**From the Sunday Times Bestselling Author** Life-affirming - THE TELEGRAPH Wonderful - INDEPENDENT She made it her mission to learn how to be default happy rather than default disgruntled - RADIO 4 - WOMAN'S HOUR Take a leaf out of Gray's book and be kinder to yourself by appreciating life just as it is - IRISH TIMES Underwhelmed by your ordinary existence? Disillusioned with your middlin' wage, average body, 'bijou' living situation and imperfect loved ones? Welcome to the club. There are billions of us. The 'default disenchanted'. But, it's not us being brats. Two deeply inconvenient psychological phenomenons conspire against our satisfaction. We have negatively-biased brains, which zoom like doom-drones in on what's wrong with our day, rather than what's right. (Back in the mists of time, this negative bias saved our skins, but now it just makes us anxious). Also, something called the 'hedonic treadmill' means we eternally quest for better, faster, more, like someone stuck on a dystopian, never-ending treadmill. Thankfully, there are scientifically-proven ways in which we can train our brains to be more positive-seeking. And to take a rest from this tireless pursuit. Whew. Catherine Gray knits together illuminating science and hilarious storytelling, unveiling captivating research showing that big bucks don't mean big happiness, extraordinary experiences have a 'comedown' and budget weddings predict a lower chance of divorce. She reminds us what an average body actually is, reveals that exercising for weight loss means we do less exercise, and explores the modern tendency to not just try to keep up with the Murphys, but keep up with the Mega-Murphies (see: the social media elite). Come on in to this soulful and life-affirming read, to discover why an ordinary life may well be the most satisfying one of all. PRAISE FOR CATHERINE GRAY'S WRITING: "Uplifting and inspiring" The Evening Standard "Not remotely preachy" The Times "Jaunty, shrewd and convincing" The Telegraph "Admirably honest, light, bubbly and remarkably rarely annoying" The Guardian "An empathetic, warm and hilarious tale from a hugely likeable human" The Lancet Psychiatry
THE SUNDAY TIMES BESTSELLER 'Not remotely preachy' - The Times 'Jaunty, shrewd and convincing' - Sunday Telegraph 'Admirably honest, light, bubbly and remarkably rarely annoying.' - Alice O'Keeffe, Guardian 'Truthful, modern and real' - Stylist 'Brave, witty and brilliantly written' - Marie Claire Ever sworn off alcohol for a month and found yourself drinking by the 7th? Think there's 'no point' in just one drink? Welcome! There are millions of us. 64% of Brits want to drink less. Catherine Gray was stuck in a hellish whirligig of Drink, Make horrible decisions, Hangover, Repeat. She had her fair share of 'drunk tank' jail cells and topless-in-a-hot-tub misadventures. But this book goes beyond the binges and blackouts to deep-dive into uncharted territory: What happens after you quit drinking? This gripping, heart-breaking and witty book takes us down the rabbit-hole of an alternative reality. A life with zero hangovers, through sober weddings, sex, Christmases and breakups. In The Unexpected Joy of Being Sober, Catherine Gray shines a light on society's drink-pushing and talks to top neuroscientists and psychologists about why we drink, delving into the science behind what it does to our brains and bodies. Much more than a tale from the netherworld of addicted drinking, this book is about the escape, and why a sober life can be more intoxicating than you ever imagined. Whether you're a hopelessly devoted drinker, merely sober-curious, or you've already ditched the drink, you will love this book. 'Haunting, admirable and enlightening' - The Pool 'A riveting, raw, yet humorous memoir with actionable advice.' - Annie Grace, author of This Naked Mind 'Like listening to your best friend teach you to be sober. Lighthearted but serious, it's packed with ideas, tools, tips and, most importantly, reasons for living a sober life.'- Eric Zimmer, host of podcast The One You Feed 'Gray's fizzy writing succeeds in making this potentially boring-as-hell subject both engaging and highly seductive' - The Bookseller 'Her exquisitely crafted thoughts on the joys of being sober are not only deeply honest and pragmatic, but she manages to infuse tons of humor. This is a delightful, informative, and compelling read for all those who are sober or seeking sobriety.' - Sasha Tozzi, Huffington Post
Ever sworn off alcohol for a month and found yourself drinking by the 7th? Think there's 'no point' in just one drink? Welcome! Quitting drinking, whether for a month or for life, is enormously satisfying, but also fiendishly difficult. -There's the getting started ('But I have that party next week!') -There's the feeling clenched and socially anxious. -Throw in a sizeable amount of social pressure and suspicious questions ('So, do you have a drinking problem?' -Finally, chuck in the hundreds of pro-drinking messages we see every day; films where a round of shots always comes with a whoop; fridge magnets that say 'I don't trust people who don't drink'; pub clapboards announcing 'Strong people need strong drinks'; and memes declaring 'Beer: it's a holiday in a glass.' Whew. It's no wonder we find it tricky to stay teetotal. But don't worry. We're going to tackle all of the above. I'm going to give you tools that enable you to clear all of these stumbling blocks with the grace of a gazelle. So, let's get started, shall we? PRAISE FOR CATHERINE GRAY'S WRITING: "An icon of the Quit Lit movement." Condé Nast Traveller "Fascinating." Bryony Gordon. "Not remotely preachy." The Times "Jaunty, shrewd and convincing." The Telegraph "Admirably honest, light, bubbly and remarkably rarely annoying." The Guardian "Truthful, modern and real." Stylist "Brave, witty and brilliantly written." Marie Claire "Haunting, admirable and enlightening." The Pool
* 'This refreshing, unusual book needs to exist. A culture shift which repositions a single person as someone who is relationship-free, complete, and not lacking is long overdue.' - The i * Having a secret single freak-out? Feeling the red, heart-shaped urgency intensify as the years roll on by? Oh hi! You're in the right place. Over half of Brits aged 25-44 are now single. It's become the norm to remain solo until much later in life, given the average marriage ages of 35 (women) and 38 (men). Many of us are choosing never to marry at all. But society, films, song lyrics and our parents are adamant that a happy ending has to be couple-shaped. That we're incomplete without an 'other half'*, like a bisected panto pony. Cue: single sorrow. Dating like it's a job. Spending half our lives waiting for somebody-we-fancy to text us back. Feeling haunted by the terms 'spinster' or 'confirmed bachelor.' Catherine Gray took a whole year off dating to find single satisfaction. She lifted the lid on the reasons behind the global single revolution, explored the bizarre ways cultures single-shame, detached from 'all the good ones are gone!' panic and debunked the myth that married people are much happier. Let's start the reverse brainwash, in order to locate - and luxuriate in - single happiness. Are you in? *Spoiler: you're already whole PRAISE FOR CATHERINE GRAY'S WRITING: "Fascinating." Bryony Gordon. "Not remotely preachy." The Times "Jaunty, shrewd and convincing." The Telegraph "Admirably honest, light, bubbly and remarkably rarely annoying." The Guardian "Truthful, modern and real." Stylist "Brave, witty and brilliantly written." Marie Claire "Haunting, admirable and enlightening." The Pool
Fifteen years ago, Mama said, starting her story, I came to Lagos from Ghana. I came to Nigeria because I was considered an alien in that country. The government of Ghana passed a law asking all aliens without resident permits to regularise their stay in the country'. This story of migration, identities and lives undermined by cynical and xenophobic politics pushed to its logical and terrible conclusion pertains to the Ghanaian orders of `alien compliance' issued in 1970-1971, which determined to force all non-ethnic Ghanaians, so called illegal immigrants, to return to their - so stipulated - `home'. The novel thus touches on concerns of deeper relevance to the politics of race and migration of the twenty first century.
Discover how the freedom of sucking at something can help you build resilience, embrace imperfection, and find joy in the pursuit rather than the goal. What if the secret to resilience and joy is the one thing we’ve been taught to avoid? When was the last time you tried something new? Something that won’t make you more productive, make you more money, or check anything off your to-do list? Something you’re really, really bad at, but that brought you joy? Odds are, not recently. As a sh*tty surfer and all-around-imperfect human Karen Rinaldi explains in this eye-opening book, we live in a time of aspirational psychoses. We humblebrag about how hard we work and we prioritize productivity over play. Even kids don’t play for the sake of playing anymore: they’re building blocks to build the ideal college application. But we’re all being had. We’re told to be the best or nothing at all. We’re trapped in an epic and farcical quest for perfection. We judge others on stuff we can’t even begin to master, and it’s all making us more anxious and depressed than ever. Worse, we’re not improving on what really matters. This book provides the antidote. (It’s Great to) Suck at Something reveals that the key to a richer, more fulfilling life is finding something to suck at. Drawing on her personal experience sucking at surfing (a sport she’s dedicated nearly two decades of her life to doing without ever coming close to getting good at it) along with philosophy, literature, and the latest science, Rinaldi explores sucking as a lost art we must reclaim for our health and our sanity and helps us find the way to our own riotous suck-ability. She draws from sources as diverse as Anthony Bourdain and surfing luminary Jaimal Yogis, Thich Nhat Hanh, and Jean-Paul Sartre, among many others, and explains the marvelous things that happen to our mammalian brains when we try something new, all to discover what she’s learned firsthand: it is great to suck at something. Sucking at something rewires our brain in positive ways, helps us cultivate grit, and inspires us to find joy in the process, without obsessing about the destination. Ultimately, it gives you freedom: the freedom to suck without caring is revelatory. Coupling honest, hilarious storytelling with unexpected insights, (It’s Great to) Suck at Something is an invitation to embrace our shortcomings as the very best of who we are and to open ourselves up to adventure, where we may not find what we thought we were looking for, but something way more important.
Abigail has driven other suitors away, but can Micah find a way to show her he cares? Being a caregiver for Micah Zook’s grandmother is the answer to Abigail’s prayers. In fact, the elderly lady keeps finding ways to set Abigail up with her grandson. Despite Abigail’s constant chatter, Micah realizes he’s beginning to care for her—until he makes a decision that leaves her feeling betrayed. With Christmas in their midst, can Micah find a way to reconcile with Abigail and to reveal the true feelings of his heart?
In modern-day Cape Cod, Joy, a baby boomer and proud hippie, is holding a memorial concert for the other half of her popular musical duo, Jump & Joy. When her tightly wound, conservative daughter and her sweet, rebellious granddaughter arrive from Oklahoma, sparks fly as one family seeks to find the common ground in their different values, dreams, and goals. A heartfelt and hilarious story that celebrates diversity and acceptance, Unexpected Joy weaves folk-rock, pop, and blues in bringing together a family that hasn’t experienced true joy in decades.
Nine failed marriages. That's what my mother and grandmothers collectively went through. Could I break the pattern? I knew God had a plan for husbands and wives, but then there was that one word. Submit. What does that even look like today? Especially for an independent, educated woman ten years older than her husband? I found out. And I want every Christian woman to experience it. Study guide included.
What would it be like to enter a life of vibrant worship and deepening romance with Christ? From first to last Scripture tells a mighty blessing story, and we can be part of it. We can enter the energizing dynamic of receiving, returning and reflecting the love of the Triune God. Offering passionate insights into the person of Christ, and true stories of blessing, pastor Gerrit Dawson leads us on a joyful journey toward loving Jesus and participating significantly in his love for the world. Also available: A Guide to the Blessing Life, a forty-day companion to the journey.
"From Vine to Table: The Unexpected Joy of Zucchini's Magic" is a culinary handbook for anyone wanting to master the art of cooking zucchini. It is an impressive culmination of zucchini recipes that is an excellent everyday source for easily achievable wonderfully flavorful recipes you might not expect to see in a zucchini cookbook.
"In this profoundly moving memoir, Owita teaches Wall how to find grace amid heartbreak and to accept that beauty exists because it is fleeting—as in her garden, as in life." —People, 4 stars "A perfect spring awakening." —Good Housekeeping A true story of a unique friendship between two people who had nothing—and ultimately everything—in common. Carol Wall, a white woman living in a lily-white neighborhood in Middle America, was at a crossroads in her life. Her children were grown; she had successfully overcome illness; her beloved parents were getting older. One day she notices a dark-skinned African man tending her neighbor’s yard. His name is Giles Owita. He bags groceries at the supermarket. He comes from Kenya. And he’s very good at gardening. Before long Giles is transforming not only Carol’s yard, but her life. Though they are seemingly quite different, a caring bond grows between them. But they both hold long-buried secrets that, when revealed, will cement their friendship forever.
“The Anti-Romantic Child is remarkable. This haunting and lyrical memoir will be an invaluable and heartening guide to all who find themselves in similar situations and indeed anyone confronting an unforeseen challenge.”—Marie Brenner, writer for Vanity Fair and author of Apples and Oranges With an emotionally resonant combination of memoir and literature, Wordsworth scholar Priscilla Gilman recounts the challenges of raising a son with hyperlexia, a developmental disorder neurologically counterpoint to dyslexia. Gilman explores the complexities of our hopes and expectations for our children and ourselves. With luminous prose and a searing, personal story evocative of A Year of Magical Thinking and A Year of Reading Proust, Gilman’s The Anti-Romantic Child is an unforgettable exploration of what happens when we lean to embrace the unexpected.
In this engaging book by Stuart and Jill Briscoe, you will discover that there is no conflict with being thoroughly happy, truly healthy, and practically holy. And you will also learn what God is asking of you when He says, “Be holy, because I am holy.”
Would you consider your life stretched to the limit? Are you a burn-the-candle-at-both-ends kind of gal with lots of room for improvement when it comes to creating margins for rest? But you actually love it and wouldn’t want it any other way? Well, so does Lisa Harper. In her humorous and packed-with-biblical-wisdom way, Lisa shows us that it is possible for a frazzled nature to be glorifying to the Lord. Every late-night conversation with a hurting friend and each precious, adopted child needing a little extra tender loving care—exhausting, yet imperative, ways to be extensions of the gospel. In each of these vignettes illustrating Lisa’s overextended life, we learn that even in the middle of our own pure motives and hectic schedules, it is only by resting in God’s sovereign mercy that we are able to keep risking our hearts to serve his people and fulfill the callings he has placed on us. Real life . . . abundant life . . . godly life is about loving Jesus and the people he allows us to rub shoulders with well—which means some days you’ll be stretched emotionally and physically. You’ll feel overextended. Thankfully God will expand our hearts and calendars to accommodate the calling. He is in the business of supplying us with new mercies every morning . . . new candles to burn, for more lives needing his light.
Being a happy mom isn't about sailing through motherhood. It's not about having it all together or having the best kids. Parenting can be chaotic, stressful, and complicated. There are temper tantrums and sibling squabbles. There is self-doubt and frustration, even fear and uncertainty. But there is also laughter and love . . . and, yes, even bliss. Finding Mommy Bliss-Discovering Unexpected Joy in Everyday Moments helps moms take steps toward the parental happiness that can sometimes be hiding at the bottom of the laundry pile. Author Genny Heikka includes stories from her own experiences as a parent, along with practical advice, tips, and questions that moms can explore on their own or in a group setting. Filled with the humor, heartache, and humbling realizations that only parenting can bring, Finding Mommy Bliss makes for an encouraging, easy read for the busy mom who needs a few minutes of inspiration.