At the beginning of this year, I announced I was participating in the Eurovisionathon readathon. Created by Helen, from the Youtube channel, Helen’s Book Haven, the goal of this readathon is to read books associated with countries competing in Eurovision within a month-long time-frame. One of the books I planned to read was The Geography of Bliss: One Grump’s Search for the Happiest Places in the World, as one of the countries featured in the text is Moldova. When the themes for 2023’s Buzzwordathon were announced, I discovered April’s theme was ‘emotions’. This means at least one emotion related word had to be in a book’s title. The Geography of Bliss: One Grump’s Search for the Happiest Places in the World happens to contain three emotion related words: bliss, grump, and happiest. Therefore, I was able to read this book for both readathons!
In The Geography of Bliss: One Grump’s Search for the Happiest Places in the World, Eric Weiner, the book’s author, attempts to find the happiest countries in the world, based on data and research. Each chapter to devoted to this exploration, with Eric including study results, some of a country’s history, and even insight from a few of a country’s residents. Throughout the text, Eric brings up thought-provoking ideas that made me contemplate how Eric’s findings applied outside of the book. One common finding was Eric’s discovery of more ways to describe sadness than happiness. This discovery reminded me of my best and worst movies of the year lists. When I write these lists, I find it easier to talk about movies I don’t like. That’s because I feel compelled to explain why a movie is bad. But if I come across a movie I like, that movie, in my opinion, speaks for itself. This makes me put more thought into writing about good movies.
The Geography of Bliss: One Grump’s Search for the Happiest Places in the World contains ten chapters. Most of these chapters are longer in page length, ranging from about fifteen to twenty pages. If I were reading this book just for Buzzwordathon, the length of the chapters wouldn’t be an issue. Since I read the book for Buzzwordathon and Eurovisionathon, the chapters made the book feel longer than necessary. Despite its flaws, though, The Geography of Bliss: One Grump’s Search for the Happiest Places in the World is a fine and interesting book. While I don’t plan on revisiting it, the book did allow me to expand my literary horizons!
Overall score: 3.6 out of 5
Have fun during Buzzwordathon and Eurovisionathon!
Disclaimer: The Geography of Bliss: One Grump’s Search for the Happiest Places in the World contains content that may be offensive to some readers, as Eric’s approach to each country discussed is honest and realistic. Reader discretion is encouraged.