I am a voracious reader, and have been since I read “Q is for Duck” by myself when I was 4. I plan to do an occasional short book review here for my fellow bibliophiles. I doubt I’ll review every book I read, but I hope to write reviews of the books I particularly enjoy as I read them.
i just finished “Happier at Home” by Gretchen Rubin. I read her first happiness book, “The Happiness Project” two years ago, and enjoyed it not only for its insights, but also for Rubin’s meandering writing style, which I find similar to Bill Bryson’s style. If you haven’t, read Bryson’s book “At Home”. It’s great.
Anyway, I enjoyed Rubin’s new book as much as the first one. Rubin set out to make her home a happier place to be. I think the book can be summed up in these few sentences in the final chapter: “My home was a reflection of me: It would be serene, festive, loving, and welcoming only if I brought that spirit to it. To feel more at home at home, I must carry my home, my treasure, within me. A happy home wasn’t a place that I could furnish, but an attitude of mind I must develop” (252).
My favorite lessons of the book are a few of Rubin’s “splendid truths”: “The days are long but the years are short,” “I’m not happy unless I think I’m happy,” “The only person I can change is myself,” and “Happy people make people happy, but I can’t make someone be happy, and no one else can make me happy.”
I whizzed through the book in about a week, and found it very readable. The only thing that bugged me about the book is Rubin’s professed inability to like traveling, but that’s only because I love to travel. Rubin is Rubin. I am who I am. I liked the part where Rubin shared a time when he husband had to go to work on a Saturday. Instead of whining at her husband about it, Rubin bid him a kind farewell, because she knew he was going to go to the office anyway, and fussing about it would only make them part on a sour note. I need to keep that in mind with my own husband: he’s going to do what he’s going to do (because the only person I can change is myself) and I might as well make it pleasant instead of needlessly irritating for both of us.
So if you’re interested in becoming more appreciative of your home, and of the loved ones in your life, and in learning how to boost your happiness at home, I’d recommend this book.