After endless guides to self-help, a new wave of books spearheaded by The Little Book of Bad Moods is switching the focus to more realistic hopes

Although Finnish doesn’t have a direct equivalent of English’s “mustn’t grumble”, Lotta Sonninen admits, it has a few equivalents. “Vali vali” comes from “valittaminen”, meaning complaining: but there is also “marina”, “kitinä” and “jupina” (to complain under your breath or through gritted teeth); “urputtaminen” (to complain to someone about something they did); “nillittäminen” (to complain at length); and “avautuminen” (to complain at length with unnecessary frankness). Sonninen is familiar with them all; she has spent years working in the Finnish publishing industry, poring over positivity handbooks designed to get her countrymen through the long dark winters.

“The type of books that crossed my path ask you to find the joy in the little things of life and turn up the silver lining or the bright side,” Sonninen says. “Although one at a time they’re really cute, when there were several of them it started looking a bit comical. So I ended up imagining an antidote.”

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