More Happier: Happiness of Easy Shopping Returns, Great Interviews of Interesting People, and Dogs

Something Making Us (More) Happier

  • Elizabeth: She appreciates how, these days, it’s so much easier to return items by mail.
  • Gretchen: I’m really enjoying a set of books called “The Last Interview Series.” It “celebrates the heroes and innovators of art, politics and literature with a collection of interviews and conversations that span their creative lives.” Fascinating.

I’ve Been Meaning to Tell You

Elizabeth realized that once her dogs Nacho and Daisy joined them, her family felt complete.

Spotlight on a Tool

The Checklist for Habit Change” is a handy one-page list of the twenty-one strategies we can use to make or break our habits. It accompanies Better Than Before, my book about habit change.

Checklist for Habit Change thumbnail

Quality Screen Time

We suggest terrific TV shows for each other to watch.

I suggest that Elizabeth (and me, too) should watch The Wire. Elizabeth suggests that I should watch Chernobyl.  Everyone should watch Fantasy Island, of course!


Sentimentality is a flaw in a work of art, certainly, but the word is often thrown at great and overpowering works of art that embarrass critics who live, emotionally, in St. Ogg’s, though intellectually they have journeyed south as far as Cambridge. The ending of The Mill on the Floss moves me to tears, though I am not an easy weeper. It is not the immediate pathos of the death of Maggie and Tom that thus affects me: it is rather that a genuine completion of human involvement has been attained, but attained only through Death.  A happiness beyond mere delight has been experienced – a happiness as blasting and destroying as an encounter with the gods.

To my mind, this is anything but sentimental. People who prate of sentimentality are very often people who hate being made to feel, and who hate anything that cannot be intellectually manipulated. But the purgation through pity and terror which is said to be the effect of tragedy is not the only kind of purgation that art can bring. The tempest in the heart that great novels can evoke is rarely tragic in the strict sense, but it is an arousal of feelings of wonder at the strangeness of life, and desolation at the implacability of life, and dread of the capriciousness of life which for a few minutes overwhelms all our calculations and certainties and leaves us naked in a turmoil from which cleverness cannot save us. Sentimentality is sometimes used by critics as a term to rebuke artists who seeks to sound this terrifying note;  if the artist fails, he is probably merely sentimental, but if he succeeds, the critic would be wise to slink back into his kennel and whimper till the storm passes.

— Roberton Davies, “Phantasmagoria and Dream Grotto” in One Half of Robertson Davies (AmazonBookshop)




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