Recent reads: Summer 2012 Part Four


According to Hector and the Search for Happiness, there exist five families of happiness:

"First, two families of exciting happiness and two families of calm happiness.

Exciting happiness is joy, celebration, travelling, being in bed with a woman you desire.  The second family of exciting happiness is doing a job you like, wanting to attain a goal.  This could be in your work, but also in sport or gardening or even thinking about a complicated calculation if that's what you like.

And then there are two families of calm happiness.  The first is simply feeling contented and wanting that to last.  That's when you make comparisons and discover that you're happy as you are by comparison with others or with your own past.  Or when you don't compare yourself with anything at all!

The fifth family of happiness... It is happiness that comes from others: friendship, mutual love, caring about other people's happiness or unhappiness, feeling useful to others."

The skinniest book at the top of my stack contained the most accessible life lessons.  Sure, it's simplified and boiled down to an almost saccharine, artificial essence but it made its point very clearly and succinctly.  I'm currently working on those five families; I wouldn't say that I've conquered any of them at all.  To be 50% of the way on all five families at one time would be wonderfully fulfilling.  But, as Hector also learns, it is a mistake to think that happiness is the goal.  Which is the hardest family for you to get a grasp of?

The Spellman mysteries are rather entertaining and good, clean fun; I'm going to pass these books on to my younger sister this weekend.  I'm a sucker for a good mystery series.  Last year it was Mrs. Pollifax and the year before it was the Bryant and May mysteries.  When I was a pre-teen, my dad bought me the complete works of Sherlock Holmes and I have never turned back since.  The main character in the Spellman series is Izzy Spellman, a late 20s, early 30s private investigator working in San Francisco.  Nothing is ever as simple as it seems with Izzy and her knack of putting a suspicious spin on everything in life complicates her personal and professional life.  I've rather enjoyed getting to know Izzy and her family - there are three more books in the series I haven't read so be sure to look for them in upcoming "Recent Reads" posts.

Comments

  1. I haven't read any of these ... but the first one looks like it might be worthwhile. :) And I'm always on the lookout for good mysteries. I'm re-reading an Agatha Christie at the moment.

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  2. Oooo looks like they'd be interesting reads! Will definitely have to check these out!


    ariarhapsody.blogspot.com

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  3. new books for me to find! thanks

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  4. You read Sherlock Holmes as a pre-teen! Wow! The closest I came to that was quietly staying up while my dad watched the old Basil Rathbone movies on the late show. :)

    Celebrating is a challenge for me. I'm either not satisfied with my performance or wondering what comes next.

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  5. noooooo quit making my list of stuff to read even longer than it already is!!

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  6. This sounds like an interesting book to read. I think I need the most work with the second family of exciting happiness. I definitely know what I want but it seems so difficult to just get there...trying though.

    xo erica

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  7. This is so interesting (the five families of happiness). I'd LOVE to read that book. It sounds wonderful! And yeah, I completely agree with you, just to be halfway (or a bit over halfway) content with each 'family' at any given time, is a great goal! Thanks for the recommendation! :)

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  8. Looks like a great list of books. Especially the mysteries, I love a good mystery. I think half of my books are mysterious ;-) (And there are a LOT). Lately I have been reading too little, with all the children running around it's hard to find a quiet moment. But thank you, you reminded me of how much I love and need those quiet moments with my nose in a book. I am going to create a moment like that today!

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  9. I'm so impressed with you and your reading list, I'll definitely have to check this out because the whole aspect of so many families sounds very interesting

    xoDale
    http://www.savvyspice.com/

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  10. I haven´t read any of these, thanks for the tip! I´ve read som eother books though that I was planning to put up on the blog, when I get around to it..! :-)

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  11. I've only read the Tales of the City book on your list. In fact I read all the books from that series. Really liked them!

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  12. I really really love that you read so much. I haven't read any of the books in this list (shame on me!) so I think I need to rectify that quickly...

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  13. The Spellmans are quite fun (and Miss Pollifax). I read my first Georgette Heyer (Duplicate Death) at the first of the year--I enjoyed it!

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  14. I've heard about Hector and the Search of Happiness and I've been meaning to read it as well!

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  15. This is awesome! Great blog, loved it! Come by and let's follow each other? I'd love to do that;) xx

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  16. Hmm may need a find a few of these...

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  17. Hmmmm... I wish I can attain all those happiness! LOL. I don't really know which happiness is the best O_O

    Ohhh and I hope you get to turn your unwanted tshirts to tanks soon! I'm guessing that you prefer tanks over boring tshirts? have a lovely wednesday!

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  18. Awesome write up, War for the Oaks is a great read

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  19. Oohhh...these are all new to me! Exciting. I just finished an article in the New Yorker (I'll try to like to it at the end of my comment) by the three people who read and submitted the 3 final books to the Pulitzer committee. Do you remember? There was no prize for fiction awarded this year, strange. Anyway, it's a fascinating article and the books look great!

    http://www.newyorker.com/online/blogs/books/2012/07/letter-from-the-pulitzer-fiction-jury-what-really-happened-this-year.html

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  20. oooh the Spellman mysteries sound cool. I'll be checking those out, literally, checking out, from the library. ha.

    and I'll probably mosey on over and look at the other books too. I love book suggestions!

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  21. More books! I love book posts Ruth :)

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  22. The Hector book sounds so good! I love looking more closely at happiness...it's one of those feelings that is sometimes so elusive, and at other times, so effortless. But I think Hector is right that it's not quite the point of the journey.

    Thanks for the recommendations!

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  23. I'm definitely intrigued by the mystery series - it sounds like a great summer read. I didn't realize how much I loved mysteries as an adult until I read The Dragon Tattoo series, but I clearly remember loving them as a kid. My favorite was The Egypt Game. Did you ever read that one?

    I think the contented, calm happiness is the hardest for me to grasp because it's so totally about living in the moment. While my life is great, I have so many goals that I still want to achieve so I end up daydreaming about the future a lot. Sounds like a really interesting book.

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  24. Hector and the Search for Happiness sounds like an absolutely incredible book!!! It's a very interesting concept. I definitely need to work on contented happiness, I'm much too excitable...

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  25. Woah, I've never heard of the Spellman Mysteries, but based off of what you wrote, they seem really interesting! I guess I have to check it out! :)
    Looks like you're getting lots of reading in this summer. So awesome! I need to get on that.
    ♥ xixia | thisisxixia.com

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