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Happiness is a Choice You Make by John Leland

Happiness is a Choice You Make: Lessons from a Year Among the Oldest Old by John Leland

This engaging book is based on award-winning journalist Leland’s popular series of articles for the New York Times. He spent a year profiling six of the “oldest old” individuals who have passed the eighty-fifth birthday. This is not a record of the daily routines of this diverse socioeconomic group but rather of answers to questions regarding happiness, life, and death. Early chapters consider overarching themes, such as longevity, health and memory, and romance. The second part gives each elder a chapter, in which each becomes more distinct as backgrounds are filled in and characters are revealed, warts and all. Simultaneously, Leland documents how their collected wisdom impacts his actions as he faces personal turmoil because of an elderly, frail mother and his new, single status after the end of his marriage. Despite occasional repetition or bouts of dwelling on the obvious, Leland entertains and intrigues readers as six unique personalities emerge, sharing their reminiscences about love, heartache, aches and pains, and joy. This is a sympathetic and honest look at growing old. – Booklist

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