Friday, March 4, 2011

The Happiness Project - Gretchen Rubin

The Happiness Project: Or, Why I Spent a Year Trying to Sing in the Morning, Clean My Closets, Fight Right, Read Aristotle, and Generally Have More Fun by Gretchen Rubin/HarperCollins/2009/296pgs/Self-Identity/Happiness/Relationships

Gretchen undertakes the task to find more happiness in her life. But what exactly is happiness or in better terms, how does one measure happiness? Since most of us generate happiness as a feeling or emotion, usually waning within days or even moments, how does one assume to be a happy person? Rubin undergoes a unique and very personal project to assess how happiness effects her life and world view, ultimately determining that by doing daily tasks, making daily recordings, she felt a balance and was happier. Her formula somewhat assessing to be: "To be happy, I need to think about feeling good, feeling bad, and feeling right, in an atmosphere of growth." Performing trivial tasks, cleaning out closets, organizing, acting more energetic, enjoying the moment, all were a part of Rubin's monthly plans that she would map out on a calender and give herself daily reviews to track that measured her said happiness.

I greatly enjoyed Rubin's quest to find happiness although she didn't necessarily going searching to find it. It was rather more of an examination of behavior and changement or adjustments that ultimately led to more happiness. I enjoyed learning of her downfalls and frustrations to keep to her goals which I think is universally recognized as we are our own worst enemies. Even more than identifying with her views on relationship with friends, family, strangers, peers, I liked how the book was also a laid out as a map to start a happiness project of one's own. Even more impressive is her website, There is also a blog feature on Slate. com/the happiness project. So many people have started their own paths or joined groups beginning a large movement of sorts. Rubin gives such personal insight and real, true insight into her own nature and relationships around her that it is hard not be inspired or at the very least apply small insight into one's life and I, for one, know that I will be constantly drawn to the lessons learned from the book. I greatly recommend this for anyone searching for more insight into themselves, relationships, and finding daily satisfaction with life.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

MIA... AWOL...where in the world??

thought i would just make a comment on my lack of blogging for the past three months. so sorry!! however to my credit i was not slacking on the reading. i was picked to be a preliminary judge for the Minnesota Book Awards and spent the rest of my nights constantly reading...about a book a day! it was exhausting but in the end i'm very glad and grateful to have had the experience. definitely read a lot of Minnesota authors and genres that i wouldn't have necessarily picked up otherwise which reminds me to make a note that i should read more outside my own "comfort" zones and support local authors!!

so back to the grind...hopefully

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

No Place Like Home - Brooke Berman

No Place Like Home: A Memoir in 39 Apartments by Brooke Berman/Harmony Books/2010/pgs251/ Memoir/Women Coming of Age/New York/Theater-Art Life

In this engaging chronology spanning twenty years, from college to hard-won success, Berman, the award-winning playwright tells her story of searching for home. The once-aspiring performing artist explores the world through vastly different New York neighborhoods, a series of part-time jobs, an enviable stint at Julliard, and slowly increasing acclamation.

She recognizes an undeniable wish in herself to separate from her mother, a wish complicated by the bonds of family and shared history. Even after surviving being raped in her early twenties, and insisting on independence to the point of being homeless and penniless, she is consumed for years in a yo-yo like love affair with Rodney, the wonderless wanderer.

Her writing moves fluidly as she schleps from studio to loft to the occasional luxury apartment. Angst and the unknown become her constant companions, draining energy from her while creating guidance for the reader into Berman's emotional well-being.

The chapters are divided between each dwelling, taking the reader all over New York neighborhoods, boroughs and into the New England states. The overarching message shines through, home is much more than an address and there is no place like home.