Best way to buy happiness

Someone very wise and insightful penned these words:

You can’t buy happiness, but you can buy books, and that’s kind of the same thing.

Photo: Marlys

For the next few weeks, I’m scheduled to be at a remote log cabin, working on a rather large writing project.

I brought nine books to read. And I’m going to blame it on my mother.

My mom worked full-time in our growing-up years. My two brothers and I were assigned house-cleaning tasks on Saturday mornings, and the four of us had the place sparkling in less than an hour.

Our reward? A trip to the library.

You remember the days of stickers on certificates for number of books read during the summer?

I was the annoying overachiever.

Later, as a mom of young children, we cleaned house together, frequented the local library for the weekly reward, and participated in the summer reading programs.

I know what you’re thinking. #Bookworm. #BookGeek.

But listen to this: According to an online article, titled “Growing up Surrounded by Books,” researchers analyzed data from surveys of 160,000 adults across 31 nations, including the US, Canada, and Australia.

They determined that people who grew up in book-filled homes have higher reading, math, and technological skills.

There’s also an interesting piece in Real Simple magazine titled, “8 Science-Backed Reasons to Read a (Real) Book.” Cited are several points one would expect: Reading can increase intelligence, boost brain power, help ward off Alzheimer’s disease, and help us get to sleep at night.

But from the article, here’s a reason I’d never heard before: Reading can make us empathetic. “Getting lost in a good read can make it easier for you to relate to others.”

And who doesn’t want to be a more empathetic person?

A family in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, made a Little Free Library outside their home with the large stump of a 110-year-old cottonwood tree.

“The stump was carved out from the inside, topped with a roof and installed with a cozy interior and exterior lighting for a truly fairytale look, one of the prettiest libraries we’ve ever seen.”

The Vintage News

I keep a tight budget and write down every expense. On my budget spreadsheet are only the necessities: Utilities. Insurance. Groceries. Books.

 This thought from Anna Quindlen:

Books are the plane, and the train, and the road. They are the destination, and the journey. They are home.

On my parents’ lower middle income, we weren’t going to do much globe-trotting.

But my mom gave us kids the gift of traveling the world and experiencing a variety of adventures in a range of eras. Through reading.

One of my goals for 2019?

Keep the line item in my budget for books, and continue buying happiness.

I’m curious: Do you prefer reading electronically, or do you like the feel of paper in your hands? What is one of your favorite reads?


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  1. Hiya Marlys,
    Yes the right books can lift your spirits with inspiration and encouragement which ignites happiness. They also can take you around the world to places never seem yet give the feeling you are there. As your mother showed you.
    I too grew up with a love of books and could never read enough. I suppose that may have been because we lived in a small country village and had no car or television. Love and Blessings Crystal

    • No car or television … just books. What a great way to grow up, Crystal! (I think back to my upbringing from time to time, and appreciate so much more now than I did at the time.)

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