the most of the pre-Christmas hunt for “something a little different” and to show people what they can do with a little patience and some carefully-developed expertise.
Arts and crafts seem to be the gift favourite that never goes out of fashion.
She will be opening her garden studio this Sunday from 1pm till 4pm (it’s at Upper Westerpark on the Falkirk Road in Linlithgow).
Lavinia uses wool to make needlefelt animals and birds – as shown in our picture – which are sent all over the world.
She will have Christmas decorations, robins and some of her animals for sale, and also gift vouchers which can be used against a purchase of a “Wee Woolie in the New Year” – or to pay for a two-hour felt class (which costs £30).
Anyone wishing to find out more about her unusual array of Christmas gifts can contact Lavinia on 01506 847342.