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Not sure what book to pick up next? K.O. Lee Aberdeen Public Library’s Assistant Director Cara Perrion has got you covered. Whether you’re an avid reader or picking up a book for the first time in years, these picks will help readers of all ages find the next adventure to get lost in. 

The Good Life: Lessons from the World’s Longest Scientific Study of Happiness

89857 Good Life Cover Bookshot WhiteNonfiction The Good Life: Lessons from the World’s Longest Scientific Study of Happiness seems to be everywhere. Magazine covers, blogs, television interviews with the authors/scientists, radio, social media, etc. Deservedly so. Released on January 10, 2023, I thought it was just another self-help book in the long line that come parading out of publishing houses after the New Year. I was wrong. This is not a self-help book but rather a well-crafted explanation of human behavior. I remembered watching a TED talk and reading a few articles through the years about this study. Why did this study always catch my attention? Because it’s about a subject that most of us are always looking for: what is the definition of a good life and how do we obtain it? The very notion of what makes a happy or ‘good life’ is very curious. 

I will not spoil the book by giving away all its findings, but if you find your self-worth through your bank account or travel the world looking for magic beans to make you happy, you will be quite disappointed in this read. If making connections with people and cultivating positive relationships is important in your life and for your well-being, then you are on the right track. Some readers have commented about the book being too vague or not having enough data. I am quite sure the authors/scientists Waldinger and Schulz summarized the scientific data to make it more palatable to the everyday reader. This is an easy and very interesting read you can enjoy while understanding the message this study is conveying. The authors dive into how genetics, socioeconomics, and mental and physical health factors into our overall happiness and longevity. The Good Life study does not reveal anything earth shattering or surprising, but is thought-provoking, hopeful, and gives real advice for one’s life. 

Shrines of Gaiety by Kate Atkinson

60371805Historical Fiction Kate Atkinson’s Shrines of Gaiety is the perfect combination of history, mystery, and corruption. Set in the height of the 1920s – The Roaring Twenties – Shrines of Gaiety has its fair share of nefarious nightclubs, bootleggers, flappers, gangs, corruption, and of course, murder. Atkinson is adept at creating well-rounded characters while keeping the action moving at a good pace. The underlying theme of the book is that good people can become corrupt and bad people can do a lot of good. Life isn’t just good or bad, but has a lot of gray area. Shrines of Gaiety is a fast read and highly recommended as an audio book.