Revealed! Book Club Choices for September. 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: Bertrand Russell, The Conquest of Happiness.

Buy The Conquest of Happiness from WORD; BN.comAmazon.

An outstanding children’s book: Madeleine L’Engle, A Wrinkle in Time.

Buy A Wrinkle in Time from WORD;; Amazon.

An eccentric pick: Winston Churchill, My Early Life. 

Buy My Early Life 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? Lyubomirsky’s The How of Happiness, Cashore’s Graceling, and Novik’s His Majesty’s Dragon.

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  • I love “A Wrinkle in Time”! I just bought the whole trilogy from my local library sale, but I have not read the next 2 books yet. Did you read “A Swiftly Tilting Planet” or “A Wind in the Door” yet?

    • gretchenrubin

      Oh yes, I’ve read all of L’Engle. My next-favorite is probably Meet the Austins.

      • peninith1

        On your recommendation, I have just read “Meet the Austins.” Very good family story–seems ‘ideal’ in some ways, but oh so real in others–the ‘safety’ is not given by the universe, it is the family and their faith and (I notice very much!) their daily routines that shelters them from the storms that inevitably come–from nowhere, from our small mistakes, from our natural moments of inattention and irritability. It is their joy in the routines and their attention to the big things in nature, and of course their mutual love that gets them through.

        I would recommend this book both for kids who are ‘safe’ and kids whose lives have been disrupted and for adults. Would that I could have been so ‘recollected’ as a parent.

        • gretchenrubin

          Just as good is the sequel, The Moon By Night. So GOOD!

  • A Wrinkle in Time is one of my favorites! I was lucky enough to meet L’Engle at a signing when I was in 3rd grade and she was so gracious.

  • Peninith1

    Gretchen, up to now I have resisted the children’s literature. But I just bought and am re-reading Lloyd Alexander’s Prydain Chronicles, and plan to save the set up for my grandson to enjoy, as his father and uncle did so many years ago. Thanks for the reminders to go back and take another look at the things I loved so much in the past!

    • gretchenrubin

      I’ve been MEANING to re-read these myself. Now adding The Black Cauldron (that’s the first, right?) to my library list.

      • Peninith1

        1,The Book of Three; 2,The Black Cauldron; 3,The Castle of Llyr; 4,Taran Wanderer and 5,The High King. There is also a Mabinogion-based series of novels written for more adult readers that is awe inspiring and excellent. Evangeline Walton is the author of the ‘Mabinogion Tetralogy’ and it is available from Amazon for Kindle. Guess that will be my next step!!

  • Sabrina

    I just finished The Conquest of Happiness! The essays were written somewhere around 50 to 60 years ago, but I love how relevant the book still is, particularly about happiness in the modern age and the negative emotions and mindsets we deal with on a day to day basis. Bertrand Russell is incredibly progressive and not dated at all. I would highly recommend it and I was really surprised but happy that it showed up on this blog.

  • Eva

    Hi, Gretchen,
    I’m serously thrilled! Yesterday I subscribed for your daily blogpost mail and today I got the first mail. Of course your book club choices are a little bit strange for me – I live in Germany and I have my own book list depending on the interests of a seventy-year-old senior. But for my children I liked to read the books of Laura Ingalls Wilder and in the last weeks I read your book:The Happyness Project (in German). So I found at least one interesting suggestion for me – Bertrand Russell. I’ll try to get it in the library. Thanks for all your suggestions – in book and mail – and greetings from the other side of the Atlantic!

    • gretchenrubin


  • Sal

    If you haven’t read When You Reach Me, please try it. I love A Wrinkle in Time and this newer book’s references to the classic made it an excellent read.

    • gretchenrubin

      Ah yes, love that book!

    • Catherine

      I put When You Reach Me on my wish list. Thanks for the recommendation…Wrinkle In Time is a favorite of mine.

  • Judi

    I can’t believe I never read A Wrinkle in Time when I was kid! I went to Barnes and Noble today and bought it, along with The Perks of Being a Wallflower. Having a nice lazy day reading on the couch! Thanks GR!

  • endomental

    I’m going to re-read A Wrinkle in Time. Thanks!

  • Rebekah

    I first heard A Wrinkle in Time when I was in the 6th grade and our teacher– one of those you remember forever— read a portion of it out loud to us at the end of every day. You would think 6th graders would scoff at being read to, but it was such a wonderfully magical memory that now, at age 56, I can still recall where I sat and how she sounded. (This woman also succeeded in explaining Einstein’s Theory of Relativity so well that I went home & ‘taught’ it to my parents over supper. ) Thank you, Mrs. McAtee in Johnson City, TN.
    I bought this book a while back to have on hand for when my own grandchildren are old enough to read it, and decided to read it myself. It was just as good this time as it was 45 years ago, even without Mrs. McAtee’s voice.

  • Superb choices, Gretchen!

  • Rachael

    I read “A Wrinkle in Time” first when I was home from school, sick. I was in 7th grade then and I still love the book.

  • Green Solution Collective

    Bertrand Russell, The Conquest of Happiness. Does this have any hard copies?

  • Rayski

    I am reading The Conquest of Happiness now. I discovered it from one of your lists before. Thank you so much for the recommendation. I think this is a wonderful book and still very revenant.

  • Thoughts&Things

    I just read a novel from my daughters stack that I would highly recommend. “Code Name Verity” by Elizabeth Wein. Two English friends contributing to the war effort in 1943. Plus it is vampire and zombie-free. . .

    • gretchenrubin

      I really enjoyed it, too.

      Though I don’t object to vampires!

  • Mary

    I’m disagreeing with quite a bit of The Conquest of Happiness. Some of it just seems wrong compared with modern research. And It still shocks me when I read some of the sexist or racist ideas that were commonplace in that age (I think it was written in the 1930s). I like some of it though. Here is my favorite quote so far: “Nothing is so exhausting as indecision, and nothing is so futile.”

  • DDH

    Loved (in elementary school) and love in adulthood: A Wrinkle in Time. I read it to my husband on a road trip about 10 years ago, and he loved it, too! It was a fun trip! The temperature was over 110 degrees but after hours in the car with my air-conditioned husband, I arrived at destination with my jacket zipped up to my chin and long socks on my feet and hands. But I was still able to read!

  • Yesenia Duran

    I’ve had the pleasure of reading and rereading A Wrinkle in Time over the years. It’s one of my favorites. I would also suggest the follow up novel: A Wind at the Door.