A Private History of Happiness.

Author:Siano, Maria
Position:Book review

George Myerson (author); A PRIVATE HISTORY OF HAPPINESS; Blue Bridge (Nonfiction: Self-Help) 19.95 ISBN: 9781933346519

Byline: Maria Siano

Happiness may seem elusive because we are not looking for it in the right places.

That is George Myerson's premise in this inspiring compilation of ninety-nine excerpts about moments of joy described in personal writings in journals, letters to friends and relatives, and diary entries, as well as in memoirs, books, and poems. Divided by general topic -- morning, friendship, garden, family, leisure, nature, food and drink, well-being, creativity, love, and evening -- the brief extracts focus on life's small events, such as a dinner party, plunging into a cold bath, snow-powdered trees on Christmas morning, and anticipating a visit from a friend. Through these examples, Myerson illustrates that happiness can be found all around us.

The book will appeal across generations and geographic locations, as writers span eras and nationalities, providing a broad perspective. The writings are from centuries ago, with the most recent being from the late 1800s, and some of the earliest from Ptah-Hotep in 2400 BCE and Sappho in early sixth-century BCE. Yet, the experiences described remain relatable today, specifically because they focus on the daily activities and emotions of life, rather than grand events.

Myerson's interests in ancient and modern culture, as well as nature, are evident in the selections (he has also written several books on poets and philosophers, rhetoric, ecology, and the environment). Some selections are by well-known writers, such as John James Audubon, who describes hearing the song of the jackdaws through a foggy mist, and Leo Tolstoy, who recounts falling in love with a woman he met at a party. Other selections are by unknown...

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