Hygge: An interview with guest bookseller, Rikke!

Winter Institute just rolled through town, and it was a blast! Hundreds of booksellers and publishers from around the country–and the world–visited Minneapolis for a weekend of bookselling education and networking.

Magers and Quinn was fortunate to host Rikke, a bookseller from book store Kristian img_1003F. Møller in Denmark, and show her the inner workings of the store for a day. She was an absolute pleasure to have with us, and she is a great sport, because we couldn’t help but ask her a bunch of questions about the most recent book trend, exploring the Danish concept of “hygge” (pronounced hu-gah).

M&Q: In your own words, please describe hygge.

Rikke: Hygge for the Danes can come in many forms. Often it is about sharing a home-cooked meal with friends or family. Very often we have coffee and cake (we love coffee and cake!) with each other. Hygge can also be a great way to make everyday life a little more cozy and warm for yourself. You light a candle, have a glass of wine or a cup of coffee (again with the coffee :)), read a great book under your favorite blanket – care about yourself and your well-being, in other words.

M&Q: Were you familiar with our fascination with hygge? Do Danish people consciously think about Hygge in their day-to-day lives?

R: The Danes are all a bit surprised by the sudden hype about hygge. We have always had it but never really conceptualized it. People here in MN and in the US in general to hygge as well. You are friendly, welcoming, and love coffee and cake as we do.

M&Q: Were you familiar with the trend and the books? Any we have that you would recommend?

R: I know some of the hygge books, yes. We have some in the store in Aarhus for the tourists and the natives who want to know what the fuss is about.

Meik Wiking’s The Little Book of Hygge is really nice. And Trine Hahneman’s Scandinavian Comfort Food has some of our favorite dishes and treats.

So there you have it – the official word on hygge from our new friend!

Another book on the subject just out this week, The Book of Hygge by Louisa Thomsen Brits.


Read Harder Challenger: Annie H

The ranks of M&Q booksellers taking on the Book Riot Read Harder challenge are growing! The bookseller pictured here modeling Citizen by Claudia Rankine–one of her favorite titles–is our next Read Harder challenger. Here’s Annie H’s take on tackling the 2017 checklist:

annie-h-with-book-wallWhy are you doing this challenge?

To be part of a large and communal dialogue about books! I love getting recommendations from coworkers, friends, and customers, which I will definitely need to do to complete a couple of the challenge categories, and I am also excited for chatting with fellow challenge-takers about what they’ve chosen to read and how they’re interacting with the texts.

Which of the tasks will be easiest for you?

As a huge fan of indie presses, I already read lots of debut novels and look forward to what this year has in store.

Which assignment will take you the furthest from your usual reading list?

The book about war. I don’t think I’ve ever chosen a book about war as a leisure read, and I’m for sure going to scour some book blogs and figure out the best way to play this one.

Have you already decided which book to read for one (or more) tasks?

Definitely. I’m excited to dip into either James Baldwin or Alice Walker for the classic writer of color, and I’ve been looking for a reason to pick up Miranda July’s short story collection.

Which task are you most excited about?

The book about books! I am fascinated by the publishing industry, grammar- and style- focused craft discussions, and book history.

If you could add one task to the list, what would it be?

Read a book (fiction or nonfiction) that centers around an individual with a physical or mental disability. Or some nature writing! Ah, so many things I’d love to read!


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Read Harder Challenger: Annie M

As you know, some M&Qers are daring themselves to complete the BookRiot Read Harder Challenge in 2017. This month we’re kicking things off by introducing all the challengers. Last week you met Sarah, now meet assistant manager Annie M and her plans for the challenge.


Why are you doing this challenge?

I read a lot, but I go about it in a pretty disorganized way. Sometimes reading 5 things at once, sometimes reading absolutely nothing and just bingeing on TV shows. One of my goals this year is to be more methodical in getting through my gigantic TBR – reading more books in time for Indie Next deadlines,* actually reading some of the stuff I’ve purchased at the store over the years, and so on. I think I can apply this challenge to a good chunk of the books already sitting in my apartment. And for those I don’t already have lined up (“collection of poetry in translation on a theme other than love,”  anyone?) I can’t wait to do some digging and get creative!

Which of the tasks will be easiest for you?

Probably “read a debut novel.” As a bookseller we get lots of access to great debuts, and I think the majority of the novels I read and loved last year were the authors’ first. (The Nix, The Wangs vs. The World, Sweetbitter, The Devourers). If history proves anything, this one should be the easiest to complete.

Which will be the furthest from your usual reading list?

Either “a book published between 1900 and 1950” or “a nonfiction book about technology.” I tend to swing between two extremes – super old books, and super new ones. If I’m reading it, it either came out in the past two years, or sometime before 1850. Usually. And as for the book about technology, I just don’t know where to start! I have a little radio crush on Ben Johnson from Marketplace Tech, though, so maybe he can help me out…

Have you already decided which book to read for one (or more) tasks?

I’m really pumped to read The Book by Keith Houston for the “book about books” challenge. I bought it as soon as I saw it because it is gorgeous, but I’ve been a bit intimidated to actually dive in. It’s pretty long.

Which task are you most excited about?

Rereading a book! I’m the kind of person who will rewatch an entire tv show a near-disturbing number of times. I will convince myself I don’t have time to start a new book, but somehow end up spending the day rereading a 500-page mystery I already know the ending of. The only hard thing will be choosing which book to re-read. Something I loved as a kid? Something I remember loving in school but don’t remember why? The possibilities are overwhelming but super exciting.

If you could add one task to the list, what would it be?

Find out your hometown’s “sister city” – you can use this site or check your town’s Wikipedia page – and read a book by an author from that country. If you can find a book that takes place in the city itself, even better! I always thought the concept of sister cities was cool as a kid, and this seems like a way to read globally while easily narrowing down the vast array of options out there.

*The Indie Next list is a monthly list of books specifically recommended by indie booksellers. The catch is that you have to nominate a book two months before it publishes…requiring you to actually read things in time. Not my strong suit.


Let us keep you posted on our #ReadHarder challenge progress, new releases, and so much more! Read the blog, subscribe to the newsletter, like us on Facebook, and follow us on Twitter and Instagram!