Monday, 16 March 2015

Book Review #10 / 14,000 Things To Be Happy About

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As some of you may know, I set myself a little challenge at the beginning of 2015 to read a book a week and then review each one on my blog. So far, all the books I've read have been standard fiction novels so I thought I'd mix things up a bit this week with this lovely little book by Barbara Ann Kipfer: 14,000 Things To Be Happy About. It does what it says on the tin and is basically an epic list of things to be happy about; from the obvious, to the completely quirky...

I stumbled across this book a couple of months ago on Amazon and, being in one of those 'new year, new me' moods, decided to add it to my basket. This book has been revised recently in November 2014 and I know there was an older version that came out in 2007 but, for the purpose of this review, it's the 2014 version I'll be talking about.

You might have read my post last week, '20 Little Things That Make Me Happy', which was inspired by this book. The idea being that it's the little things in life that can make you happy. A lot of them being things we come across in everyday life and just don't really pay much attention to or even consider the fact that they do, in fact,  make us happy.

In the intro, Kipfer explains how the book represents 50 years of recording all the things that make her happy. Initially starting the book in school, jotting down things in a tiny spiral notebook, and eventually progressing to an epic computer database which currently holds 145,000 entries - yep, really.
 
I just love the idea of this book. It's so simple yet so effective. It is quite literally a long list of things to be happy about in life from obvious things such as a long weekend to really random bizarre things - one of my favourite's being: "the feeling of your hair being tugged when it's being braided" (I absolutely LOVE this feeling and it takes me back to the days of playing hairdressers in primary school - good times.)

Not every thing on the list is something that makes me personally happy - but it would be pretty impressive if the author managed to come up with 14,000 things that made EVERY single person happy. For example: KFC coleslaw. I hate it. But I know some people love it. And black coffee. Some people swear by it but I'd much rather opt for a super milky latte!

The book is also written by an American author and she does talk about some things that are specific to American culture which I couldn't always relate to such as Honey Graham Crackers (which I've never eaten) and meeting interconnecting flights with time to grab a coffee (I fly about once a year and, in England, we have to arrive an hour and a half before boarding so this is never a problem.)

The beauty of this book, though, is that it you can just pick it up and start reading at any page. There's no need to read from front to back. 

There's no order to any of the entries, either. Some are quite deep and philosophical eg. 'mistakes leading to epiphanies', whereas some are just completely random and quirky, eg. 'dog's wanting belly rubs.'

The randomness of the book just makes it even more enjoyable and I literally have such a smile on my face whilst reading through it. I even end up nodding in agreement when I come across something that makes me happy, which I'd never even thought about like 'eating the easter chocolate bunny's head first.' Everyone does this right!?

Here are some of my favourite things listed in the book (although there are so many I could have included:)

- a pub lunch 
- your first Christmas tree together
- finally getting the pebble out of your shoe
- stretching your legs and arms, yawning, and visualising an ideal day before getting out of bed in the morning
- when you know someone well enough to go to his/her fridge without asking
- piling on the blankets for a good, cosy night of sleeping
- you-had-to-be-there moments
- when you start thinking about where you'll take your vacation
- fans when you need them
- dentists who don't expect you to carry on a conversation with a mouthful of novacaine and their fingers in your mouth.

The book is also really nice and compact, albeit a bit chunky, but is definitely something you could keep in your handbag to have a quick flick through whenever you're feeling a bit meh. 

Take it with you on your morning commute and when you're trains late, you're crammed next to someone who smells and feeling like things couldn't get much worse - open this book and remember there is always something to be happy about.

14,000 Things To Be Happy About, £6.99, Amazon 

Do you like the sound of this book? What's the most random thing that makes you happy?

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