Buy the Book / No. 3

Buy the Book is a monthly feature where I share a gift guide inspired by something I've read. It's a little play on "by the book" since all of the gifts come directly from quotes or scenes in the book featured and, you know, since it's all stuff you can buy. I'm including a snippet from the book for each item so you'll know why I picked it!

Happiness for Beginners by Katherine Center

He turned and checked the backseat. "Yup. Duncan predicted you'd pack a cooler of snacks."

1. Stanley Adventure Cooler ($65) - You can tell what kind of person Helen is early on and learn that her brother seems to know her quirks. But you'll have to read to find out the other reason this item made the list.

This kid was not someone I could relate to. He adored my awful brother. He had ditched medical school for no apparent reason. And he was about to unzip his pants and relieve himself into an Evian bottle. In the passenger seat of my Subaru.

2. Evian Natural Spring Water, 24 Count ($29.38) - This moment made me laugh so hard! Helen sees Jake a certain way, but I could tell almost immediately that there was something intriguing behind all his teasing.

"The question is, do you want to play Scrabble?" He held out a box of travel Scrabble for me to see.

Of all things. My favorite game.
"I am way too tired to play Scrabble," I said. But he stepped closer and sat down on the bed. I let him.

3. Scrabble Folio Edition ($33.99) - The best part of this game of Scrabble is that there's a bet involved... and let's just say it's a scene you won't soon forget. You'll see a different side of Jake in this moment!

"Maybe you think you're a tough guy. But I'll tell you something: The only tough guy in the Absarokas is Mother Nature, and she is going to drag your ass up and down the block." / / "... I found I liked looking at contour maps. Everybody else seemed to see squiggly lines and patches of color. But I for some reason looked down and saw it all in 3-D."

4. National Geographic Absaroka - Beartooth Wilderness East Map ($11.95) - I absolutely loved the setting, so I had to include something for it. And Helen's unprepared for the wilderness, but her map skills come in handy!

"At Outfitting, I tried on several pairs of boots. Beckett said it was best to rent them unless you had your own well-broken-in pair, which I didn't, of course. The rental pairs were certainly well broken in -- by other people's stinky feet."

5. La Sportiva FC ECO 3.2 GTX Hiking Books ($175) - If you're going hiking, you definitely need some boots. While Helen rents her pair, I chose these with absolutely zero knowledge of hiking. Like Helen. (Beware of blisters!)

Windy also gleaned a lot of her wisdom about happiness, and what it is, and how to approach it, from a very thoughtful book by Richard O'Connor called Happy at Last: The Thinking Person's Guide to Finding Joy. Windy's idea of appreciating Three Good Things every day came from that book. {From the Acknowledgments}

6. Happy at Last: The Thinking Person's Guide to Finding Joy ($13.87) - Helen and another hiker discuss being happy and what you hold on to and remember about your life. It was one of my favorite parts of the book!

"Anyway, I brought you a present. To replace your lost list." He held out a folded piece of paper.
"What is it?"
"It's a poem."
"You wrote a poem?"
"No. It's Pablo Neruda. My favorite poem by my favorite poet."

7. One Hundred Love Sonnets by Pablo Neruda ($15.45) - You'll have to read the book to find out why Helen loses her list, what was on it, and what poem she's handed. But trust me when I say it'll make you swoon.

"Sorry I broke your glasses," I said, as we started across the rocks to the path.
"Nah," Jake said, sliding the broken glasses arm into his pocket. "It's nothing a little duct tape can't fix." (218)

8. Warby Parker Winston Glasses ($95) - I just love Jake and his little hipster glasses! They are mentioned several times and are particularly important in this scene, though of course I can't tell you why. READ IT.

9. Duck Brand Metallic Color Duct Tape ($3.39) - You never know when you'll need a roll of duct tape, especially when you're out in the woods. This isn't even the first time it's used in the book either! Survival 101.

"In fact, in that moment, I was Pickle: a mangy-looking mini dachshund with a tail that never wagged and a foul temper. Maybe that's why we got along so well." (82)

10. My Dachshund Keychain ($8.95) - Oh, Pickle! While the dog on this keychain might be a little cuter than its literary counterpart, I couldn't resist including a little something to commemorate this crazy animal.

"If it were up to me, he'd be crammed back there with his duffel, and I'd be up front, alone with all the music I'd collected for the journey: Joni Mitchell, Nina Simone, Indigo Girls. The plan had been to sing my lungs out on the drive west, to team up with everybody from Annie Lennox to James Brown and belt out every emotion in the human repertoire. And then, hopefully, by the time I hit Wyoming, to be done with them all."

11. Joni Mitchell Hits ($5.99) - Helen has this vision for how her entire trip will go, and nothing turns out the way she plans. I liked that she had to let go of her expectations, especially since this was the least of the disruptions. 


  1. This is so awesome; I've never seen this kind of a blog post before! Now have to go back and read the other "Buy the Book" posts you've done. SO cool! <3

  2. I absolutely adore this post series, Hannah. It always makes me want to buy SOMETHING, and this one is no exception. That keychain is super cute, and I wouldn't mind owning a Neruda poetry collection of my own :)

  3. Oh, man, Hannah why do you do this???? After reading the review for this book, I wanted to go out and buy it ASAP and now I want to buy all of these things! This is a great series and I can't wait for me. Also: I LOVE that Neruda. I've only read a few poems by him but I love them all!


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