Revealed! Three Book Club Choices for January. Happy Reading.

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

— one outstanding book about happiness or habits

— one outstanding work of children’s or young-adult literature–I have a crazy passion for kidlit

— one eccentric pick–a widely admired and excellent book that I love, yes, but one that may not appeal to everyone

Shop at IndieBound,, or Amazon (I’m an affiliate), or your favorite local bookstore. Or my favorite, visit the library!

For all the books I choose, I love them; I’ve read most of them at least twice if not many times; and they’re widely admired.

Bonus book this month: with Shea Olsen, my sister Elizabeth Craft has a new young-adult novel, Flower. The tag line? “She had a plan, then she met him.” Romance, temptation, secrets, and well I remember the phone call when Elizabeth first told about her idea for this book. And now it’s hit the shelves! Check it out.

Now, for the three book-club choices. Drumroll…

A book about happiness, good habits, or human nature:

Absent in the Spring by Agatha Christie

I don’t read many mysteries, but for some reason I felt like reading Agatha Christie’s wonderful Autobiography. In it, she discusses the writing of Absent in the Spring — an unusual book for her, because it isn’t a crime mystery (in fact, Christie wrote it under a pseudonym, Mary Westmacott). It’s about a woman who’s stuck by herself for a few days while traveling, and with that opportunity for self-reflection, she realizes the fundamental ways that she’s misunderstood herself and the people around her. It’s a short, quick, very thought-provoking book.

Buy from IndieBound;; Amazon.


An outstanding children’s book:

The Secret Language by Ursula Nordstrom

Nordstrom was an enormously brilliant, influential editor of children’s books. I’ve read Dear Genius, her terrific book of letters,  three times. She wrote this one children’s book herself, and she wasn’t satisfied by it — which is a shame, because I love it. It’s about Victoria, a young girl who goes to boarding school and makes a best friend there. How I love boarding school books,

Buy from IndieBound;; Amazon.


An eccentric pick:

All About Colour by Janice Lindsay

I’ve become obsessed with the subject of color. All about Colour is one of the most accessible, amusing, and thought-provoking discussions that I’ve read– many books about color are surprisingly dry. Lindsay has a very strong point of view (for instance, she objects to the popularity of white paint) which makes the book fun to read.

Buy from IndieBound;; Amazon.


If you want to make sure you never miss a month’s selections, sign up here for the book club newsletter.

Remember, if you want to see what I read each week, I post a photo of my pile of completed books on my Facebook Page every Sunday night, #GretchenRubinReads.

What books are you excited to read in 2017? I’m always looking for great books to add to my reading list.

  • I love Absent in the Spring! I’ve read some very unkind reviews of it, but to me it rings absolutely true. I think Christie knew a thing or two about false appearances.

    • gretchenrubin

      I found it very thought-provoking. In fact, at my annual “book swap” for my book group, I’m giving it to my friend.

  • Mairsydoats

    I love love love The Secret Language!

    • gretchenrubin

      Terrific! such a lovely book.

  • Trina Summers

    I am working on Book Riot’s Read Harder Challenge for 2017. I finished their 2016 challenge and read books that never would have occurred to me otherwise. I’ve already completed two tasks for this year: a book about sports (Age is Just a Number by Olympic Swimmer Dara Torres) and a book about books (People of the Book by Geraldine Brooks.) Thank goodness for audiobooks, my public library, and suggestions from fellow readers in the Book Riot community on Goodreads!

  • Tana

    I started Absent in the Spring last night based on your recommendation and it is wonderful! I’m listening to the audiobook version which is very well done. Such a delightful book. Thanks for the recommendation!

    • gretchenrubin

      I’m so glad to hear that you’re enjoying it.

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