Revealed! Books for May: Featuring Coal Miners, Hedgehogs, Foxes, Scarecrows, and Tin Men.

Book Covers for May 2017 Book Club

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,, 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:

The Road to Wigan Pier by George Orwell

I love the non-fiction writing of George Orwell. So clear, so insightful, so thought-provoking — and often, so unexpected. This book is an examination of the nature of work, poverty, and self-reflection. That description may make it sound dry, I realize, but it’s not; it’s a masterpiece.


An outstanding children’s book:

The Wonderful Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum

Yes, I agree, the movie is wonderful, but the book is also terrific — and as is always the case, differs from the movie in significant ways. I love all the Oz books, so don’t stop with the first one, but keep going! Other favorites of mine include Dorothy and the Wizard of Oz, Ozma of Oz, and Glinda of Oz. But I love them all.


An eccentric pick:

The Hedgehog and the Fox by Isaiah Berlin

I don’t understand much of this short book, but I find it very thought-provoking. I’ve read it a few times, and although I can’t follow Berlin’s argument very closely, it always stimulates my own reflections. And I love the reference in the title to the fragment from the Greek poet Archilochus: “The fox knows many things, but the hedgehog knows one big thing.” I drew on Berlin’s discussion of that phrase for my book about habit change, Better Than Before, in which I made many divisions like “Are you a hedgehog or a fox?” “Are you an Abstainer or a Moderator?” “Are you an Abundance-lover or Simplicity-lover?” “Are you a Sprinter or a Marathoner?”


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.



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