Friday, February 26, 2010

The Happiness Project

Author: Gretchen Rubin
Hardcover: 320 pages
Publisher: Harper; 1 edition (December 29, 2009)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0061583251

Book Description:
Gretchen Rubin had an epiphany one rainy afternoon in the unlikeliest of places: a city bus. "The days are long, but the years are short," she realized. "Time is passing, and I'm not focusing enough on the things that really matter." In that moment, she decided to dedicate a year to her happiness project.

In this lively and compelling account of that year, Rubin carves out her place alongside the authors of bestselling memoirs such as Julie and Julia, The Year of Living Biblically, and Eat, Pray, Love. With humor and insight, she chronicles her adventures during the twelve months she spent test-driving the wisdom of the ages, current scientific research, and lessons from popular culture about how to be happier.

Rubin didn't have the option to uproot herself, nor did she really want to; instead she focused on improving her life as it was. Each month she tackled a new set of resolutions: give proofs of love, ask for help, find more fun, keep a gratitude notebook, forget about results. She immersed herself in principles set forth by all manner of experts, from Epicurus to Thoreau to Oprah to Martin Seligman to the Dalai Lama to see what worked for her—and what didn't.

Her conclusions are sometimes surprising—she finds that money can buy happiness, when spent wisely; that novelty and challenge are powerful sources of happiness; that "treating" yourself can make you feel worse; that venting bad feelings doesn't relieve them; that the very smallest of changes can make the biggest difference—and they range from the practical to the profound.

Written with charm and wit, The Happiness Project is illuminating yet entertaining, thought-provoking yet compulsively readable. Gretchen Rubin's passion for her subject jumps off the page, and reading just a few chapters of this book will inspire you to start your own happiness project.

About the Author
Gretchen Rubin is the author of several books, including the bestselling Forty Ways to Look at Winston Churchill and Forty Ways to Look at JFK. Rubin began her career in law, and she was clerking for Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor when she realized that she really wanted to be a writer. Raised in Kansas City, she lives in New York City with her husband and two young daughters.
(Thank you to the author for my review copy.)

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

The Case For Books / Review

Author: Robert Darnton
Hardcover: 240 pages
Publisher: PublicAffairs (October 27, 2009)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1586488260
Book Description:
In The Case for Books, Robert Darnton, an intellectual pioneer in the field of the history of the book and director of Harvard University's Library, offers an in-depth examination of the book from its earliest beginnings to its shifting role today in popular culture, commerce, and the academy. As an author, editorial advisor, and publishing entrepreneur, Darnton is a unique authority on the life and role of the book in society. This book is a wise work of scholarship—one that requires readers to carefully consider how the digital revolution will broadly affect the marketplace of ideas.
A former professor of European History at Princeton University, Robert Darnton is Carl H. Pforzheimer University Professor and director of the Harvard University Library. The founder of the Gutenberg-e program, he is the author of many books. He lives in Cambridge, Massachusetts.
My Review:
I found this to be an interesting look at the printed page vs the digital age.
(Thank you to the author for my review copy.)

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Bloodroot / Review

Author: Amy Greene
Hardcover: 304 pages
Publisher: Knopf; 1 edition (January 12, 2010)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0307269868

My Review:

What a wonderful new book! Having grown up in East Tennessee, I totally identified with the people and culture found in Bloodroot. How rare to find an author who can represent, on the printed page, the language and beauty of such a beautiful region of the country, where family roots run deep and neighbors are trusted friends.

This story is told through the eyes and voices of a mountain family. It tells the story of the ties that bind them together, and the land they cannot forsake--at times magical, and at other times violent, mysterious, and unforgiving. I was caught up in the lives of its characters immediately. I loved it, and in many ways it took me back home to the Tennessee mountains.

This is one of the most enchanting books I have read in a long time. I highly recommend it. 5+ stars

(Thank you to Amy Greene for my review copy.)