Wednesday, September 9, 2015

The Gratitude Diaries by Janice Kaplan + Make it a Gift

Picture edited by Lauren in PicMonkey

The Gratitude Diaries: How a Year Looking on the Bright Side Can Transform Your Life

Author: Janice Kaplan

Review by Lauren

Source: copy from Book Expo America; all opinions are my own

Official Summary: On New Year’s Eve, journalist and former Parade editor in chief Janice Kaplan makes a promise to be grateful and look on the bright side of whatever happens. She realizes that how she feels over the next months will have less to do with the events that occur than her own attitude and perspective. Getting advice at every turn from psychologists, academics, doctors, and philosophers she brings readers on a smart and witty journey to discover the value of appreciating what you have.

Relying on both amusing personal experiences and extensive research, Kaplan explores how gratitude can transform every aspect of life including marriage and friendship, money and ambition, and health and fitness. She learns how appreciating your spouse changes the neurons of your brain and why saying thanks helps CEOs succeed. Through extensive interviews with experts and lively conversations with real people including celebrities like Matt Damon, Daniel Craig, and Jerry Seinfeld, Kaplan discovers the role of gratitude in everything from our sense of fulfillment to our children’s happiness.

Review: When I went to Book Expo America at the end of May, I was on a non-fiction kick, particularly in terms of happiness and bettering yourself. I did not know Janice Kaplan beforehand, but I came across her signing and decided to get in line. That's definitely one thing I liked about BEA - you can find some interesting books and authors just by walking around. At any rate, I got my ARC signed and went on my way. I finally got a chance to read this last month and while I didn't love the book, I did enjoy it for the most part and found a lot of interesting information.

Actual book cover
I like nonfiction books that read like fiction - a lot of times they are even a mix of research and memoir. Kaplan's book was more research than anything else, though she did talk about her personal experiences in the past and during her year of trying to live a grateful life. It was intriguing to learn a lot about the research behind gratitude and how it really can help you stay healthier and it makes dealing with rough patches in your life much easier.

While I liked learning about gratitude, I would have liked a bit more of the memoir aspect in this one. Plus, when Kaplan did talk about her life, though more so about her past, I didn't feel like I could really relate. For someone who is in graduate school and who doesn't yet have a full time job, I definitely don't make a lot of money. Despite where I am now, I don't come from a family who ever made a lot of money, so sometimes I felt a bit annoyed by Kaplan's talk of her success and jobs. I understand that everyone has their own lot in life, and I don't begrudge Kaplan anything she has, but at the same time, it just got a bit annoying throughout the book. I suppose I just wanted something easier to relate too; regardless, I would recommend this book if you are curious about some interesting research concerning gratitude.

2015 Gratitude Journal from Etsy Shop I Love It All

You can get a journal for months September - December 2015 for $15, or for $45, you can get a journal for the whole of 2016 (Jan-Dec 2016). There are a couple more options too, so be sure to check it out!

If you are going to gift yourself or even someone else with The Gratitude Diaries, this wonderful journal would be a fantastic gift to go along with it. I'd suggest getting the 2016 journal so you could give it to someone this holiday season and they can have their own Year of Living Gratefully.


Melliane said...

I don't read a lot of non fiction books or if the topics really appeals to me but it's usually the same topic but it's interesting.

Krysten Quiles said...

This sounds kind of awesome, I may have to read it.

Tracy Terry said...

Whilst not a big fan of this kind of book myself I do think that combined with the journal you feature it would make an inspired choice of gift for certain of my friends who are really into this sort of thing.

Liviania said...

I'm not big on memoirs, but this sounds lovely. And that journal goes with it perfectly!

Kindlemom said...

I think I don't read these type of books for some of the same reasons that you found issues with this one. ;)
Wonderful honest review though, it is interesting to read these type of books once in a while.

Cascia Talbert said...

That sounds like a great book, thanks for sharing your review!

Christy @ Love of Books said...

I'm hugely into research, so I'm sure I'd like that aspect. And what a cute calendar.

The Bibliophile Babe said...

Sounds like an interesting book that'd make a good gift! Non fiction isn't my cup. Great review!

Medeia Sharif said...

This would be uplifting. When I'm down, I like to think about what I'm grateful about. I also like to relate to a book's character or speaker.

Alise said...

I do like the concept behind this one but I tend to struggle with non-fiction books unless they read like fiction, like you mentioned.

kimbacaffeinate said...

The calendar is adorable, I am not really into these types of memoirs.

Karen said...

Honestly, I seem to get more annoyed by these type of self improvement/memoir books than find them helpful (although I haven't read this one).

They tend to be people who have a pretty good life yet still feel unfulfilled and aren't all that relatable. Then comes the onslaught of marketing - like the journal (which is very cute lol) and I don't just rubs me the wrong way even though I know it helps a lot of people.

Karen @For What It's Worth