Revealed! Happiness Project Book Club Picks for January. Happy Reading.

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

  • One outstanding book about happiness.
  • One outstanding work of children’s or young-adult literature. I have a crazy passion for kidlit.
  • One eccentric pick. This is a book that I love, but freely admit may not be for everyone.

I’ll post these recommendations here, or to make sure you don’t miss them, sign up for the monthly Book Club newsletter.

Shop at the wonderful Brooklyn indie WORD,, Amazon (I’m an affiliate of all three), or your favorite local bookstore. Or visit the library! Drumroll…

An outstanding book about happiness: Elizabeth von Arnim’s The Enchanted April.  Buy from WORD;; Amazon.

An outstanding children’s book: Edward Eager’s Half MagicBuy from WORD;; Amazon.

An eccentric pick: Elias Canetti’s Crowds and Power. Buy from WORD; Amazon.

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. So I won’t describe these books, but I love all the books I recommend; I’ve read them at least twice if not many times; and they’re widely loved.

If you read last month’s recommendations…what did you think? Did you enjoy the choices? Jung’s Memories, Dreams, Reflections; Susan Cooper’s The Dark Is Rising; Christopher Alexander’s A Pattern Language. All so good! (I think.) Add your comments here.

Happy reading!

  • Mary Martin

    So you like the book enchanted April – I tried once and failed – I am such a fan of the movie…should I try again?

    • Cherela

      Try again…you can always put it down if you don’t care for it. Worth a try!

      • gretchenrubin

        I myself like the book much better than the movie…give it another shot!

  • Yay! Thank you for these book recommendations! I will definitely check them out. I just finished reading yours and am in need of a new one!

  • A more recent book on crowds would be The Wisdom of Crowds by James Surowiecki, if you like the Canetti. It was interesting!

  • My pick for this month….The Dragonfly Effect – Quick, Effective Ways to Use Social Media to Drive Social Change – by Andy Smith and Jennifer Aaker (teaches classes about happiness at Stanford).

    • gretchenrubin

      I read that, too! Great book.

  • Oh…..and of course Happier at Home <got it for Christmas 🙂

  • I am reading The Happieness Project now.

    • gretchenrubin

      I hope you enjoy it!

  • Grandma Honey

    I’m disappointed that you aren’t giving any reviews of these books. I would so love to know what it was that resonated with you about them. But I’ve come to trust your judgement so I guess I should just go read them and find out for myself, right?

    • Aleisha

      Agree! I find the straight-up recs don’t inspire me at all. I wish you’d write *something* about why you chose a certain book. Doesn’t have to be a full-on review/summary.

    • gretchenrubin

      I promise, they are TERRIFIC!

  • Two of my resolutions this year are to read more books and to read more eclectically. I think following THP Book Club will help me accomplish both of those goals. I’m looking forward to picking up some of your recommendations this year!

    • gretchenrubin

      Terrific. I hope you love the books as much as I do.

  • Ann

    I got A Pattern Language out of the library and wow is it long and complicated. Is there a “cliff notes” version anywhere? Seems like so much of it is about building communities and streets, but I just want to make small changes in my home!

    • gretchenrubin

      I have to confess that I mostly skip ahead to the part about home design, myself. Flip forward to where it starts to interest you; look at the headings. It looks more complicated than it is…just browse around at what catches your interest. You don’t have to read it in order.

  • I found a link for a free Kindle version of The Enchanted April: Can’t wait to start it this evening!

  • Deb

    Half Magic is one of my all time favorite books as a child and as an adult! I love reading and recommending it to children. It is always a hit. I think I will reread it again for the hundredth time! Thanks for the suggestion!

    • gretchenrubin

      All of Edward Eager’s books are so, so good. Happy re-reading!

  • Cherela

    I loved Edward Eager’s books as a child…a great choice. The Enchanted April is also a favorite book of mine (I liked the movie, but the book has more depth).

  • Lori

    I had never heard of The Enchanted April. I checked it out of the library last week and now am half way through. I love it! I can already tell it will be a favorite of mine. Thank you!!

    • gretchenrubin

      Next read “Elizabeth and Her German Garden.” So good.

  • Amanda

    I know I’m a few months off, but I was going back through your older book suggestions lists. My 8 year old stepson and I are reading half magic. So far we love it!

  • Carolien

    I finally started reading Enchanted April this week and just wanted to come back and say thank you for the recommendation. I love it.
    Have you ever thought of setting up a reading group on Goodreads for those of us who are members to join and discuss your monthly books?

    • gretchenrubin

      So happy to hear you like it!

      That’s a great idea about Goodreads. I’ll explore!

    • gretchenrubin

      Me again, thinking about this.

      You can always post comments and discussion on that month’s post – every month, on the first day of the month, there’s a post on those selections. Is that not enough of a way to communicate?

      • Carolien

        My own experience this time was that once I started reading, I realised it was a recommendation from somebody, but couldn’t immediately remember the source. Eliminated my Goodreads groups first, then came back and searched the blog. I would probably have given up in the quest if it wasn’t that I enjoyed the book so much.
        Rereading the blog post, I now want to recommend the Children’s pick to a friend, so have to do the reverse. Take it from here, search on Goodreads and then send the recommendation to add it to her To be Read list on Goodreads since I know she’ll be more likely to read it if it is on her list.
        I think the value would be:
        That people can immediately add it to the To be read lists on Goodreads and recommend easily;
        You’ll be able to get exposure for your blog and other activities via the site – I keep up with a few blogs by following the author on Goodreads and getting updates on new posts there;
        There would probably be more sharing of book ideas between members in the group so everybody benefits since there is probably a reasonably similar taste of books in the group;
        You could develop Happiness themed book challenges or projects for your group which could again feed into your other activities;
        The site is used as a source by publishers for research and it may drive some metrics related to your own books in the process;
        I’m not a great social media user myself, but use Goodreads extensively and over time I have realised there are quite a few people on Goodreads like myself who will follow blogs and so on, but are not active Facebook users etc. These are people who will get more exposure to you in the process.
        I have looked you up as an author on Goodreads previously, but since there is relatively little activity on your profile, follow the blog which I have done for a few years.
        Thanks so much for considering the idea. I enjoy your blog and still have a few book recommendations to read!

        • gretchenrubin

          Thanks so much for these ideas! I’m going to investigate.

  • Lori

    I am finally getting around to commenting on this 🙂 Thank you for introducing me to Elizabeth von Arnim. I truly enjoyed this book and was able to find others by her available on Kindle. I especially enjoyed Elizabeth and Her German Garden. Thank you, Gretchen.

    • gretchenrubin

      Ah, LOVE that book.