Revealed! Book Club Choices for December. 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–an excellent book that I love, yes, but one that may not appeal to 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:

–Baumeister and Tierney, Willpower: Rediscovering the Greatest Human Strength.

Buy from WORD; BN.comAmazon.

An outstanding young-adult book:

–Peter Cameron’s Someday This Pain Will Be Useful to You.

Buy from WORD;; Amazon.

An eccentric pick:

Lytton Strachey’s Queen Victoria.

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? Roenneberg’s Internal Time; Pope’s The Sherwood Ring; and LeBlanc’s Random Family.

So, so, so good.

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  • peninith1

    Very interested in the Lytton Strachey. Who has seen the very interesting film called CARRINGTON, about his long one-sided love affair (hers, not his) of the gifted painter Dora (?) Carrington with Strachey. Fine acting and an interesting story about people I found very touching, although I had a most difficult time identifying with any of them. Anyway, I think I would enjoy Strachey’s wit, exercised upon the somewhat infuriating figure of the long-lived Empress of Empire.

    • peninith1

      and oh isn’t George Orwell spinning in his writerly grave about my doubling of boring old ‘very interesting’ in one line!!!!

  • BKF

    I thoroughly enjoyed The Sherwood Ring and Internal Time made me think. Thanks for recommending these books, Gretchen.

    • gretchenrubin

      I’m so happy to hear you enjoyed them!

  • lcn

    For your kid lit group may I suggest Sharon Creech’s newest book The Boy on the Porch. It is a very touching look at families. Also, The Great Unexpected by Sharon Creech was a great read.

    • gretchenrubin

      I love Sharon Creech, but haven’t read that yet. Thanks for the suggestion.

  • Jayme

    Great list, thanks!

    • cookiil


  • sopranomom

    I’ve read Willpower: Rediscovering the Greatest Human Strength within the last year (at your recommendation in an earlier post). It really helped me understand myself and how my willpower falters when I’ve pushed myself to the point of a migraine. It also helped me understand my ADHD adult kids and how to help them.

    • gretchenrubin

      Great to hear that you found it a good choice.

    • peninith1

      Agree. I also read this after you posted about it, Gretchen. It has helped me a lot to understand that I have to be very careful how I let this resource become depleted. I think the author’s compassionate approach to ‘the Oprah effect’ (how can accomplished people be so great about will power every where else in their lives, but not about food?) was super helpful in UNDERSTANDING myself, though I don’t want it to be my path to letting myself off the hook. I just know now that this is a vulnerability that won’t go away, and that if I want to overcome my weight problem and maintain over the long term, I will have to carefully manage not to deliberately or carelessly challenge myself in this area. Knowledge certainly is an important step to self control!

  • Josee

    I’m a french reader and to practice my English, I decided to buy your book in English instead of French. I’m very impressed by your book. I haven’t finished it yet and I can tell you that it brings some reflexions. Thanks you.

    • cookiil

      I am a chinese , I want to learn some French. nice to meet you .we can study english together maybe

  • MichyMich

    Hi, just came on here for the first time because I am reading Happy at Home and I love it. Thank you so much for reminding me about Random Family. I read this almost 10 years ago (ack!) and feel that it was grossly underrated and did not get the attention it deserved, I think it’s time for a reread.

    • gretchenrubin

      So happy to hear that you enjoyed Happier at Home – and Random Family.

  • theshubox

    i just wanted to share that i have incredibly lofty goals of finally getting to some of these books next year 🙂 maybe on maternity leave!

    any recommendations for audiobooks? i’m 35-40 min each way commuter these days and would love to know if there are any books that you have found to have high impact when listened to (if you ever do that – i’m not sure!)

    • gretchenrubin

      My younger daughter showed me the tremendous fun of audiobooks. So far I’ve only listened to children’s books on audio, highly recommend the Little House books (Cherry Jones reads, so perfect), Narnia books, Harry Potter OF COURSE and right now I’m listening to Graceling.

      I can only listen to a book that I know well. I can’t take in the information in a book through my ears, only through my eyes, unless it’s very familiar.

    • Cindy May

      My friend recently recommended a couple David Sedaris books read by him that she finds absolutely hilarious – “Holidays on Ice” and “Me Talk Pretty One Day” (Sedaris learning to speak French after moving to France). Having heard excerpts read by him from “When You Are Engulfed in Flames,” I think she’s right that there’s nothing funnier than listening to him read aloud his own books.

      • gretchenrubin

        I agree, he’s got a very distinctive voice that takes a little getting used to, then it’s fantastic.

  • cookiil

    it is so perfect

  • yifat

    I just love your picks and wait for them every month. thank you. I just read and LOVED a book that was recommended somewhere and it drives me crazy not remembering who recommended it, PLEASE say it was you, if only for my mind to stop obsessing about it. the book is – the prime of miss jean brodie by muriel spark

    • gretchenrubin

      Ah yes! I can put your mind to rest. I recommended that for the book club.
      I’m so happy to hear that you loved it. I LOVE that book, more every time I read it.

      • Yifat

        Haaaa thank you! Wonderful book