Welcome. Let’s get blissful

17 Apr

Hi. I’m Jaclyn. I like to read and watch movies. I watch the occasional television show, and I very much love to discuss this stuff with you, whomever “you” may be. So let’s get started, shall we?

Title: “The Geography of Bliss: One Grump’s Search for the Happiest Places in the World
Author: Eric Weiner
Do I recommend this? Absolutely
Worthy quote: “Maybe happiness is this: not feeling like you should be elsewhere, doing something else, being someone else.”

Iceland is one of the happiest countries in the world, despite its freezing weather.
Iceland is one of the happiest countries in the world, despite its freezing weather.

I love memoirs, and I love travel books. I think Elizabeth Gilbert’s “Eat, Pray, Love” was what started me on the latter, and Susan Jane Gilman’s “Hypocrite in a Pouffy White Dress,” the former. I found “Bliss” much in the same way I found those other two: I was at a book store, picked up something I’d never heard of, and marched to the cash register.

In “Bliss,” Weiner is a self-proclaimed grump who decides to find happy — literally. He wants to visit the happiest countries in the world and figure out what makes them so cheerful. Is it when the government decides that happiness is important, as in Bhutan, where the Powers That Be measure Gross National Happiness? Or is it in Iceland, where sure, it’s frickin’ freezing, but everyone is an artist and equally encouraged. Or maybe Quatar has the answer: having way more money than you could possibly know what to do with.

Weiner visits 10 countries and chronicles his findings and ideas in a relatively slim 335 pages, averaging some 34 pages per country. It’s hardly enough to really get a feel for a country, and as he describes his interviews, I get the feeling that the people with whom Weiner speaks are more friends that subjects. Weiner chats with these various citizens of the world and shares his conversations with the reader. It’s not exactly thorough, but to be thorough would have taken the author years and years and years. And, I suspect, the outcome wouldn’t have been nearly so entertaining or moving.

My favorite kind of media is the kind that, for lack of a better phrase, makes me fall in love. It gives me that pressure feeling in my chest, that utter contentedness, happiness … something like, yes, falling in love. The book is by no means perfect, but when I finished it, I closed it, pressed it against my chest, and simply laid there.

To anyone else who’s read “Bliss”: What’d you think? To anyone who hasn’t, please, share some of your favorite memoirs and/or travel books with me.


One Response to “Welcome. Let’s get blissful”


  1. Welcome to Curious Jac | Curious Jac - September 4, 2012

    […] Snap, Crackle, Pop served me well, and for a long time — more than three years. I blogged my first blog at Snap, Crackle, Pop on April 17, 2009, and started with a book […]

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