I’ve been devouring books lately using the Kindle app on my phone. It’s very satisfying to plough through entire books whilst you’re wandering around town or waiting for an appointment. Today, I went for a big walk whilst reading The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin. I thought to myself ‘You’re going to like this…’ almost from page one and just reading it is making me happy! It focuses on one woman’s year-long attempt to test out and understand the things in life that actually make people happier. She recognises that this is partly idiosyncratic and different things will appeal to different people (one of mine is illustrated above!) but she discovers certain sources of happiness that appear to be fairly universal. I won’t spoil what they are – you’ll have to read it for yourself 😉
The author acknowledges that she was not actually depressed at all when she embarked on this venture – she just felt a little discontent and dissatisfied, which I think we can all relate to at times. Life can easily become a bit mundane. One of my favourite parts is where she writes about the paradoxes that kept cropping up as she tried to pursue a happier life: “I wanted to change myself but accept myself. I wanted to take myself less seriously – and also more seriously. I wanted to use my time well, but I also wanted to wander, to play, to read at whim. I wanted to think about myself so I could forget myself. I was always on the edge of agitation; I wanted to let go of envy and anxiety about the future, yet keep my energy and ambition.” That really resonated with me. The book makes you stop and evaluate how you use your time and explores how certain habits can rob you of joy and simplicity. I’ve not got to the end yet so I’m looking forward to finding out how she gets on throughout the year!
By the way, I’ve settled on my final six for Book Club next week (they are all books I’ve not yet read)…
- The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck
- Bring up the Bodies by Hilary Mantel
- Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell
- The Woman in White by Wilkie Collins
- The Unknown Bridesmaid by Margaret Forster
- Catch 22 by Joseph Heller
Quite a varied bunch I think. I wonder which they will pick!