One of my favorite things I did in 2018 was kick off two book clubs. It’s been so neat to sit around munching on snacks (Costco’s spinach & artichoke dip for the win!) and discussing with friends a book I enjoyed reading. January’s Literary Ladies meet-up did not disappoint, and I’m excited to grow this group throughout the New Year.
For our January book, we read (or re-read in my case) my favorite book, The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin. You can read a more detailed 2011 post about the book here. I try to read it at least once a year and always discover, whether due to my mood or phase in life, a new piece of the book that resonates with me.
Before we met, I e-mailed Gretchen for the official book discussion guide (which can also be found in the back of the 10th anniversary edition) and asked the gals the following questions when our book conversation needed a little push:
Gretchen observes that “Outer order contributes to inner calm,” and many of her resolutions are aimed at clutter-clearing. Do you agree that clutter affects your happiness?
One of Gretchen’s main arguments is that “You’re not happy unless you think you’re happy,” and she spends a lot of time thinking about her happiness. However, many important figures have argued just the opposite; for example, John Stuart Mill wrote, “Ask yourself whether you are happy, and you cease to be so.” What do you think? Does striving for happiness make you happier? Or does it make happiness more elusive?
Did reading this book make you want to try one of the resolutions? Which one?
Many memoirs recount the author’s struggle to be happy in the face of a major challenge like cancer, divorce, an unhappy childhood, massive weight loss, and the like. In the book’s opening, Gretchen admits that she has always been pretty happy. Did you find her reflections on happiness helpful, nevertheless? Or do you think it’s more valuable to read an account by someone facing more difficulties?
Gretchen writes, “Everyone’s happiness project will be different.” How would your happiness project be different from Gretchen’s? How might it be the same?
What was the most valuable thing you learned from The Happiness Project about happiness – for yourself?
As always, I hope this quick post inspires you to dive into The Happiness Project and it’s discussion questions or consider starting a book club of your own with your friends. Our February read is Becoming by Michelle Obama. Let me know if you’ve already read this book in the comments below. If not, I hope you will read along with us!