Author Archives: Whit

Review: Happier at Home

Happier at Home Book Cover Happier at Home
Gretchen Rubin
Nonfiction Self-Help
Three Rivers Press
September 4, 2012

In the spirit of her blockbuster #1 New York Times bestseller The Happiness Project, Gretchen Rubin embarks on a new project to make home a happier place. . . .So, starting in September (the new January), Rubin dedicated a school year—September through May—to making her home a place of greater simplicity, comfort, and love.

One-sentence review: The writing was choppy, the material was reused, and the book didn’t add anything to The Happiness Project.

Background: Having read reviews on Goodreads and Amazon, I decided to just check this out from the library. Good choice.

The good: I like the author’s writing style. It’s more conversational and approachable-sounding, though the book itself was choppy.

The bad: I would’ve liked new material in this book, but a lot of it was reused from the last book. So, really, you just need to read the one and ask yourself, “Hm, how can I apply this concept to my home.” Boom. You’ve got Happier at Home. Okay, not quite, but close.

Bottom line: Read the first book. I’m giving it 3 stars just because I do like the stories and the author’s writing style.

Review: The Happiness Project

Rubin_HProjectTitle: The Happiness Project
Author: Gretchen Rubin
Publication info: Harper Perennial (2009), paperback, 292 pages
Source: birthday present
Rating: 4 stars

One-sentence review: I loved this book, and though the premise was simple and the contents commonsensical, I was able to glean some great information and become more determined to be the guardian of my own happiness.


From Goodreads

Gretchen Rubin had an epiphany one rainy afternoon in the unlikeliest of places: a city bus. “The days are long, but the years are short,” she realized. “Time is passing, and I’m not focusing enough on the things that really matter.” In that moment, she decided to dedicate a year to her happiness project. . . . Her conclusions are sometimes surprising—she finds that money can buy happiness, when spent wisely; that novelty and challenge are powerful sources of happiness; that “treating” yourself can make you feel worse; that venting bad feelings doesn’t relieve them; that the very smallest of changes can make the biggest difference—and they range from the practical to the profound.

Written with charm and wit, The Happiness Project is illuminating yet entertaining, thought-provoking yet compulsively readable. Gretchen Rubin’s passion for her subject jumps off the page, and reading just a few chapters of this book will inspire you to start your own happiness project


My incredibly thoughtful husband bought me this book for my birthday, having read really good reviews on Amazon and knowing that I’d been going through a sort-of funk. By the time my birthday rolled around, I was feeling much better, but because I love some good nonfiction, I gave this a shot. I was not disappointed.

The Good

The Happiness Project had a lot of good tips on how to take the happiness you have in your life and expand it within your individual capacity. The information–divided into sections according to items on a list of personal “commandments”–was backed up with a lot of good research and examples, and I was totally inspired to take my happiness into my own hands and improve my life–and, of course, create my own personal commandments, which I’m still working on following.

The Bad

I wouldn’t say this was really “bad,” but a lot of the information was common sense, and if I had wanted to do my own research, I would have come to some of the same conclusions. Sometimes the narrative felt a little rambling, but not as bad as the sequel (review on that coming soon!).

Bottom Line

I’d recommend this book wholeheartedly to anyone seeking greater happiness in his or her life, which I hope we’re all striving toward.

Rating: 4 stars

Stacking the Shelves #1

Stacking the Shelves!Stacking the shelves is a weekly meme hosted by Tynga’s Reviews.

I’m really excited about all of the many wonderful books I’ve found recently, really, in the last like 2 months. I welcome books of all kinds into my collection, so you’ll often see some lovely library book sale books and thrift store books on this ol’ blog. Below are my new papered friends. 😉

BTR_KRBorn to Run by Christopher McDougall and Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini. I found these great books at a yard sale a few weeks ago for a dollar each. I’m pretty excited for both of them. I started to read Born to Run awhile back, but my library loan expired, and I’ve heard great things about Kite Runner.

So, we’re off to a good start in this roundup.

Well, I actually wouldn’t buy anything I wouldn’t read so all of these books are good . . . 😉

dragontatNext up we have The Tiger’s Wife by Téa Obreht, Three Junes by Julia Glass, Lady of the English by Elizabeth Chadwick, and the Millennium series by Stieg Larsson. Yep, still excited.

11booksAnd you guys, last weekend I made out like a bandit! I spent 9 dollars for these 11 books. I love the thrift store and library book sales. (And next week the other library in my area is having their semiannual book sale!! Totally thrilled about that!!! Hence the overuse of exclamation points.) Anyway, I got The Last Battle by C.S. Lewis (to round out my Chronicles of Narnia set), Number the Stars by Lois Lowry, Major Pettigrew’s Last Stand by Helen Simonson, Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet, Ex Libris: Confessions of a Common Reader by Anne Fadiman, The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot, The Help by Kathryn Stockett, The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows, The View from Saturday by E.L. Konigsburg, The Memory Keeper’s Daughter by Kim Edwards, and Eat, Pray Love by Elizabeth Gilbert. PHEW!

A ton, right? Not bad at all for about $25. I recently found out that my local thrift stores actually have some fairly recent great books at reasonable prices–and the library sells used books for 50 cents to a dollar! I may have gone overboard, but, really, who doesn’t love hoarding a little? At least they’re books and not cats or something. Low maintenance and you don’t have to feed them.

Oh, p.s. Holy awesome Kindle sales! I also just got The Book Thief by Markus Zusak, Crazy in Love by Lani Rich, and The Fault in Our Stars by John Green I really need to be careful . . . I’ll think about it. . . . Maybe.

First Line Friday #1

First line friday

So, I’m adapting this a little from Katie’s Book Blog. She normally posts the first lines from books in her TBR pile and has readers vote on a book according to the choices. What I’m going to be doing instead is post the first lines of books in my upcoming reading lineup as a sort of preview. I know you’re on the edge of your seats. We’ll see how this goes.

Book of a Thousand Days “My lady and I are being shut up in a tower for seven years.” (Book of a Thousand Days)







The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake“It happened for the first time on a Tuesday afternoon, a warm spring day in the flatlands near Hollywood, a light breeze moving east from the ocean and stirring the black-eyed pansy petals newly planted in our flower boxes.” (The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake)





The first is for fun and the second is from my new book club, which I’m really excited about. One of my really good (actually, great) friends is in charge of it. It’ll be grand.

There you have it, my new books for the week. 😀



Hi, there!

Yeah, I’m starting a blog about books. It might be just like all the other book blogs OR it may turn out to be something awesome. I think it will be the latter because who wants to be like everyone else? Sure, I’m planning on doing some “normal book blog” things, but I hope that you’ll join me as I navigate my way through the stacks of books on my shelf that are begging to be opened after my months-long hiatus from reading. I know, it’s a tragedy because what’s better than cracking open a new-to-you book and enjoying a peppermint hot chocolate? Well, I know of a few things in life that are better: a hug from my husband, finding a hundred-dollar bill on the sidewalk (woo! now I can buy more books–no, this has never happened to me) . . . just go with it, friends.

Where am I going with this? No idea. But I’m glad you’re here. Thanks for reading!

p.s. I love french fries . . . just in case you were wondering.