Being “Happier at Home”–cultivate a shrine!

Gretchen Rubin has been one of my favorite author-bloggers since I discovered her blog The Happiness Project. This led to a book of the same name, which has led to a sequel: Happier at Home.

Her books make happiness accessible, in the idea that small changes can reap big rewards in happiness: things like  singing in the morning, going to bed earlier, show proofs of love, and act the way you want to feel.

I read Happier at Home as soon as it came out, and my copy is full oy post-in notes and notes in the margins, indicating things I liked and wanted to try in my own home. One of them is “cultivate a shrine.” No, not a creepy shrine like the one you see suspects having on Law and Order, but “an area that celebrates my passions, interests and values” (30). Gretchen says this is “arranged with care. It entices people to particular activities and moods. It’s a sign of dedication.” (30)

I have lots of shrines. I have a Wizard of Oz shrine, I have a theater shrine, I have a music shrine. But the one that immediately came to mind was the Jane Austen shrine. Now, this is sort of spread throughout the house, so it’s more like “mini-shrines” of Jane happiness.

Here’s some photos:

Jane Shrine–research books


This is the “books ABOUT Jane” section. This has been carefully built up over a few years, with the help of my friends, who bring me Jane books when they travel from afar! 🙂 (Thanks guys!) And do not underestimate the “for Dummies” series when it comes to gaining knowledge; this one has the Jane Austen walking tour in the back, complete with transportation methods. This will be invaluable for me when I FINALLY get to England and Do the Jane Austen Tour.

Jane’s novels, and a Jane quote 🙂

This is is the Jane works section of my library. First we have the Oxford World Classics editions, which, to me, are The Top. I used these for my Jane “scholarly” reading, so these are full of notes are underlines, especially Mansfield Park, since that was my thesis focus. After that we have a DK version of P & P, followed by Ignatius Critical Editions of P&P  and MP. THEN we have the “annotated” versions of S&S, Emma and Persuasion (next shelf, picture following). The plaque was found by my parents and is a quote from Emma (spoken by Mr. Woodhouse.)

Jane As comic books!


And finally (at least on the first floor), we have the above-mentioned Persuasion, as well as–brace yourself–JANE COMIC BOOKS. Marvel has editions of S&S and P&P this way, and I loveee them.

Of special note is the book, fourth from left: this is the British Edition of Darcy’s Tale by Jane Alymer. One of my dear friends from high school brought this back for me when she did a study abroad in England during college. It has the original P&P illustrations and is printed on lovely thick, glossy paper. There is a US edition now, but I dearly love this one.

Gretchen is right–these books make me SO HAPPY, to see them all arranged in their lovely ways. The last part of the “shrine” is up in my bedroom, which features the Jane novels in Penguin Hardback, which are so beautiful. (I also have several other books this way: Wuthering Heights, Inferno, The Woman in White, Little Women, Sonnets and a Lover’s Complaint [Shakespeare]) Beautiful books definitely make me happy!

Do you “cultivate a shrine”?