Amazon Asks Gretchen Rubin, Author of "Happier at Home"
Gretchen Rubin's Happiness Project, the year she spent methodically testing happier strategies, plays out on a more powerfully intimate stage with Happier at Home, new this week. Rubin opened up to us about her obsession with scent, Flannery O'Connor, and the moment she wrote "one of my favorite things I've written in my whole life."
What's your elevator pitch for Happier at Home?
Studying happiness, I realized that for me—and most people—home was the foundation. I decided to figure out what changes I could realistically make to be happier at home. Marriage, parenthood, my time, possessions, body, neighborhood—I looked at all these elements to find and share ways to boost happiness.
Who’s your current author crush?
Flannery O’Connor. I can hardly read her fiction, because it makes my head explode, but I’m rereading her nonfiction now--I’m reading The Habit of Being for the third time, which is a collection of her letters, then plan to reread her essays and speeches.
What’s your current obsession?
The sense of smell, with a sub-obsession of perfume. In the past, I paid no attention to scent, and now it’s a huge pleasure for me.
What’s on your bedside table?
I’m very cautious when I turn off my alarm in the morning, because I fear being crushed under that stack of books if it topples! I used to be very disciplined about acquiring books, but my husband (easily) broke me of that. Plus I live a block from a library, and you can really be reckless in a library. Sometimes I feel almost panicky when I think of how many books I want to read.
What’s been your most memorable moment as an author?
One of my most thrilling writing moments happened when I was writing the final chapter of Happier at Home: I sat there, thinking about Little House in the Big Woods, about all my feelings for my home, and I was able to bring it together in a way that perfectly expressed what I wanted to say. I almost felt like I was in a trance. That ending changed very little in editing, and it’s one of my favorite things that I’ve written in my whole life.
What’s your favorite fuel while you’re writing?
Diet soda. Lots of diet soda.