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Happier at Home by Gretchen Rubin
Gretchen Rubin, creator of The Happiness Project, the phenomenally bestselling book and mega-popular blog, just revealed the cover for her next book, HAPPIER AT HOME (Crown). Here’s what we can expect in September 2012:
In the spirit of her blockbuster #1 New York Times bestseller The Happiness Project, Gretchen Rubin embarks on a new project to make home a happier place.
One Sunday afternoon, as she unloaded the dishwasher, Gretchen Rubin felt hit by a wave of homesickness. Homesick—why? She was standing right in her own kitchen. She felt homesick, she realized, with love for home itself. “Of all the elements of a happy life,” she thought, “my home is the most important.” In a flash, she decided to undertake a new happiness project, and this time, to focus on home.
And what did she want from her home? A place that calmed her, and energized her. A place that, by making her feel safe, would free her to take risks. Also, while Rubin wanted to be happier at home, she wanted to appreciate how much happiness was there already.
So, starting in September (the new January), Rubin dedicated a school year—September through May—to making her home a place of greater simplicity, comfort, and love.
In The Happiness Project, she worked out general theories of happiness. Here she goes deeper on factors that matter for home, such as possessions, marriage, time, and parenthood. How can she control the cubicle in her pocket? How might she spotlight her family’s treasured possessions? And it really was time to replace that dud toaster.
Each month, Rubin tackles a different theme as she experiments with concrete, manageable resolutions—and this time, she coaxes her family to try some resolutions, as well.
With her signature blend of memoir, science, philosophy, and experimentation, Rubin’s passion for her subject jumps off the page, and reading just a few chapters of this book will inspire readers to find more happiness in their own lives.
I loved The Happiness Project and have written about it many times on this site so I can’t tell you how excited I am for Happier at Home. Have you read The Happiness Project? Do you follow Gretchen’s blog? Are you going to pick up Happier at Home when it hits bookstores in the fall?
Four of a Kind by Valerie Frankel
“A man’s growth is seen in the successive choirs of his friends.” ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson
I sat down to write this review in the same manner I write every review. I wanted to diplomatically describe the details of the book (something you can easily find on Amazon or Goodreads and therefore do not need me to repeat here). I was then going to give my impression of the book, where the author excelled, what was interesting about the plot, describe the challenges the four main characters faced in their lives (at home, at work, in love). All of this would have been interesting and informative but it would also be stagnant. It would be run-of-the-mill. It would be something you could find in the hundreds of reviews on line or in magazines and newspapers. It would be something you could find just by reading the book yourself. (Which I highly recommend you do!)
Instead, I want to do things a little differently. I want to explore the theme of this book and how it relates to life. Because isn’t that why we read fiction in the first place? To learn more about ourselves, to understand our lives, our hopes, dreams, fears, and failings?
Four of a Kind by Valerie Frankel (Ballantine Books, February 7, 2012) is a novel about FRIENDSHIP.
Friendship is crucial in life. It is an integral part of our happiness. Strong social ties are key to happiness. Gretchen Rubin in her book, The Happiness Project, routinely points out that “To be happy we have to feel strongly connected to other people.” She even has a post on her blog with 8 Tips for Making Friends. In that post she talks about how the “mere exposure effect” makes you like someone better. Basically, just by repeatedly seeing the same people, you will, in fact, like them better. Another tip she gives is to join a group. “Being part of a natural group, where you have common interest and are brought together automatically, is the easiest way to make friends.”
This is what happens in Valerie Frankel’s completely entertaining novel, Four of a Kind. Four women are brought together as part of a school diversity committee, each woman has a child in the same school. Ironically, the diversity committee is a very diverse group, women who would never be friends if not forced together. On a whim, the women end up playing a game of Texas Hold’em, but instead of money the currency is secrets. Secrets in their marriage, secrets with their careers, their children, their parents. Every woman has a secret in her life and even though she keeps them close to her heart and aches because of them, she is really just looking for the right person to tell. When these secrets (and worries and fears and hopes) begin to come out, the women realize they are bonded more closely than they ever could have imagined. These women found each other and as a result have built honest, beautiful, complicated relationships.
Rachel Bertsche’s website and book, MWF Seeking BFF, was devoted to the challenge of finding friendship once yo
READ SOMETHING FUN!
Gretchen Rubin, author of THE HAPPINESS PROJECT and one of the most inspirational bloggers out there, gives some very interesting advice towards achieving happiness and balance in your life, “This week read something for fun!“
She explains that whenever she asks someone what they are reading, they typically answer with some profound work of great literature, a much-talked about, well-regarded book that tends to be a little “dry.” When Gretchen asks her friends why they don’t read something fun, they reply, “When I read, I want to learn something. I don’t want to waste my time with something that’s not worthwhile.” And yet everyday we turn on the television and watch something just because it is entertaining. Books should be regarded the same way.
As Gretchen says, it is always good to push yourself to read an ambitious book but when you are always pushing yourself, reading becomes a chore and not something you do for fun or enjoyment and then eventually something you just stop doing.
When you have the right book, nothing is more fun than reading. So go to a bookstore or a library or online and get something you want to read. The test? You should feel like going straight home and sitting down to read it, immediately.
Don’t judge yourself. Let yourself read what you want. Remember, it’s supposed to be fun. And it is fun, nothing is more fun, if you’re reading something you enjoy.
So go pick up a book with a great plot, some action, maybe some romance or humor and sit back and relax.
After starring in one of the most popular television adaptations in recent memory, Sex and the City veteran Kristin Davis will star in an NBC adaptation of The Happiness Project.
Gretchen Rubin‘s memoir focused on a year “spent test-driving the wisdom of the ages, the current scientific studies, and the lessons from popular culture about how to be happy–from Aristotle to Martin Seligman to Thoreau to Oprah.” Rubin wrote 40 Ways to Look at Winston Churchill before publishing her bestselling memoir–dubbed “a cross between the Dalai Lama’s The Art of Happiness and Elizabeth Gilbert’s Eat, Pray, Love” by author Sonya Lyubomirsky.
Here’s more about the show from The Hollywood Reporter: “The single-camera, half-hour project will be produced by Universal Media Studios and Mosaic. Kristin Newman (Chuck, How Met Your Mother) is in negotiations to write the pilot and executive produce. Jimmy Miller and Dave Fleming will also executive produce.”
New Career Opportunities Daily: The best jobs in media.
By: Maryann Yin,
Blog: Galley Cat (Mediabistro)
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, Are You There Vodka? It's Me
, Chelsea Handler
, Dottie Zicklin
, Gretchen Rubin
, Julie Larson
, Kristin Davis
, Kristin Newman
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NBC will adapt television host Chelsea Handler‘s three autobiographical books into a comedy show, Are You There Vodka? It’s Me, Chelsea.
According to Deadline Hollywood, the comedy “is described as an autobiographical multi-camera comedy based on Handler’s life in her twenties.” The main character, also named Chelsea, will be patterned after Handler, but she will not be a professional comedian. Dharma & Greg co-creators Dottie Zicklin and Julie Larson will be in charge of the adaptation.
NBC recently picked up a script adapting Gretchen Rubin‘s stunt nonfiction memoir, The Happiness Project. Sex and the City veteran Kristin Davis will star in that series. (Via Shelf Awareness)
New Career Opportunities Daily: The best jobs in media.
Mediabistro will host Social Media Marketing Boot Camp from September 13 until November 1. Early bird rates for the online conference expire today.
The comprehensive course will help you promote your work with a full suite of social networking tools. The list of speakers includes Gretchen Rubin (The Happiness Project), David Meerman Scott (Real-Time Marketing & PR), Lisa Aragon (Double Dutch), Harry Gold (Overdrive Interactive) and this GalleyCat editor.
Among the many sessions, The Happiness Project author Gretchen Rubin will lead a session entitled “How The Happiness Project Became a Multimedia Sensation.” Rubin will share how she spent a year testing theories of happiness, drawing 40,000 Facebook likes and more than half a million YouTube views through her work.
New Career Opportunities Daily: The best jobs in media.
Oftentimes, as adults, we revisit the books we've read as children and come away with an entirely new understanding of old, familiar stories. Gretchen Rubin, author of THE HAPPINESS PROJECT, recalls such an experience with the Little House series by Laura Ingalls Wilder.
My favorite memory of receiving a book as a gift dates back to the Christmas when I’d just turned six years old. My beautiful LITTLE HOUSE IN THE BIG WOODS was inscribed: “Merry Christmas to Gretchen, with all our love --- with the hope that you’ll love the stories about Laura and her family as much as your Mommy loved them.”
I loved this book beyond anything I’d ever read before.
I wasn’t quite able yet to read it comfortably myself, so my father would read me two chapters each night before I went to bed. I could read well enough to know when he skipped, however, and I remember taking great pleasure in scolding him when he didn’t read every word (a game that I’m now quite familiar with as the parent doing the reading!).
Every year, for the next seven years, I unwrapped the next book in the series. I couldn’t wait to read them, of course, and I’d raced through the whole series by the time I had my own set, but each year I looked forward to getting my fresh new volume.
I’ve re-visited those books as an adult, too, many times; few novels withstand multiple re-readings as well as the Little House books.
Have you read those books? Do you remember the ending of LITTLE HOUSE IN THE BIG WOODS? I didn’t understand it when I was six years old, but now I do:
She looked at Pa sitting on the bench by the hearth…She looked at Ma, gently rocking and knitting.
She thought to herself, “This is now.”
She was glad that the cozy house, and Pa and Ma and the firelight and the music, were now. They could not be forgotten, she thought, because now is now. It can never be a long time ago.
-- Gretchen Rubin
Check back later today as Suzan Colón describes the personal significance of Johanna Spyri's HEIDI.
"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 wisdoms 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; instaed 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 h appiness, 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."
My book club read this for the past month's selection and we were all pretty much in agreement with it. We all really enjoyed the first half and weren't so keen on the last half.
Gretchen Rubin has such a great idea in wanting to make herself happier by doing simple things with what she has. I really loved her organization chapter, wanting to simplify her life to ultimately increase her happiness and the tips that were throughout. Her chapter on marriage was profound and eye-opening and her "Pursue a Passion" chapter really hit home (she loves kid's books and formed a KidLit book club). Unfortunately, after those, I kinda felt like she went downhill.
The writing and the subject matter began to get repetitive and her somewhat self-righteous. She started being a little preachy with everything she had learned, rather than just informative and explanatory and I found myself skimming. Overall though, I found quite a few tips and tricks that I can apply to my own life, hopefully increasing my own happiness level.
I'm no longer going to apologize for the hobbies I have and I'm going to do what I enjoy, rather than what I think I SHOULD enjoy (like running, crocheting, or baking). I'm going to continue only reading 50 pages of a book before giving up if I'm not liking it and I'm going to quit nagging my husband about eating breakfast. He's a grown man...if he doesn't want to eat breakfast, he shouldn't have to. I'm also going to have an empty shelf in a closet (well that's one I'm working on).
Overall rating: 3 out of 5
Definitely a discussion book, making it a good choice for a book club, but also a good individual read. Everyone can take something away from this book, I just felt the 2nd half was almost unnece