“It Seemed to Put One Part of Him to Sleep and Wake Another Part Up.”

“Setting the gently sloshing tank on the dresser, Ellsworth sprinkled in some food and spent a few minutes watching the little fish dart up and away from the surface, over and over again. Like always, it did something to him, that movement, something he could never quite figure out. It seemed to put one part of him to sleep and wake another part up, the part that sent ideas bubbling up and out.”

— Janet S. Anderson, The Last Treasure

A few months ago, my younger daughter got a beta fish. I’ve never had a fish before, and I’ve been surprised by how gratifying it is to see Esther swimming around in her tank. That bit of life.

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Revealed! Book Club Choices for May 2015.

Before I get to the fun of recommending some good books to read for May, here’s a quick bit of book-self-promotion: Mother’s Day is coming up on May 10. If you’re looking for a good gift for a mother in your life, may I suggest…you guessed it…Better Than Before.

Because nothing boosts happiness more than a great book, each month, I suggest:

· one outstanding book about happiness or habits

· one outstanding work of children’s or young-adult literature–I have a crazy passion for kidlit

· one eccentric pick–a widely admired and excellent book that I love, yes, but one that may not appeal to everyone

Shop at the wonderful Brooklyn indie WORD, BN.com, Amazon (I’m an affiliate of all three), or your favorite local bookstore. Or visit the library! Drumroll…

An outstanding book about happiness or habits:

Gilead by Marilynne Robinson

Buy from WORD; BN.com; Amazon.

An outstanding children’s book:

In a Mirror by Mary Stolz

Buy from WORD;

Need a Good Gift for Mother’s Day? Guess What I’ll Suggest.

Next Sunday, May 10, is Mother’s Day in the United States and Canada.

If you’re looking for a thoughtful gift for a mother in your life, may I suggest my new (bestselling) book, Better Than Before?

I’ve heard from a lot of people who are giving the book as a gift. I offer free, signed bookplates, to make books more special, but because I’m traveling on my book tour, I’m not sure I could get those back to you in time for Mother’s Day. But I’ll try, or if you’re willing to wait a few extra days, you can request bookplates here, and I’ll get them to you as quickly as possible. (U.S. and Canada only, sorry–mailing costs.)

If you’d like to read an excerpt, to see if you think the book would be a good gift, read here.

If you’re considering giving the audio-book, listen to a clip here.

I love all my books equally, but a surprising number of people have told me that of all my books,

Podcast #10: Special Episode! Live from Elizabeth’s Cluttered Closet.

My sister Elizabeth Craft and I are having a great time doing our new podcast,  “Happier with Gretchen Rubin.“

Today’s episode is completely different from our usual format. Because I was in Los Angeles for my book tour for Better Than Before,  we were in the same place (which we usually aren’t). And Elizabeth had the brilliant idea that we should record ourselves as we observed one of our familiar sisterly rituals: whenever I visit Elizabeth, we clean out her closet.

So this episode comes straight to you from the depths of Elizabeth’s closet. Which happens to be a walk-in closet in Encinco, California.

I’ve always loved before-and-after photos, and here are some from her closet.

Among other things, we discuss why, trivial as it may be, cleaning out a closet is likely to make you happier; why you should designate a recipient for your give-aways, before you start clearing; why you should actively ponder your stuff; why it’s helpful to store something in an exact place; why you shouldn’t get organized — plus there’s  a shoe-sorting …

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Secret of Adulthood: Lose Yourself to Find Yourself.

From Further Secrets of Adulthood.

I think this Secret of Adulthood operates on more than one level.

One way that I “lose myself” is by reading — I lose myself in a book, and I find myself in a book. Or music, sports, drawing, cooking…there are many ways to do this.

And also, sometimes we have to lose our way in order to find our way.

I’m reminded of the e. e. cummings poem, “maggie and milly and molly and may”:

maggie and milly and molly and may
went down to the beach(to play one day)

and maggie discovered a shell that sang
so sweetly she couldn’t remember her troubles,and

milly befriended a stranded star
whose rays five languid fingers were;

and molly was chased by a horrible thing
which raced sideways while blowing bubbles:and

may came home with a smooth round stone
as small as a world and as large as alone.

For whatever we lose(like a you or a me)
it’s always ourselves we find in the sea

I especially love that last stanza.

How about you? Do you lose yourself–to find yourself?

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