Our everyday lives are filled with hectic rearrangements. Sometimes, it’s nice to take some time with a good book that gives sound advice on making things manageable. These six books cover a variety of the whys behind aspects of everyday life while bringing an encouraging, insightful, and wholly unique voice to their subject.
1. Routine - Daily Rituals
This book explores 161 methods and approaches to living a creative lifestyle. Throughout the course of the book’s exploration, we are given insight into a myriad of habits. Some expected patterns emerge (such as a fondness for caffeine, long walks, and naps), while other habits are less expected (such as doing handstands to clear the head). The book makes no effort to encourage a specific regimen or eccentricity for all to adopt, but instead offers an insightful plethora of great ideas for fresh ways to organize your day.
Mason Currey is a writer and editor living in Los Angeles. Daily Rituals’ sequel, Women at Work, was just published in the beginning of March 2019.
2. Environment - Places of the Heart
Our relationship with space is an important and oft-overlooked area of interest. This book gives insight into how our surroundings affect our moods and behavior. While environmental psychology is very rooted in the realm of architects and urban planners, Colin Ellard touches on the deeper, metaphysical layers of how physical boundaries and mental maps intersect. This is a very useful book for if you’ve ever wondered about what makes an environment give off a certain feeling.
Colin Ellard is the author of You Are Here: Why We Can Find Our Way to the Moon, but Get Lost in the Mall. A cognitive neuroscientist at the University of Waterloo and director of its Urban Realities Laboratory, he lives in Kitchener, Ontario.
3. Comfort - The Little Book of Hygge
The Little Book of Hygge also talks about our environment - however, while Places of the Heart focuses on the broader reasoning and implications of being in a space, author Miek Wiking zooms in to focus on methods of promoting hygge (a feeling of appreciation in comforting surroundings) in everyday life, covering the ins and outs of interior lighting, companionship and friendly get-togethers, and a variety of hearty recipes. While reevaluating your home lighting and investing in sweaters aren’t the only way to achieve a feeling of coziness, Wiking provides a good insight into methods of finding happiness that work for you individually.
For further insight from the Happiness Research Institute, here’s Wiking’s 2016 TED Talk, the Dark Side of Happiness.
4. Cooking - Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat
It would be silly to classify any one cookbook as a paragon of its kind - interests, needs, tastes, and access to ingredients vary wildly, after all - but Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat comes quite close. Seasoned chef Samin Nosrat offers a fresh, insightful perspective on the preparation of food, delving into kitchen science and art of creating something delicious. The book comes with a plethora pie charts, graphs, and cheat sheets, beautifully illustrated by Wendy MacNaughton - and a Netflix miniseries to watch while you cook!
5. Hobbies - Flora of Middle-Earth
What, you might ask, is a book about fantastical plants doing on a lifestyle book recommendation list? Sometimes, it’s useful to sit down with a hobby book. We all need our esoteric interests and pastimes, and the thoughtful, nuanced exploration of an admittedly niche subject makes this my favorite book on the list. If you’re not a Tolkien fan, I encourage you to flip through if only for the beautiful woodcut illustrations - but understand that this book’s placement on the list is largely symbolic of something that explores your own personal nostalgia. I encourage you to search for books related to your own nerdy, niche interests - chances are, someone who shares your fervor has written about them.
6. Inspiration - Art Matters
Bringing the list full circle to the topic of creativity is Art Matters, a collection of four essays on creativity written by Neil Gaiman and illustrated by Chris Riddell. Don’t let the relatively slim size fool you - this is a book brimming with vitality. Gaiman’s prose and Riddell’s illustrations complement each other wonderfully, bringing forth amusing insights and illuminating anecdotes in turn. Through their sheer enthusiasm and passion, this book is instrumental in establishing the monumental importance of art in life.