From Gordon’s Travel Shelfie: A Year of Living Danishly

This is the first in a series of book reviews from my travel bookshelf. Like most photographers, I prefer to be behind my Nikon than in front of it and I have an aversion to selfies. That’s not to say I’m against selfies; if that’s your style then go for it.

You can tell a lot about people by their selfies. Just look at the different styles on Instagram. Many bloggers and Instagrammers feel it is a way to connect with their readers and followers and engage with them. Likewise, you can tell a lot about people by the books they read and like. So that is how I choose to reveal some of who I am by the books I like (and dislike) in Gordon’s Shelfie.

First up…

The Year of Living Danishly by Helen Russell

Helen was editor of when her husband who she refers to as “Lego Man” was offered a job at the Danish headquarters of LEGO. Leaving her “London Girl” life behind they decide to move to rural Jutland and live the Danish lifestyle for a year. Helen takes the opportunity to look into the secrets of the world’s happiest country.

This book is her account of that year, her research into Danish happiness (it’s not just the pastries) and her own experiences. Her sharp and self–deprecating wit coupled with insightful observations mixed with the facts she gleans from academics and other Danish lifestyle experts make an interesting read.

A book of personal observations peppered with solid facts can often become a dry and dusty read. Helen has avoided this trap extremely well and managed to make the book entertaining as well as providing an insight into her adopted-for-a-year culture.

Food, interior design, education, healthcare, SAD, taxes and the long dark winters are all covered in a way that makes them eminently readable. Yes, even writing about tax affairs she manages to make interesting and entertaining.

When visiting a new place I like to read more about the people and the culture. It makes the visit so much more interesting and insightful. You can get an encyclopaedic style potted version from most guidebooks but a book like The Year of Living Danishly (£) imparts far more wisdom in an entertaining and, dare I say more memorable way.[amazon_link asins=’1785780239′ template=’ProductAd’ store=’travelu-21′ marketplace=’UK’ link_id=’905bbecf-b2b0-11e8-9d6d-09b1c6d8c379′]

The expats abroad genre of travel writing is all the better for Helen’s contribution. Whether you are planning a visit to Denmark, upping sticks to move there or just looking for an entertaining and informative read then The Year of Living Danishly (£) is one you should have on your own travel shelfie.


The Year of Living Danishly by Helen Russell
ISBN-10: 1785780239
ISBN-13: 978-1785780233

Kindle (£)
Paperback (£)
Audiobook (£)

Disclosure notice: Some of the links in the text of this post are affiliate links. That means I get a small payment should you click on the link and subsequently make a purchase. This is at no extra cost to you. These links are identified by the “£” sign in brackets (£) after the link.


Other books about Danish lifestyle that you might enjoy. Also included is a debut novel by Helen Russell the author of The Year of Living Danishly.

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Travel Unpacked is all about travel; from luxury to adventure travel and all related topics. There are reviews of accommodation, eateries, airlines,  ferries, books and much more. You will find stories, lists, hints and tips as well as experiences you might want replicate on your travels. It’s about travel as you want it

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