Before I made the suggestion of a year long project based on self-help books, I naively thought that it would be encompassing a much smaller field. But no. It is huge, there is self-help in the kitchen, self-help (swimming) stroke improvement, self-help self hypnosis. The list is quite long. So yeah, what kind of self-help do I need? And also what makes these people experts? What is the qualification? As far as I can tell its living a good life.
It's interesting though isn't it? It's been enshrined in the American Declaration of Independence (I think, I'm nothing if not wilfully indifferent to everything grand and wonderful about American politics so please don't quote me) that the pursuit of happiness was a fundamental right. In fairness since this was heavily inspired by Locke who was a raging libertarian capitalist if I ever saw one, the pursuit of happiness was probably tied into the accumulation of wealth (not much has changed eh?)
So yes, this is how we work in North America, we go to therapists, we read self-help (or magazines which are kind of mini, much more shallow self-help books), we take up yoga and we try and find a job that we don't absolutely detest.
Well that was depressing...
So yeah, anyway I'm pretty sure happiness for me lies some place in France, some place with good food, darkly good looking men, amazing wine and picturesque bicycle rides through the countryside while I look adorably bohemian in torn jeans comfy sandals and some kind of stripey, vaguely french t-shirt. Or maybe happiness for me is in a bakery, eating croissants and sipping a creme. Either way I know it's there, not here. So let's make the best of a situation, of the difficulty of being born on the wrong continent let alone the wrong country and see what people who are much older, wiser and in the possession of more degrees then me have to say about improving my life.