Happier At Home – Gretchen Rubin – 8/10

“Yet again, I saw the effect of the resolution to ‘Act the way I want to feel.’ By acting in a thoughtful, loving way, I boosted my feelings of tenderness toward my family. And that contributed more to the happiness of our home than anything else I could do.”

I’ve been reading Gretchen Rubin’s The Happiness Project blog for about 6 months now and I am always struck by how practical and normal and simple and approachable it all is. So I was DELIGHTED when I saw that her second happiness-related book was out of NetGalley.

In Happier At Home, Rubin undertakes another project – a project to make her home happier (having focussed on herself and her general life in The Happiness Project). It’s still quite general and focusses on truths that Rubin learned during her first project. She tackles various themes (possessions, parenthood, marriage, neighbourhood) on a month-by-month basis and while not everything works out how she had planned, she discovers a number of great changes in her life.

“In my mind, the entire globe revolves around a single spot, where a bridge red ‘You Are Here’ arrow hovers undetected above our roof.”

 The writing does seem a little relentlessly optimistic, and I’m a touch suspicious of the alleged perfect relationships with all family members; but it does come across as authentic and real. I found the chapter on marriage particularly touching – Rubin is not always successful in making the more generous choice, but it is very interesting to see someone with Rubin’s talent for articulating feelings examine intra-familial conflict.

“When my days were following their ordinary course, it was hard to remember what was truly important, and my happiness project helped charge my life with more gratitude and contentment.”

I did sit and read this straight through over a number of days (that is, I was reading it as a book rather than a reference text), but I’m very tempted to buy the book in hard copy as a reference text – something to dip into now and again for ideas and inspiration and consolation.

Additional information:
Copy provided by the publisher via NetGalley in return for an honest review.
Publisher: Crown, 320 pages (hardback) – I read it on my Kindle.
Pre-order Happier at Home: Kiss More, Jump More, Abandon a Project, Read Samuel Johnson, and My Other Experiments in the Practice of Everyday Life from Amazon*
* this is an affiliate link – I will be paid a small percentage of your purchase price if you use this link, which goes towards give-aways and site hosting
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6 thoughts on “Happier At Home – Gretchen Rubin – 8/10

  1. Alex September 5, 2012 at 11:20 am Reply

    Have you decided to implement some of her actions to your own home?

    • readingwithtea September 10, 2012 at 12:28 pm Reply

      I did, but I don’t know whether it is a testament to the intangibility of ebooks or a fault of the writing that I find myself thinking of them when I do the thing by accident (e.g. one of the tips was to cultivate nice smells, and I remember the tip when I see my perfume bottle, but I don’t remember the tip unprompted). (I read the book a few months ago but scheduled the review for release day)

  2. Chinoiseries September 5, 2012 at 12:12 pm Reply

    Have you picked up any useful tips from this book? :) I’m a bit suspicious of too-perfect scenarios… my family is not like that at all.

    • readingwithtea September 10, 2012 at 12:28 pm Reply

      A couple. I need to re-read the book.
      I think if you’re going to put your own family in a book, you’re entitled to editorial rights on reality…

  3. […] More on that later, but I picked up Gretchen Rubin’s The Happiness Project – I loved Happier At Home and I’m an avid follower of her […]

  4. […] absolutely loved Happier at Home, and I really enjoy these “year of…” memoirs. I do love a bit of watching someone […]

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