Saturday, April 16, 2011

Staff Pick - The Book of Awesome by Neil Pasricha

The Book of Awesome: snow days, bakery air, finding money in your pocket, and other simple, brilliant things by Neil Pasricha is a wee book filled with gratitude. From blog to book, 1000 Awesome Things treats us daily to the simple things in life that give us pleasure. Pasricha began with thing number one thousand The Broccoflower:

"About two years ago I noticed something funny as I flipped through a grocery store flyer. On the produce page was an ugly, green-looking cauliflower, with the caption “$2.99! Broccoflower!” It was hilarious. A green cauliflower labelled as a Broccoflower. The bizarre misfit child from two of nature’s most hideous vegetables. The best part is that people usually don’t believe me when I mention it and, to top it off, I’ve never seen it advertised since — like the mutant Broccoflower was shunned by society and has since flown home."

We are cursed by consumer dissatisfaction - just get an iPad? Too bad , it's yesterday's news, buy an iPad2 - social networking anxiety and Facebook depression. The Book of Awesome reminds me of that Discovery Channel promo The World is Awesome boom de yada song. It's an opportunity for a little appreciation and satisfaction.

Pasricha explores the sunny side of life, but never the saccharine. We can all relate to the pleasure of the cool side of the pillow, finding money that you didn't know you had lost, or taking your socks and shoes off after a really long day. You may find things you didn't know others also enjoyed. Who know there are others who enjoy the smell of gasoline? The Book of Awesome won't give you pat or sentimental observations, but rather the universality of that moment of shared experience based on a keen conscious awareness. High fiving a baby is awesome, as they almost never leave you hanging.

According to an article in The Globe and Mail, Pasricha began this blog after a year of sadness and loss. Despite his large readership, he refuses to accept advertising on his site. He continues with his day job and is not planning to give it up (despite his upcoming release of The Book of Even More Awesome in just a few weeks) as he doesn't want writing to become his job.

You may not want to read this one all at once. You may want to space out your awesomeness. Library workers tend to be people who like making and reading lists. So a whole books of lists. Awesome!

What will happen when he reaches thing number one? Will things stop being awesome?

Along a similar vein, but much more labour intensive is The Happiness Project: why I spent a year trying to sing in the morning, clean my closets, fight right, read Aristotle and generally have more fun
by Gretchen Rubin.

"What if you could change your life without really changing your life? On the outside, Gretchen Rubin had it all -- a good marriage, healthy children and a successful career -- but she knew something was missing. Determined to end that nagging feeling, she set out on a year-long quest to learn how to better enjoy the life she already had. Each month, Gretchen pursued a different set of resolutions -- go to sleep earlier, tackle a nagging task, bring people together, take time to be silly -- along with dozens of other goals.

She read everything from classical philosophy to cutting-edge scientific studies, from Winston Churchill to Oprah, developing her own definition of happiness and a plan for how to achieve it. She kept track of which resolutions worked and which didn’t, sharing her stories and collecting those of others through her blog (created to fulfill one of March’s resolutions). Bit by bit, she began to appreciate and amplify the happiness in her life.

The Happiness Project is the engaging, relatable and inspiring result of the author’s twelve-month adventure in becoming a happier person. Written with a wicked sense of humour and sharp insight, Gretchen Rubin’s story will inspire readers to embrace the pleasure in their lives and remind them how to have fun." - publisher

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