Tuesday, February 10, 2015

The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin

Or, Why I Spent a Year Trying to Sing in the Morning, Clean My Closets, Fight Right, Read Aristotle, and Generally Have More Fun

4 stars
Memoir, "stunt nonfiction"

Fascinating concept. Some sections resonated with me, others I kind of wanted to roll my eyes at, but that's the point-- everyone's project would and SHOULD be unique. The things she focused on wouldn't necessarily work for me, but they were HER things. We all have our things. :)

On that note, here are MY things... about this book. ;)  In no particular order, here are random things I liked and marked with scraps of paper that got smaller and smaller as I ripped them off what I was using for a bookmark.

I really liked the idea of focusing on something specific each month over the course of a year.  

And I love what she says about making little changes within the life you have:
"I wanted to change my life without changing my life, by finding more happiness in my own kitchen."

I also really loved this thought (which is actually a comment someone left on her blog):
"Remembering that joy exists is tough when you've been traumatized.  Joy is a big concept and utterly unbelievable when we are in the depths of catastrophe.  But happiness... happiness is more accessible.  We can be miserable and then find ourselves laughing, even if just for a few seconds."

This quote (also left on her blog by a reader) from Hermann Hesse:
"Happiness is a howl not a what.  A talent, not an object."
I LOVE that.  It calls us to action-- if happiness is a talent then it is something we can work on and cultivate.

Since she's a writer, one of her months focused on that-- pursuing a passion.  She used No Plot? No Problem by Chris Baty and did her own NaNo (in September).  Based on the description, the novel she wrote isn't my style, lol, but I did love the closing line: "She'd do her shopping at a different drugstore."  I don't know why exactly, but that struck me as a really awesome ending.

I found it hilarious that her husband didn't get why anyone would ever use a website where you can upload your manuscript and get a bound book.  Um, you're married to a writer, dude.  What's not to get?

Overall, not what I normally read, but it was really interesting.  (That's the best part of book clubs, isn't it? Finding a book you enjoy that you never would have picked up on your own.)  If you're interested in starting your own happiness project, Rubin has put together a website of resources-- the Happiness Project Toolbox.

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