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Perhaps I am late to this party, but I've never read any of Anna Quindlen's books before, although I almost picked up Lots of Candles, Plenty of Cake when it came out last year. And now, having read this book, I just might.

A Short Guide to a Happy Life is indeed short - the slight book (about 5" x 7", I'm guessing, since I'm too lazy this morning to find a measuring tape) is only 50 pages long, and quite a few of those contain photographs, which means the text occupies only 20-some of those small pages. It reads like a commencement address, and it appears (if Wikipedia is to be trusted, and I know it isn't always the case) that the book was intended to be a commencement speech at Villanova, but it never got given. Instead, it was turned into a lovely little book full of thoughtful points and platitudes (those tended to intrude in strings, now and again, and hey - maybe they're fine if you've never heard them before, and maybe graduating seniors wouldn't mind, but . . . let's just say I notice them, okay?).

The original content in the book (hackneyed phrases aside) made it worth a second read, and hey - it doesn't take that long to read such a slim volume. It's about the importance of finding or making a life for yourself - not a living, but a realio trulio life, one that is good for your soul.

So I suppose the best piece of advice I could give anyone is pretty simple: get a life. A real life, not a manic pursuit of the next promotion, the bigger paycheck, the larger house. Do you think you'd care so very much about those things if you developed an aneurysm one afternoon, or found a lump in your breast while in the shower?

Get a life in which you notice the smell of salt water pushing itself on a breeze over the dunes, a life in which you stop and watch how a red-tailed hawk circles over a pond and a stand of pines. Get a life in which you pay attention to the baby as she scowls with concentration when she tries to pick up a Cheerio with her thumb and first finger.

I got my copy from the library, but it seems like a good idea for a graduation gift for college grads, or a Christmas present for my girls, or, well, a good reminder for anyone who needs this sort of reminder, which is most of us.

Kiva - loans that change lives

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( 2 comments — Leave a comment )
Aug. 23rd, 2013 02:50 am (UTC)
Ooh, sounds nice. I will have to see if I can locate a copy. And the gift idea is a good one!
Aug. 24th, 2013 03:44 pm (UTC)
It is an extremely quick read, as you might imagine. But it gave me things to think about, which was excellent.
( 2 comments — Leave a comment )

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