Nothing makes me happier than reading a great book -- unless it's the chance to talk to other people who've loved that book as well.
Elizabeth and I both love to read, and we know that the listeners of the Happier with Gretchen Rubin podcast love to read, too. For instance, we noticed that "Read more" or "Read X number of books this year" appeared on a huge number of "18 for 2018" and "19 for 2019" lists.
So...announcement! We decided to launch the Happier Podcast Book Club.
Several times a year on the Happier podcast, we'll announce a book, and then some episodes later, we'll discuss it.
If you choose to read along, you can post your questions and comments here on this blog post, on #happierpodcastbookclub or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
If we can, we'll have the author as our guest.
We're tremendously excited to announce our first pick. This choice was easy. It's a thought-provoking, beautifully written memoir that's so suspenseful, I read it in practically one sitting.
It's Dani Shapiro's Inheritance: A Memoir of Genealogy, Paternity, and Love. This book is generating a tremendous amount of buzz and acclaim, and no surprise, it's a New York Times bestseller
Here's the official description:
What makes us who we are? What combination of memory, history, biology, experience, and that ineffable thing called the soul defines us?
In the spring of 2016, through a genealogy website to which she had whimsically submitted her DNA for analysis, Dani Shapiro received the stunning news that her father was not her biological father. She woke up one morning and her entire history--the life she had lived--crumbled beneath her.
Inheritance is a book about secrets--secrets within families, kept out of shame or self-protectiveness; secrets we keep from one another in the name of love. It is the story of a woman's urgent quest to unlock the story of her own identity, a story that has been scrupulously hidden from her for more than fifty years, years she had spent writing brilliantly, and compulsively, on themes of identity and family history. It is a book about the extraordinary moment we live in--a moment in which science and technology have outpaced not only medical ethics but also the capacities of the human heart to contend with the consequences of what we discover.
It's particularly nice to have Dani as our first choice, because she was Elizabeth's first writing teacher! How crazy is that? And Dani and I have known each other for a long time, through mutual writerly friends. Plus Elizabeth and I both have read all her books -- in particular, I love Hourglass: Time, Memory, Marriage.
So read along, and send us your questions and comments soon. Dani will join us for a discussion on the show for episode 212, which will go live on March 13.
The book is fairly short.
Some people ask, "Does it count if I listen to the audio-book?" Absolutely.
Some people ask, "I want to read it, but how can I get more reading done?" Check out my one-pager "Reading Better Than Before" for some tips.
Some people ask, "Do I have to read it? I've got so much going on right now, it stresses me out to think about adding something to my to-do list." The motto of my children's literature reading groups is NO GUILT, and that motto applies to this "group," too. Sometimes, it's just not the right time for a book. Don't beat yourself up. You can enjoy the conversation, and when your life settles down, you can get back to reading. A book waits for you, always.
We'd love to hear your suggestions for other books to consider. We already have a few that we're dying to discuss.
How I love to read! It's my tree-house and my cubicle. More reading for all. Head to your favorite bookstore (maybe you have a favorite local indie?), go to the library, go e- or audio-, whatever works for you.
The prospect of this book club is making Elizabeth and me very happy. Join the conversation!
Want to discuss Inheritance with other podcast listeners directly? Thanks to Agnes's suggestion in the comments below (thanks, Agnes!) I’ve set up a book club on Goodreads. Click here to join. If you're not on Goodreads, you can leave your question or comment here.
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