Revealed! The Making of a Scientist, Happy Summertime Adventures, and the Frustrations of the Push-Pull Door.

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

— one outstanding book about happiness or habits or human nature

— 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, BN.com, 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.

Now, for the three book-club choices.  (I couldn’t find my copy of the Norman book, and it was checked out of the library, so I took some liberty with the photo.)

Drumroll…


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

Lab Girl by Hope Jahren

I love books about people coming into their vocation, and often, scientists write the best books of this kind. Also, every once in a while, when I read a book, I conclude, “This person’s mind works in a completely different way from mine. They are making decisions, making observations, and doing things that are beyond what I could imagine.” This is one of those books. Thought-provoking and engaging.

Buy from IndieBound; BN.com; Amazon.


An outstanding children’s book:

Gone-Away Lake by Elizabeth Enright

Usually, I don’t recommend more than one book by an author. But I decided to break this rule, because A) I love Elizabeth Enright’s books so much and B) they do fall into two distinct sets. I’ve already recommended The Saturdays, the first book in the brilliant Melendy series, and I just can’t resist recommending Gone-Away Lake, too. Two cousins discover a lake that dried up when a new dam was built so that the old resort houses were abandoned. But two wonderful old people, a brother and sister live there, and entertain the children in all sorts of adventures. Club house, island shack, bog flowers, goats, hidden treasure, and so forth. I’ve read it a million times.

Buy from IndieBound; BN.com; Amazon.


An eccentric pick:

The Design of Everyday Things by Don Norman

This book examines — no surprise — the design of everyday things, and after I read it, I never looked at a store door the same way. Why do some doors make us want to push, and others, to pull? So much so, in fact, that the store has to put a handwritten sign on the door, telling us to do the opposite of what seems natural? Why do we sometimes put the mail in the refrigerator? Why are tea pots often so hard to use? Never fear — if you look at the Table of Contents for this book, it looks very dry and boring, but the book itself is fascinating and accessible.

Buy from IndieBound; BN.com; 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.

If you have any great suggestions for summer reading, send them my way.

  • Tana

    Oh, I so look forward to your book club post every month. But alas! this month two of your recommendations are already personal favorites! Lab Girl was fabulous, and I never tire of Elizabeth Enright (nor do my children) – her books are read and re-read by all at our house. Not to worry – there are selections from previous months that I didn’t quite get to but wanted to read so I am not lacking for good reading material. Once again, I love your book club posts. Thanks so much!

    • gretchenrubin

      Terrific! that’s great to hear.

      Great to hear from a fellow fan of Elizabeth Enright – did you know she wrote short stories for adults? EXCELLENT.

  • diana

    Hope Jahren, the author, reads the audio version of Lab Girl and it is amazing. Full of emotion. The day I finished I raved about it to a good friend – turned out she was high school friends with Hope back in Austin, Minnesota. I loved all of Elizabeth Enright’s books when I was young – I should reread

  • Love, love, love the Melendy books. Didn’t know about Gone-Away Lake and will check it out. And my husband and I have thoroughly enjoyed Design of Everyday Things–owned a copy for years.

  • Rachel Goldstein

    And yet another distinctly different book of Elizabeth Enright: Tatsinda. Wonderful!