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Books by the Blogger:

THE BATTLE OF ARGINUSAE :
VICTORY AT SEA AND ITS TRAGIC AFTERMATH IN THE FINAL YEARS OF THE PELOPONNESIAN WAR
By Debra Hamel


Kindle | paperback (US)
Kindle | paperback (UK)

KILLING ERATOSTHENES:
A TRUE CRIME STORY
FROM ANCIENT ATHENS
By Debra Hamel


Kindle | paperback (US)
Kindle | paperback (UK)

READING HERODOTUS:
A GUIDED TOUR THROUGH THE WILD BOARS, DANCING SUITORS, AND CRAZY TYRANTS OF THE HISTORY
By Debra Hamel


paperback | Kindle | hardcover (US)
paperback | hardcover (UK)

THE MUTILATION OF THE HERMS:
UNPACKING AN ANCIENT MYSTERY
By Debra Hamel


Kindle | paperback (US)
Kindle | paperback (UK)

TRYING NEAIRA:
THE TRUE STORY OF A COURTESAN'S SCANDALOUS LIFE IN ANCIENT GREECE
By Debra Hamel


paperback | hardcover (US)
paperback | hardcover (UK)

PRISONERS OF THE PELOPONNESIAN WAR
By Debra Hamel


Kindle (US) | Kindle (UK)

SOCRATES AT WAR:
THE MILITARY HEROICS OF AN ICONIC INTELLECTUAL
By Debra Hamel


Kindle (US) | Kindle (UK)

ANCIENT GREEKS IN DRAG:
THE LIBERATION OF THEBES AND OTHER ACTS OF HEROIC TRANSVESTISM
By Debra Hamel


Kindle (US) | Kindle (UK)

IT WAS A DARK AND STORMY TWEET:
FIVE HUNDRED 1ST LINES IN 140 CHARACTERS OR LESS
By Debra Hamel


Kindle | paperback (US)
Kindle | paperback (UK)

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Authors & publishers:
I've decided to stop accepting review copies. The downside of getting buried in free books is that reading increasingly becomes an obligatory act. After some seven years of blogging books, it's time for me to return to the simple pleasure of reading only the books I want to read, when I want to read them.



  
From a random review:

  

« Beaton, M.C.: Death of a Gentle Lady | Main | Povey, Jeff: The Serial Killers Club »

Weiner, Eric: The Geography of Bliss

  

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  Amazon  


4.5 stars

In The Geography of Bliss Eric Weiner (who was a foreign correspondent for National Public Radio for a decade) visits ten different countries, interviewing locals and considering each country's cultural eccentrities with a view to identifying the factors that contribute to each population's happiness--or lack thereof. Weiner's itinerary is set to a large extent by data collected by the World Database of Happiness: yes, there is such a place, and it's housed in a nondescript building on the campus of Erasmus University Rotterdam in the Netherlands, Weiner's first stop on his grand tour. The author's quest leads him also to Switzerland, Bhutan, Qatar, Iceland, Moldova, Thailand, Great Britain, and the United States. Not all of these places can boast a happy populace. If you play Which of These Countries Doesn't Belong with the above list, the most obvious odd man out is Moldova, a miserable country that Weiner visited more or less to cleanse his palate after too much sweetness and light. But this visit too is instructive, as he is able to come to some conclusions about why Moldovans are on the whole so wretched.

[INSET TEXT: A humorless interlocutor in Switzerland identified clean public restrooms as a source of Swiss happiness, for example, while the Moldovans Weiner spoke with named as their sole source of joy their country's fresh fruits and vegetables.] What's fascinating about Weiner's book is how different the cultures he writes about are, and how different some of the things that make them happy are. Sure, everybody's better off if they've got enough money to support themselves (though beyond "enough," money doesn't matter all that much), and having familial and community support is always a plus.  But there do seem to be cultural differences once you get beyond these basics. A humorless interlocutor in Switzerland identified clean public restrooms as a source of Swiss happiness, for example, while the Moldovans Weiner spoke with named as their sole source of joy their country's fresh fruits and vegetables. In Thailand as a rule people eschew excessive thought--a light-heartedness that breeds contentment, while in India people revel in unpredictability.

Weiner's conclusions about the sources of happiness won't knock anyone off their chair, but that's not really the point: it's the journey, stupid! This armchair jaunt through ten disparate cultures is a great read, funny and interesting and well-written. Just the sort of book I like.

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Book-blog.com reviews by Debra Hamel are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution - Noncommercial - No Derivative Works 3.0 License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/3.0/).

Comments

1.

This book sounds the sort of thing that would appeal to me too. Very interesting - thanks Debra, just adding it to my Amazon shopping basket.

2.

This book sounds the sort of thing that would appeal to me too. Very interesting - thanks Debra, just adding it to my Amazon shopping basket.

3.

Thanks, Clare! That's what I'm here for....




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About the blogger: Debra is the mother of two preternaturally attractive girls and the author of a number of books about ancient Greece, including Trying Neaira: The True Story of a Courtesan's Scandalous Life in Ancient Greece. She writes and blogs from her subterranean lair in North Haven, CT. Read more.

  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  






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Book-blog.com by Debra Hamel is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution - Noncommercial - No Derivative Works 3.0 License.