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February 23, 2010

Gretchen Rubin: The Happiness Project

Posted by webmaster
Today's guest blogger Gretchen Rubin, author of The Happiness Project talks about reading groups (our favorite topic) and why they make her happy.

One thing that contributes most to my happiness is book groups. I’m in three groups, myself!

One group is a traditional book club. We meet once a month, eat dinner, and talk about a book – usually a novel, but not always. We mix classics with contemporary fiction.

The other two groups focus on children’s and young-adult literature. I’m a kidlit fanatic, so it’s great fun for me to get together with other people who share this passion for Suzanne Collins, Madeleine L’Engle, and C.S. Lewis.

When I describe these two kidlit book groups, people are often intrigued, because they’ve never heard of a book club with a theme like that.

As I’ve been thinking about happiness, though, I’ve realized that having a book group that focuses on a particular interest is a great way to make friends, learn more, and have conversations about a topic or genre that engages you deeply.

A few of my friends belong to a book group that worked its way through Proust’s Remembrance of Things Past. When they’d finished that, they started on Trollope.

I know of another book club that focuses on foreign-policy books. It’s made up of people who majored in political science or history, but are working in professions that don’t give them a chance to tap into this passion.

I’ve heard from several groups that focus on spiritual books.

I’ve also heard people who have started reading groups that choose books that will help them learn more about happiness! That makes me very happy to hear.

-- Gretchen Rubin, The Happiness Project