Gretchen Rubin, whose Happiness Project blog spawned the #1 New York Times bestselling book of the same name, spent more than a year discovering what would make her happy. As we find ourselves finally leaving February (which for me has always felt, ironically, like the longest month of the year), this is a book that I am finding myself turning to again and again as I seek to find and create happiness in my life. One piece of advice has really stood out for me so far - "Act the way you want to feel." I've tried this, at times when I'm not feeling particularly well or happy, to act as though I do feel better, and I'm telling you, it works, I really do start to feel happier.
It's no surprise to those of us in book clubs (or who write book blogs) that one's book club can bring great joy. It's the same for Gretchen, and if something brings you pleasure, why stop at just one? Gretchen is in three book groups! I know many readers are also in multiple groups and can relate to this. I'm so happy, no pun intended, to have Gretchen's guest post today about her book club experiences. I'm also pleased to report that I have 3 signed copies of The Happiness Project to give away. To enter to win, simply tell me in the comments how your book club makes you happy. I'll choose 3 winners from all comments received by midnight Friday, February 26th.
One thing that contributes most to my happiness is my book groups. I’m in three!
One is a traditional book group. I joined when I moved to New York City ten years ago. For a while, the membership changed frequently, but now it has been stable for several years, and I imagine this group will continue to meet for the next several decades. It’s a source of happiness for me for so many reasons.
In particular, it makes me happy because it gives me a reason to read books that I’d never otherwise choose. I wouldn’t have read Wolf Hall or Wild Swans or Garden of the Brave in War, but I loved them.
Also, it gives me a chance to see my friends. The time we spend catching up is important, because in many cases, the book group is the only chance I get to see these friends for months at a time. Because of the book group, I know I’ll see these women at least once a month. Also, because we’re discussing a book, we connect at a deeper level. At other social occasions, we might spend our time talking about schools or vacation plans, but the books we read prompt us to talk about more transcendant issues.
The other two book group read only children’s literature or young-adult literature. I have a crazy passion for children’s literature, but for a long time, I didn’t spend much time reading these books. For my happiness project, I decided to bring this passion into the forefront of my life – and forming a specialized book group was one strategy I used to accomplish this.
When I got the idea to start the first group, I thought I was probably the only adult in New York City who loved kidlit so much. Well, that group got so large we had to close it to new members, and I started a second group – and that one is quite big now, too!
Nothing makes me happier than sitting around a table with a lot of bookish people and debating the merits of the three novels of the His Dark Materials trilogy, or arguing about whether Sarah Crewe is an extraordinarily winning heroine or an annoying prig. (I’m in the first camp.) We read the classics, and also the new works that are being written today; right now is a Golden Age for children’s literature.
Because book groups play such an important role in my life, it has been thrilling to hear that so many book groups have chosen The Happiness Project.
Interested in reading The Happiness Project in your book group? Check out the reading group guide. Remember to post a comment about how your book club-or clubs-make you happy by midnight Friday, February 26th to be entered to win 1 of 3 signed copies. And does all this have you thinking of starting your own Happiness Project? Learn more at the Happiness Project blog and let the video below be your inspiration!