Tag Archives: young-adult literature

Revealed! Three Excellent Books for April: How to Influence Others, a Romance, and an Art-Filled Memoir.

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. Drumroll…

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

Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion by Robert Cialdini

This is an absolutely fascinating book about persuasion — how do we persuade other people, and what do they do to persuade us? It’s written in an accessible, interesting way, and is one of the rare books that truly transformed my way of seeing the world around me.


Buy from IndieBound; BN.com; Amazon.

An outstanding children’s book:

Flower by Elizabeth Craft and Shea Olsen

Of course I can’t resist recommending the excellent young-adult novel by my sister. The tag line is “She had a plan, then she met him.” There’s romance, temptation, secrets, family drama, best friends, college applications, extravagant gestures, celebrity...delicious. If you enjoy listening to Elizabeth on the Happier podcast, you might get a kick out of reading her book.

Buy from IndieBound; BN.com; Amazon.

An eccentric pick:

Another Part of the Wood: A Self-Portrait by Kenneth Clark

I love memoirs, and I loved reading this self-portrait of Kenneth Clark, the museum director, art historian, and presenter of the blockbuster TV series Civilisation. I especially love reading memoirs by people who describe why they love their work so much.

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.

I continue to read book after book on the subject of color — it’s odd to find myself fascinated by this highly specialized topic. It’s definitely contributing to my desire to collect giant sets of colored pens and colored markers — which I can now use in the coloring book I created! The Happiness Project Mini-Posters: A Coloring Book with 20 Hand-lettered Quotes to Pull Out and Frame hit the shelves this week. It shot to  #1 in Adult Coloring Books (a surprisingly large category) which made me very happy.

Lately I’ve been in the mood for memoirs. Any great ones to recommend? Or books about color, of course.

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, BN.com, 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; BN.com; Amazon.

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

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

Looking for Some Reading Suggestions in Children’s or Young-Adult Literature?

I’ve written many times about my love for children’s and young-adult literature, and my three kidlit reading groups. A source of great happiness for me! Be Gretchen.

For some reason, in the last few weeks, I’ve seen a spike in requests for suggestions about how to start a group or about what books to read.

As for starting a group, you can adapt the suggestions from the starter kit for starting Happiness Project groups. The specific model followed by my three kidlit groups is: we take turns meeting for dinner at each other’s apartments; we meet every six weeks; we read one or two books for discussion; people can attend even if they haven’t read the book; we choose books by group enthusiasm. In one group, we alternate among classic (Peter Pan), modern (A Wrinkle in Time), and contemporary (The Hunger Games). In the other groups, we just pick what we want.

If you want some ideas of books to read, here are some reading suggestions in children’s and young-adult literature for a group or just for yourself. It pains me to list so few! But this is a good start.

Because they’re already so widely known, I’m not going to list some very obvious ones, like the Harry Potter books, the Narnia books, the The Lord of the Rings books, or my beloved Little House books.

The Golden Compass, Philip Pullman
The Silver Crown, Robert O’Brien
The Secret Garden, Frances Hodgson Burnett
Half Magic, Edward Eager
The Second Mrs. Gioconda, E. L. Konigsberg
Black and Blue Magic, Zilpha Keatley Snyder
Gone-Away Lake, Elizabeth Enright
Graceling, Kristin Cashore
Someday This Pain Will Be Useful to You, Peter Cameron
Greengage Summer, Rumer Godden

This list represents a big range — some are meant for ten-year-olds, some for seventeen-year-olds. But they are all so good that they can be enjoyed by an adult.

I could go on, and on…

What books would you add to this list? So many books, so little time.

* A thoughtful reader sent me the link to a terrific site, How to Be a Retronaut — “a guide to retronautics, going back in time, time-travel, charting history, and living in the past.” There’s so much great material there; for instance, I loved this post on The evolution of brand logos. An even more wonderful post is about The Grenata Street Army, 1915. A photographer befriended a group of children and took photos of them fighting their army “battles.” It reminds me a lot of what my friend and I did with Four to Llewelyn’s Edge.

Need a good book for August? Please consider The Happiness Project (can’t resist mentioning: #1 New York Times bestseller).
Order your copy.
Read sample chapters.
Watch the one-minute book video.
Listen to a sample of the audiobook.

Read about My Children’s Literature Reading Groups in the New York Times!

I’ve written about my children’s literature reading groups before — yes, groups. Along with friends, I’ve started THREE of these groups, and each one is a huge engine of happiness for me.

My friend Pamela Paul (who is herself a member of Kidlit) wrote about the Kidlit groups in the New York Times Book Review today: The Kids’ Book Are All Right. Fun!

If you’re a fan of children’s literature or young-adult literature, what are some of your favorites?

* On Twitter? Follow me, @gretchenrubin.