One of the items on Checklist #38 is to read 15 books. I started a book not long after my birthday so even though I didn't write the checklist until after that I decided to count that book as book #1. I was really whipping through it until about mid-way through May and then the hectic, craziness of the end of the school year put a serious dent in my reading. I finally finished it last night.
The book was Geography of Bliss by Eric Weiner. The author, a self proclaimed grump, travels the world trying to discover happiness as it relates to different cultures. Is there one proven formula for happiness? The answer is no, but the journey is fascinating.
This is one of the best books I've read in a while. The discussion of happiness and place was interesting because I have routinely talked about running away to a new place to start a new life. To become a different person, to start over again and try to do things better the second time around. That is not practical, but in a very small way moving to my new place will start a new chapter in my life because my "geography" will be very different.
I was about halfway through before I realized that I could be collecting quotes with the features of the Kindle so here are some of the sentences I marked as I was reading. This won't give a complete picture of the book since it was mainly in the middle of the book (from when I realized I could do it but before I lost my focus with crazy May). Here are a few.
Recording life is a poor substitute for living it. (Interesting for someone who sees her life through a lens).
As any poet (or blogger) knows, misery expressed is misery reduced. (True).
It is not the skills we actually have that determine how we feel but the ones we think we have.
Happy people remembered more good events in their lives than actually occurred. Depressed people remembered the past accurately. (I think we know that I am all about accuracy).
It's not what we believe that makes us happy but the act of believing. In anything.
Who travels widely needs his wits about him. The stupid should stay at home. (This is a quote from a book of Icelandic tales.)
You can determine how your life plays out by deciding where you live. You really can get away from yourself, or at least away from your past. (!!!!!!!)
How we pursue the goal of happiness matters at least as much, perhaps more, than the goal itself.
The quality of a society is more important than your place in that society. In other words, better to be a small fish in a clean pond than a big fish in a polluted lake. (This can apply to so many aspects of our lives).
Life is a combination of freedom and destiny, and the beauty is you don't know which is which.
I definitely look forward to reading this book again at some time. I'm not sure how to handle books I really like in terms of the Kindle. I am leaning towards buying a copy to have in my library and to lend out if I want, but I think that is just a hold out to the way I used to do things. You may have heard that I have a problem with change and I can't remember the last time I lent out a book. So for now I'll just say if you have a few extra dollars and are looking for an interesting read about happiness and our place in the world I recommend The Geography of Bliss: One Grump's Search for the Happiest Places in the World.