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Happy 2017

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This reading list are the books I'm hoping to read to help teach me how to be happier in 2017. 2016 has been rough, and I feel these books will help me move forward from this difficult year, to a happier, more peaceful me!

    Happy

    `Deeply informative, moving, wise and full of love' Alain de Botton Everyone says they want to be happy. But that's much more easily said than done. What does being happy actually mean? And how do you even know when you feel it? Across the millennia, philosophers have thought long and hard about happiness. They have defined it in many different ways and come up with myriad strategies for living the good life. Drawing on this vast body of work, in Happy Derren Brown explores changing concepts of happiness - from the surprisingly modern wisdom of the Stoics and Epicureans in classical times right up until today, when the self-help industry has attempted to claim happiness as its own. He shows how many of self-help's suggested routes to happiness and success - such as positive thinking, self-belief and setting goals - can be disastrous to follow and, indeed, actually cause anxiety. This brilliant, candid and deeply entertaining book exposes the flaws in these ways of thinking, and in return poses challenging but stimulating questions about how we choose to live and the way we think about death. Happy aims to reclaim happiness and to enable us to appreciate the good things in life, in all their transient glory. By taking control of the stories we tell ourselves, by remembering that `everything's fine' even when it might not feel that way, we can allow ourselves to flourish and to live more happily.

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    Furiously Happy

    Furiously Happy is the second book written by the humorist Jenny Lawson. A continuation of her previous autobiography Let's Pretend This Never Happened, this book deals more directly with Lawson's experience with mental illness, depression and anxiety. The title refers to Lawson's philosophy of being "furiously happy" after becoming so depressed that she eventually decided to force herself to be happy out of frustration and spite, driving herself to adventures and experiences in order to build happy memories to sustain her through bouts of depression. This propels her to do such things as travel to Australia in order to hug a koala while wearing a koala suit, to wear a fancy ballgown on ordinary occasions in order to feel beautiful, and to connect with people in the real world in spite of painful physical ability and severe social anxiety. She also related experiences of other mentally ill people who have gone on their own adventures after being inspired by her.

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    Jazz

    An angry and self-loathing veteran of the Korean War, Frank Money finds himself back in racist America after enduring trauma on the front lines that left him with more than just physical scars. His home - and himself in it - may no longer be as he remembers it, but Frank is shocked out of his crippling apathy by the need to rescue his medically abused younger sister and take her back to the small Georgia town they come from, which he's hated all his life. As Frank revisits the memories from childhood and the war that leave him questioning his sense of self, he discovers a profound courage he thought he could never possess again. Toni Morrison's deeply moving novel reveals an apparently defeated man finding his manhood - and, finally, his home. This is a stunning new novel, by the author of "Beloved".

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    Loud in the House of Myself

    Stacy Pershall grew up as an overly intelligent, depressed, deeply strange girl in Prairie Grove, Arkansas, population 1,000. From her days as a thirteen-year-old Jesus freak through her eventual diagnosis of bipolar disorder and borderline personality disorder, this spirited memoir chronicles Pershall's journey through hell and her struggle with the mental health care system.

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    The Girls

    ** The Sunday Times Top Ten Bestseller ** ** The New York Times Top Ten Bestseller ** The UK's best selling hardback debut novel of 2016 Selected as a Book of the Year 2016 in the Evening Standard, Observer and The Times California. The summer of 1969. In the dying days of a floundering counter-culture a young girl is unwittingly caught up in unthinkable violence, and a decision made at this moment, on the cusp of adulthood, will shape her life.... 'This book will break your heart and blow your mind.' Lena Dunham Evie Boyd is desperate to be noticed. In the summer of 1969, empty days stretch out under the California sun. The smell of honeysuckle thickens the air and the sidewalks radiate heat. Until she sees them. The snatch of cold laughter. Hair, long and uncombed. Dirty dresses skimming the tops of thighs. Cheap rings like a second set of knuckles. The girls. And at the centre, Russell. Russell and the ranch, down a long dirt track and deep in the hills. Incense and clumsily strummed chords. Rumours of sex, frenzied gatherings, teen runaways. Was there a warning, a sign of things to come? Or is Evie already too enthralled by the girls to see that her life is about to be changed forever?

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