Thursday, July 02, 2009


I'm having a very eclectic time with my reading at the moment. Am reading The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, but I rather liked British philosopher, Mark Vernon's thoughts on happiness and living a good life, and I've ordered his book Wellbeing.
Actually, I've had a great time this week, ordering books from The Book Depository. Last night, I ordered "A Week at Waterloo" by Lady de Lancey. It's a book of letters written by a young Scottish bride who accompanied her brand new husband to Waterloo. Her husband was Wellington's main offsider -- I forget the correct military term, and he died eleven days after the battle in his wife's arms. Apparently, Charles Dickens cried when he read Magdalene de Lancey's account of the battle, and her tragic but terribly romantic ten week marriage. Did you know The Book Depository will post anywhere in the world for free?

OK, over to Mark Vernon... and how to be happy...
1. Don't focus on your happiness, focus on how you are living your life. Happiness is a by-product of a life lived well.
2. Don't ask yourself what you enjoy, ask yourself what is most meaningful to you. Dump the rest, and go for that.
3. Truly prioritize your life around what and who you love. Many would say their friends are the most important thing to them, even as they move to the other side of the world to take up a better paid job.
4. Don't be afraid of the spiritual, even if you aren't very religious. In art, architecture, music and novels human beings have always searched for what lies beyond. There is a good reason for that.
5. Pain and struggle is not necessarily bad and might be very good. Ask any parent: the agony of raising children is usually, at base, meaningful agony.
6. Take time and find a regular space to contemplate the world. Less is definitely more in the art of happiness.
7. Don't read too many self-help books. You'll end up living the programme not living your life!


Anne Gracie said...

I've just ordered Magdalene de Lancey's book, Barb -- thanks for the recommendation. It sounds perfect for me. And yes, I love the Book Depository, too -- they're also prompt, as well as having free postage.
Mark Vernon's how to be happy thoughts are very wise I think. I'm on a personal program of "have more fun." ;)

Barbara Hannay said...

Anne, you've beaten me to it. I was going to pass the book onto you when I'd read it. I thought it sounded perfect for your Dark Rider series.
And yes, here's raising a glass to the fun program.

Lacey Devlin said...

Five's my favourite... I'm still trying to see the pain and suffering as a good thing though :)

2paw said...

Thank you for Mark Vernon's How to be Happy points. I think after the possibility of death, happiness becomes what is really important. Happiness with the people you love, with the things that you do, and with yourself. I do agree that without the agony, we would never appreciate the ecstasy. I love walking The Labradors in the bush: it gives me lots of quiet thinking time. I think a lot there.
Isn't the Book Depository wonderful? But do try Sometimes you can find even better bargains!!

Magdalena Scott said...

Thank you for sharing the Happiness, Barb! It caught me at a very opportune time.

(Oh--I saw a heron in the creek when walking yesterday morning. Was too slow with the cameraphone to get its picture before it flew off, but I thought of you.)

Barbara Hannay said...

Thanks for the tip about, 2paw. I'll check them out, although I'm sure I've overspent my book budget for this month.
Magdalena, how nice that your heron reminded you of me. :)

One of these days I want to call a heroine Heron. But she has to be the right character in the right story.

Barbara Hannay said...

I'm sure the possibility of death, makes the best way to live life much clearer. I love reading about your life with The Labradors.