Thursday, July 26, 2012


Have you ever wondered if there was a scientific method of measuring happiness? Wonder no more! In the Netherlands at Erasmus University Rotterdam, Dr. Ruut Veenhoven is the emeritus professor of “social conditions for human happiness.” He is also the director of the World Database of Happiness. This database can be found at the web address of

According to the website, “The World Database of Happiness is an ongoing register of scientific research on the subjective enjoyment of life. It brings together findings that are scattered throughout many studies and provides a basis for synthetic work.” On the website, “happiness is defined as the degree to which an individual judges the overall quality of his/her life-as-a-whole favorably.”

This website is very scientific, but it is also fascinating that there are individuals that are calculating people’s overall happiness. Check it out!

While looking over the scientific evidence, here are some of the library’s nonfiction books on finding happiness. Enjoy!

150.198 GENTRY
 Happiness for Dummies                        

                                                                                                                           152.42 CHUTTST


The Happiness Pursuit: What Neuroscience 
Can Teach Us About the Good Life


                                                                                                                                158 GILBERT
                                                                                                             Stumbling on Happiness


The Nine Rooms of Happiness: Loving Yourself, Finding 
Your Purpose, and Getting Over Life’s Little Imperfections


                                                                                                                                                                                                              158.1 PRATT
                                             Code to Joy: The Four-Step Solution to 
                                    Unlocking Your Natural State of Happiness


170 BOK
Exploring Happiness: From 
Aristotle to Brain Science




                                                                         170     HECHT
                                                 The Happiness Myth: Why What We 
                                                Think is Right is Wrong: A History of 
                                                   What Really Makes Us Happy


             613 WEIL
Spontaneous Happiness


                                                                               910.4 WEINER
                                              The Geography of Bliss: One Grump’s 
                                  Search for the Happiest Places in the World  

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Faithful Place by Tana French

Author Tana French just keeps getting better and better.

I first began reading her work last year when I picked up her much-lauded debut mystery novel In the Woods. With the caveat that I don't read mysteries often, In the Woods was like nothing I'd ever read before. Complex, atmospheric and creepy, it plunged me into the main character's traumatic past and present-day psychological unraveling with little mercy.

There were times I could feel the hair on the back of my neck standing on end — not from overdone violence or hackneyed terror devices but French's amazing way of showing us glimpses of the unknown without ever giving us the luxury of a big reveal. In French's capable hands, I'm not quite sure I'd survive a big reveal.

French has since released three more books in what's known as the Dublin Murder Squad series: The Likeness, Faithful Place and, most recently, Broken Harbor. I just finished Faithful Place and am looking forward to delving into Broken Harbor. The more I read her, the more I like her work. Each story has featured compelling characters grappling with unique, gripping scenarios both internally and in real life.

In each of these installments, French takes a character introduced in the prior book in the series and gives them their own chance to shine. Nevertheless, newcomers to the Dublin Murder Squad should have no problems following Faithful Place because there aren't any allusions to earlier books.

Faithful Place follows hard-bitten Dublin undercover investigator Frank Mackey, who returns reluctantly to the serpent's den he once called home.

Twenty-two years ago Frank and his young love Rosie Daly had planned to run away together. But Rosie never showed that fateful night. Brokenhearted, Frank had always assumed she'd decided to go it alone. He left Faithful Place that night as well and has never looked back. But now Rosie's packed suitcase has surfaced, suggesting she never made it out and perhaps met a more sinister end than anyone ever expected.

In his burning quest to find out what happened, Frank reluctantly returns to the dysfunctional family fold, dredging up all kinds of unwelcome memories about his alcoholic father, abrasive mother and his siblings. French portrays their relationships with an artistry that will leave you breathless in the way the Mackeys spasm between nuclear-level toxicity to scenes of familiar domesticity. It is utterly exhausting and utterly believable. Resentments and secrets run deep in this family and this blue-collar street.

Skirting the official investigation surrounding Rosie's fate, Frank exerts his considerable skill, chutzpah and rage to draw out the real story. The mind games he plays reveal his impressive repertoire at reading people and getting them to talk.

Complicating matters further are Frank's rocky relationships with his ex-wife and daughter. He walks a precarious balancing act trying to spend time with them while ferreting out the facts at Faithful Place. It's no surprise he struggles to maintain some semblance of self-possession as past and present collide. And you're inside his head the entire time, struggling simultaneously to make sense of it all.

Monday, July 16, 2012

I’ve Got Your Number

by Sophie Kinsella                  




Poppy Wyatt was having a very, very bad day. First, during the fire alarm, her engagement ring (a very expensive family heirloom) went missing, and then while searching frantically for the ring, her cell phone is stolen. Needing a number to be reached at (in case someone finds the ring), Poppy is ecstatic to find a phone thrown away in the trash can. Soon, Poppy finds out that it is a business phone of the personal assistant of a very busy businessman. Sam Roxton is not happy to let Poppy keep the phone for a few days, but when she promises to keep him updated on emails, calls, and texts, he relents. Unfortunately for Sam, Poppy is very interested in what is going on in Sam’s business and his personal life. Sam also tries to help her out with some of the issues that she seems to be having with her fiancĂ© and his family. Will this situation work out for these two individuals, or are there more problems than even the two of them working together can handle? This story takes place in London, and there is a lot of British slang used. There is also quite a bit of cussing used, but you will find yourself chuckling at the crazy antics that go along with sharing a phone and inbox.     

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Museum: behind the scenes at the Metropolitan Museum of Art by Danny Danziger

This is a hard book to describe, because it is a collection of interviews of a cross-section of people who work for or are connected to the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City.  The museum first opened its doors in April of 1870. It has grown to be one of the world’s top museums, spending millions on its collections and housing great treasures of past and present civilizations.  Out of around 2,000 people, Danziger interviewed 52.  The interviews were edited to appear as thoughtful monologues by each person, with only a few observations by Danziger inserted at the beginning of each monologue.  We read about each person's background, what their work is like, what it means to them, and so forth.  

One critic said in their review of the book that they could decipher the absent questions by the flow of the text, but to me the monologues flow smoothly and give just enough detail to keep the reader’s interest, whether the person is recounting a personal tragedy or explaining the reasons why Islamic Art is an “orphan art form” – how its civilizations crumbled and outsiders failed to engage with its principles and its interests, leaving it without an established place in the history of art. 

All of the curators are amazing, in what they know and what they have pursued, not for material gain (which point keeps resurfacing) but for their passion regarding art, the objects and their creators. And similarly amazing are the people who do other things – like the person manning the front desk for thirty years.  His impressions of the visitors’ traits are intriguing, like how the Brits tend to say ‘brilliant’ for emphasis, which he finds amusing.  And the waitress who has a dying father who is going through invasive treatments with no respite, to whom she can only say “I love you Daddy”.  Yet she separates her grief from her work, knowing that she’s there to help the museum visitors have a perfect day.  The benefactor, the rich man who gives and gets others to give, is absolutely tenacious in his pursuit of donations, yet you can feel his quiet sense of character in his convictions.  He has no illusions about our being born generous.  He says that people have to be persuaded both by example, and by the idea that they can have a particular role in preserving and cultivating the arts.  

          Ultimately what comes across is how these people’s lives have been enriched by what they do, with their contact with these buildings and this collection.  There might be some hard feelings, but you don’t hear of it.  What you hear primarily is how glad they are to work there, to be around the art, to arrive each morning in the Great Hall.   The now former director, Phillipe de Montebello, says “I am the Met, the Met is me.” After 31 years as director, that’s a wonderful statement.  And to varying degrees, that’s what you hear from all the others.  
          Click here to see the catalog listing.