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  • feedwordpress 12:44:49 on 2016/10/23 Permalink
    Tags: , book review, , Buy Books, , , , , New York Times, , recommendations, ,   

    So Fun! I Did the “By the Book” Interview for the New York Times Book Review. 


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    bythebookpage

    As an ardent book-lover, I always look forward to reading the Book Review in the Sunday New York Times.

    So I was very happy to be asked to do the “By the Book” interview, a page of author q-and-a that’s one of my favorite parts of the book-review section.

    In “By the Book,” a writer is asked several questions about his or her reading habits. I love talking about books, so I had tremendous fun tackling these questions.

    If you’d like to know what books are on my night stand, or my dream author-guest for my podcast, or about the kind of book that I refuse to read, it here.

    So many good books!

    The post So Fun! I Did the “By the Book” Interview for the New York Times Book Review. appeared first on Gretchen Rubin.

     
  • feedwordpress 12:14:02 on 2016/10/08 Permalink
    Tags: , Buy Books, , , , markers, , pencils, , , , ,   

    Ta-Da! Announcing…My Coloring Book of Great Quotes. Do You Love to Color? 


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    ColoringBookHappinessProjectRubin

    I’m excited to announce that I’ve created — yes! — a coloring book. Check it out: The Happiness Project Mini Posters: A Coloring Book of 20 Hand-Lettered Quotes to Pull Out and Frame.

    It was a particular delight to be creating a coloring book now, given my recent obsession with color, and accompanying obsession with beautiful markers and colored pencils.

    Also, it’s a big trend across the United States. (Is coloring becoming a popular adult activity in other countries?) More and more adults are returning to the coloring books they loved as children.

    Great idea! Coloring boosts happiness for many reasons.

    1. Coloring is calming, even meditative.

    The activity of coloring helps to focus the mind and rest the body in a constructive, creative way. In this book, you’re coloring various quotations, and II hope that the quotations, too, will inspire quiet reflection.

    2. Coloring is very satisfying, because there’s a special pleasure in doing things with our hands.

    Very often these days, we’re sitting behind screens and living in our heads. Like activities such as knitting or tying flies, coloring allows us to connect with the physical world, in the present moment. And there’s something about the repetitive, wordless nature of the work that boosts creativity and energy.

    3. Coloring is a great activity to do with other people.

    Research shows that a secret—probably the secret—to happiness is strong connections with other people. Coloring is fun to do with other people. It’s companionable, and allows for conversation, and at the same time, gives a sense of shared purpose.

    With my sister Elizabeth Craft, I host a podcast, Happier with Gretchen Rubin. Many people have written to tell me that they like to color as they listen to the latest episode—the two activities are highly compatible.

    How about you? Do you like to color? And if so: markers or pencils? Or both — I love both.

    The post Ta-Da! Announcing…My Coloring Book of Great Quotes. Do You Love to Color? appeared first on Gretchen Rubin.

     
  • feedwordpress 17:38:10 on 2016/10/04 Permalink
    Tags: , , , Buy Books, , ghosts, , Karl Ove Knausguaard, , , , Patricia Clapp, read, ,   

    Revealed! Three Book Club Choices for October. Happy Reading! 


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    bookclubchoicesoct16

    Because nothing boosts happiness more than a great book, each month, I suggest:

    • one outstanding book about happiness or habits
    • one outstanding work of children’s or young-adult literature–I have a crazy passion for kidlit
    • one eccentric pick–a widely admired and excellent book that I love, yes, but one that may not appeal to everyone

     

    Shop at IndieBound, BN.com, or Amazon (I’m an affiliate), or your favorite local bookstore. Or my favorite, visit the library!

    For all the books I choose, I love them; I’ve read most of them at least twice if not many times; and they’re widely admired.  Drumroll…

    A book about happiness, good habits, or human nature:

    My Antonia by Willa Cather

    Buy from IndieBound; BN.com; Amazon.

     

    An outstanding children’s book:

    Jane-Emily by Patricial Clapp

    Buy from IndieBound; BN.com; Amazon.

     

    An eccentric pick:

    My Struggle, Book 1 by Karl Ove Knausgaard

    Buy from IndieBound; BN.com; Amazon.

     

    Some readers have said that they wished that I’d describe and make the case for my book choices, instead of just providing links. I’ve noticed that many times, when someone describes a book to me, I want to read it less. And often, weirdly, the better a book is, the worse it sounds.

    Nevertheless, because so many readers have requested it, I’ve decided to give a bit more context for these choices in the book-club newsletter. So if you’d like to know more about why I made these selections, check there. To get that free monthly book-club newsletter, and to make sure you don’ t miss any recommendations, sign up here.

    Remember, if you want to see what I read each week, I post a photo of my pile of completed books on my Facebook Page every Sunday night, #GretchenRubinReads.

    The post Revealed! Three Book Club Choices for October. Happy Reading! appeared first on Gretchen Rubin.

     
  • feedwordpress 15:58:11 on 2016/09/02 Permalink
    Tags: , , , , Buy Books, , , , Jorge Luis Borges, , Lois Lenski, Ralph Waldo Emerson,   

    Revealed! Book Club Choices for September. Such Good Books. 


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    Book Club Suggestions

    Because nothing boosts happiness more than a great book, each month, I suggest:

    • one outstanding book about happiness or habits
    • one outstanding work of children’s or young-adult literature–I have a crazy passion for kidlit
    • one eccentric pick–a widely admired and excellent book that I love, yes, but one that may not appeal to everyone

     

    Shop at IndieBound, BN.com, or Amazon (I’m an affiliate), or your favorite local bookstore. Or my favorite, visit the library!

    For all the books I choose, I love them; I’ve read most of them at least twice if not many times; and they’re widely admired.  Drumroll…

    A book about happiness, good habits, or human nature:

    The Essential Writings of Ralph Waldo Emerson.

    Buy from IndieBound; BN.com; Amazon.

     

    An outstanding children’s book:

    Judy’s Journey by Lois Lenski

    Buy from IndieBound; BN.com; Amazon.

     

    An eccentric pick:

    Labyrinths by Jorge Luis Borges

    Buy from IndieBound; BN.com; Amazon.

     

    Some readers have said that they wished that I’d describe and make the case for my book choices, instead of just providing links. I’ve noticed that many times, when someone describes a book to me, I want to read it less. And often, weirdly, the better a book is, the worse it sounds.

    Nevertheless, because so many readers have requested it, I’ve decided to give a bit more context for these choices in the book-club newsletter. So if you’d like to know more about why I made these selections, check there. To get that free monthly book-club newsletter, and to make sure you don’ t miss any recommendations, sign up here.

    The post Revealed! Book Club Choices for September. Such Good Books. appeared first on Gretchen Rubin.

     
  • feedwordpress 20:50:38 on 2016/07/29 Permalink
    Tags: , Buy Books, , ,   

    I Need Suggestions! What’s a Great Book to Read on an Airplane? 


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    airplane-reading-suggestions

    My daughter and I are going to London next week. I’m not a huge traveler, but I know that novelty and challenge boost happiness, that new experiences stay in the memory better than familiar experiences, and that shared adventures are a great way to get closer to the people we love. And in case there are traveling challenges along the way, I always comfort myself with the Secret of Adulthood that my mother taught me: The things that go wrong often make the best memories.

    Plus I do love London.

    But here’s my question: what books should I take? I’ll have a lot of airplane time, and I love to read on airplanes — I get to focus, without interruption, for so long.  Plus I’ll have reading time while we’re there.

    What books do you suggest? I have a bunch of books in my stack, but none of them seem right. For instance, I have a lot of books about color, but several of them are extremely heavy, and as obsessed as I am with color, it’s not a subject that I want to read about for five hours straight.

    I want a terrific, gripping, beautifully written novel or memoir or book of history.  And I want paperback, so it’s easier to carry.

    My husband suggested John Le Carre’s Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy. Thumbs up?

    What else would you suggest?

    I checked out three e-books from the library (technology is amazing), but I do like to bring physical books as well.

    Do you love reading on airplanes? Where’s your favorite place to read?

    I’m going to the bookstore this weekend, so make your suggestions quickly!

    The post I Need Suggestions! What’s a Great Book to Read on an Airplane? appeared first on Gretchen Rubin.

     
  • feedwordpress 18:20:37 on 2016/07/01 Permalink
    Tags: , , , Buy Books, cartoon, , , , , , , , Richard and Florence Atwater, Roz Chast,   

    Revealed! Book Club Choices for July. Such Great Books. 


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    Gretchen Rubin Book Club Picks - July 2016

    Because nothing boosts happiness more than a great book, each month, I suggest:

    • one outstanding book about happiness or habits
    • one outstanding work of children’s or young-adult literature–I have a crazy passion for kidlit
    • one eccentric pick–a widely admired and excellent book that I love, yes, but one that may not appeal to everyone

     

    Shop at IndieBound, BN.com, or Amazon (I’m an affiliate), or your favorite local bookstore. Or my favorite, visit the library!

    For all the books I choose, I love them; I’ve read most of them at least twice if not many times; and they’re widely admired.  Drumroll…

    A book about happiness, good habits, or human nature:

    Heartburn by Nora Ephron

    Buy from IndieBound; BN.com; Amazon.

     

    An outstanding children’s book:

    Mr. Popper’s Penguins by Richard and Florence Atwater

    Buy from IndieBound; BN.com; Amazon.

     

    An eccentric pick:

    Can’t We Talk About Something More Pleasant? by Roz Chast

    Buy from IndieBound; BN.com; Amazon.

     

    Some readers have said that they wished that I’d describe and make the case for my book choices, instead of just providing links. I’ve noticed that many times, when someone describes a book to me, I want to read it less. And often, weirdly, the better a book is, the worse it sounds.

    Nevertheless, because so many readers have requested it, I’ve decided to give a bit more context for these choices in the book-club newsletter. So if you’d like to know more about why I made these selections, check there. To get that free monthly book-club newsletter, and to make sure you don’ t miss any recommendations, sign up here.

    If you read last month’s recommendations…what did you think?

    The post Revealed! Book Club Choices for July. Such Great Books. appeared first on Gretchen Rubin.

     
  • feedwordpress 15:00:56 on 2016/06/03 Permalink
    Tags: , Buy Books, , , , , Felice Cohen, , , , interior design, , , organizing, , , , ,   

    “Just Like It’s Not Easy to Lose Weight, It’s Not Easy for People to Let Go of Their Past.” 


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    felicecohen

    Interview: Felice Cohen.1pix

    I learned about Felice Cohen when I, like twelve million other people, watched a short video where she showed of her 90-square-foot Manhattan studio. (90 square feet is about the size of a Honda Accord, if that helps you visualize how small this space is.)

    Several people emailed me about the video, both because it was about dealing with possessions and home, which is a subject that I love, and also because — you can see that she’s reading my book The Happiness Project! Which was so fun.

    To see the cameo of The Happiness Project, go to minute 1:01.

    Now Felice Cohen has a new book about living in a tiny space. In 90 Lessons for Living Large in 90 Square Feet (or More), she talks about de-cluttering, organizing, and issues about how to live large in a small space.

    I wanted to ask Felice for her thoughts on happiness, habits, and home.

    Gretchen: What’s a simple habit that consistently makes you happier?

    Felice: Writing out a new To Do list. Seeing the tasks I’ve already crossed out makes me feel accomplished, while writing out new goals inspires me. A To Do list also adds structure to my day and frees up mental space I’d otherwise spend trying to remember all that I need to do. Best of all, these lists capture life’s moments. When I was the Chief of Staff to the president at Hunter College, I kept one large notebook and wrote down everything I had to do, often filling one or two entire pages a day. With each completed task, I would put one line through it and write the date. On occasion I would be asked days or weeks later if something ever got done. Looking back through pages to confirm, I would always be amazed by what I had succeeded at doing.

    What’s something you know now about forming healthy habits that you didn’t know when you were 18 years old?

    Healthy habits are cumulative. Eating right, exercising, working towards your goals and believing in yourself are investments for your long-term health and happiness. I now go into every situation with an open mind thinking it will have a positive outcome. And why not? Life is full of surprises and while things may not always go your way, having a positive attitude can at least reduce the sting when they don’t. Best of all, I know there’s always next time.

    Which habits are most important to you? (for health, for creativity, for productivity, for leisure, etc.)

    Exercise. While I also make sure to eat right and get enough sleep, exercise is crucial to my being able to write and organize a client’s home or office. I suffer from occasional bouts of lower back pain and when that happens I can barely stand up, let alone get anything done. As long as I exercise (cycle, walk, yoga, stand up paddle board) everyday, I’m okay. Plus, the endorphins are great and who doesn’t want to feel strong? It’s also part of my long-term goal to keep my body resilient to aging, so I can continue to do the things I love. Many people ask how I find the time. Simple. I don’t have a lot of stuff and I’m organized and efficient with my time. When you spend less time looking for stuff, cleaning stuff or working to pay off stuff, you’ll find you have a lot more time to do the things you love.

    I also make my bed first thing every morning. It sets a productive intention to the day.

    Have you ever managed to gain a challenging healthy habit—or to break an unhealthy habit? If so, how did you do it?

    When I lived in the 90-square-foot NYC studio, I didn’t have a kitchen and only a mini fridge. At first I went out to dinner or got take out every night. I was living on the Upper West Side where there are endless restaurants. I soon realized I was spending a lot of money, plus you don’t always know what’s going into the food. I had a toaster oven (where I made my Shrinky Dinks art), so I decided to put that to good use. I soon got really good at making meals in the toaster, plus got accustomed to making salads in the airplane-sized bathroom sink! I also gave myself an incentive. The money I saved from going out to eat, I put towards a new bicycle.

    Would you describe yourself as an Upholder, a Questioner, a Rebel, or an Obliger?

    Upholder. All. Day. Long. I look at life as an endless road of possibilities. I grew up thinking I could achieve anything I wanted. (My mom was always taking me to the library and my favorite book was Girls Can Be Anything by Norma Klein. I was also a varsity athlete and was recruited to play two Division 1 sports. I loved competing, but more so, I loved the camaraderie of being part of a team. If we lost a game, I wouldn’t brood like some other teammates. Sure, winning was fun, but at that age, I knew that either outcome didn’t really matter. It was only a game. Life to me sometimes feels like a game. We can either enjoy it or be defensive all the time. I choose to be on the Enjoy It Team.

    Does anything tend to interfere with your ability to keep your healthy habits? (e.g. travel, parties)

    December. There’s a holiday craft fair in Manhattan that sells enormous gingerbread cookies from a farm upstate. Those cookies are my kryptonite. (Okay, that and Nutella.) The key I found to battling things that interfere with healthy habits is to give in to them once in a while. (In my case, a few weeks out of the year.) It’s something I look forward to and enjoy. I mean, what else am I going to live for? Kale? Be real.

    Do you embrace habits or resist them?

    Embrace. Habits to me signify change and change represents new possibilities. I’ve met many people whose first reaction is to resist change. “But I’ve always done it this way.”  I think they fear it will make their lives harder. Many of my clients have a hard time getting rid of stuff. “I might need that one day!” We get attached to things and don’t think we’ll be able to live without it. But there is not one person who I’ve helped get rid of bags and bags (and for many, more bags!) of stuff who didn’t feel happy and free when I was done. Just like it’s not easy to lose weight, it’s not easy for people to let go of their past. Once I explain getting rid of stuff does not mean they’re forgetting their past, but making room for their future with new experiences, they’re more able to part with things they no longer have use for but are keeping out of habit.

    Has another person ever had a big influence on your habits?

    A boss at my alma mater: the University of Massachusetts Amherst. I helped run orientation for 4,500 new students every summer for seven years. My boss had many rules, but her most important – “Better 10 minutes early than one minute late,” was etched into our brains, ensuring that we’d be where we needed to be and on time. That maxim has benefited me numerous times ever since. Whether I was catching a flight, working with a client or even meeting a friend, being early not only keeps my stress level down, but I have also met new people and seen sights I would otherwise have missed.

    The post “Just Like It’s Not Easy to Lose Weight, It’s Not Easy for People to Let Go of Their Past.” appeared first on Gretchen Rubin.

     
  • feedwordpress 16:47:46 on 2016/06/02 Permalink
    Tags: aphorisms, , , , , Buy Books, , letters, , proverbs,   

    Book Club Choices Revealed! Three Excellent Books to Read in June. 


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    Gretchen Rubin Book Club Picks

    Because nothing boosts happiness more than a great book, each month, I suggest:

    • one outstanding book about happiness or habits
    • one outstanding work of children’s or young-adult literature–I have a crazy passion for kidlit
    • one eccentric pick–a widely admired and excellent book that I love, yes, but one that may not appeal to everyone

     

    Shop at IndieBound, BN.com, or Amazon (I’m an affiliate), or your favorite local bookstore. Or my favorite, visit the library!

    For all the books I choose, I love them; I’ve read most of them at least twice if not many times; and they’re widely admired.  Drumroll…

    A book about happiness, good habits, or human nature:

    Gnomologia: Adagies and Proverbs; Wise Sentences and Witty Sayings, Ancient and Modern, Foreign and British by Thomas Fuller

    Buy from IndieBound; BN.com; Amazon.

     

    An outstanding children’s book:

    Because of Winn-Dixie by Kate DiCamillo

    Buy from IndieBound; BN.com; Amazon.

     

    An eccentric pick:

    The Selected Letters of Laura Ingalls Wilder edited by William Anderson

    Buy from IndieBound; BN.com; Amazon.

     

    Some readers have said that they wished that I’d describe and make the case for my book choices, instead of just providing links. I’ve noticed that many times, when someone describes a book to me, I want to read it less. And often, weirdly, the better a book is, the worse it sounds.

    Nevertheless, because so many readers have requested it, I’ve decided to give a bit more context for these choices in the book-club newsletter. So if you’d like to know more about why I made these selections, check there. To get that free monthly book-club newsletter, and to make sure you don’ t miss any recommendations, sign up here.

    If you read last month’s recommendations…what did you think?

    The post Book Club Choices Revealed! Three Excellent Books to Read in June. appeared first on Gretchen Rubin.

     
  • feedwordpress 12:06:18 on 2016/05/05 Permalink
    Tags: , , , , Buy Books, first impressions, , Mary Poppins, P. L. Travers,   

    Book Club Choices Revealed! Three Terrific Books to Read in May. 


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    booksinlargelibrary

    Because nothing boosts happiness more than a great book, each month, I suggest:

    • one outstanding book about happiness or habits
    • one outstanding work of children’s or young-adult literature–I have a crazy passion for kidlit
    • one eccentric pick–a widely admired and excellent book that I love, yes, but one that may not appeal to everyone

     

    Shop at IndieBound, BN.com, or Amazon (I’m an affiliate), or your favorite local bookstore.

    Or my favorite, visit the library! In fact, for my second episode of “A Little Happier” — the new 2-minute mini-episodes of my podcast I’m doing each week — I talked about how much I love going to the library. Listen here.

    For all the books I choose, I love them; I’ve read most of them at least twice if not many times; and they’re widely admired.  Drumroll…

    A book about happiness, good habits, or human nature:

    First Impressions: What You Don’t Know About How Others See You by Ann Demarais and Valerie White

    Buy from IndieBound; BN.com; Amazon.

     

    An outstanding children’s book:

    Mary Poppins by P. L. Travers

    Buy from IndieBound; BN.com; Amazon.

     

    An eccentric pick:

    Important Artifacts and Personal Property from the Collection of Lenore Doolan and Harold Morris by Leanne Shapton

    Buy from IndieBound; BN.com; Amazon.

     

    Some readers have said that they wished that I’d describe and make the case for my book choices, instead of just providing links. I’ve noticed that many times, when someone describes a book to me, I want to read it less. And often, weirdly, the better a book is, the worse it sounds.

    Nevertheless, because so many readers have requested it, I’ve decided to give a bit more context for these choices in the book-club newsletter. So if you’d like to know more about why I made these selections, check there. To get that free monthly book-club newsletter, and to make sure you don’ t miss any recommendations, sign up here.

    If you read last month’s recommendations…what did you think?

    The post Book Club Choices Revealed! Three Terrific Books to Read in May. appeared first on Gretchen Rubin.

     
  • feedwordpress 15:07:08 on 2016/03/19 Permalink
    Tags: , Buy Books, , , , Strategy of the Lightning Bolt, ,   

    I’m Off for Spring Break! (Mostly) See You in a Week. 


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    vacationcomputerkey

    It’s time for spring break! I’m off for the week with my family. I’ll post on Wednesday, when the new episode of Happier with Gretchen Rubin becomes available, but other than that, I’m off.

    Every spring, my family takes exactly the same vacation with my in-laws. Very relaxing, lots of fun. In fact, it was on this vacation for years ago that I had the Lightning Bolt moment that completely transformed my eating habits — in a way that has made me very happy — after I read Gary Taubes’s book, Why We Get Fat. (I talk about that Lightning Bolt here.)

    If you’re thinking, “But Gretchen, I will so miss reading your entries while you’re taking a break!” well, you’re in luck…

    You can read The Happiness Project — my bestselling account of the year I spent working on my happiness. It was a #1 New York Times bestseller and stayed on the list for two years. Yowza.

    You can read Happier at Home — also a New York Times bestseller. I went deeper into the subject of happiness, thinking about issues related to home, like relationships, possessions, neighborhood, time. If we’re not happy at home, it’s hard to be happy.

    You can read Better Than Before — also a New York Times bestseller (I never get tired of typing that). All about how we can make or break our habits. This issue may sound a bit dry to some people, but I promise, it’s a fascinating subject.

    Or you can listen to my podcast, Happier with Gretchen Rubin, where I discuss how to be happier with my brilliant, hilarious sister, Elizabeth Craft. We try to make it fun, thought-provoking, and practical. iTunes named Happier one of the Top Podcasts of 2015. (Not sure how to listen to a podcast? Very easy instructions here. Or you can just get a link to listen by email.)

    Or you can sign up for my daily happiness quotations, to get a great quotation delivered to your in-box each day.

    Or you can sign up for my monthly email newsletter, which has highlights from this site, my podcast, and my Facebook Page. More than 300,000 people get it.

    Okay, that’s enough to keep you busy.

    Now I’m off to the library; I like to bring a lot of books when I go on vacation, because I plan to do a lot of reading.

    I’m also going to work on my current project, my book about the Four Tendencies. It’s a Secret of Adulthood: Doing a little work makes goofing off more fun. Agree, disagree?

    The post I’m Off for Spring Break! (Mostly) See You in a Week. appeared first on Gretchen Rubin.

     
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