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Guest blogger: Mary Hughes

15 August 2010

Are you happy?

(or How to feel good about buying books)

Really ask yourself.  Are you happy?

My husband sends me articles. Oh, not the painfully silly ones or the ones so twee (sweet) they suck your lips into your esophagus. (My rule of thumb: I only forward it if it makes me laugh out loud or think a brand-new thought.) Anyway, just last week he sent me a link to a New York Times article titled “But Will It Make You Happy?”

Lots of people think more money will make them happy. Then you hear about missionaries who visit the poorest people in the world, and it turns out those “poor” people are happier than the missionaries.  Necessities aside, money itself isn’t an automatic happy.

So, if not money, then stuff? Well, the article pretty much stomps that idea too.  Mr Smith’s 3G stuff may make him happy—until Mr Jones gets 4G stuff. Then Mr Smith is unhappy because he wants 4G stuff too.

Here’s my bet. You, dear reader, are pretty happy.

Why? Because, according to the article, the only type of spending that actually correlates to happiness is leisure spending (after the basic needs are met). Fun experiences like vacations, fun activities like golf or computer games. Diversions like TV or movies.

And where do we get the most experience and entertainment for the least money, the most bang for the buck or delight for the dollar?

Right. With books.

Readers who belong to groups like ARRA increase that delight by talking books with other people. Sharing books, in book clubs or with friends (or with other readers who become friends), taps an even bigger promoter of happiness: strong relationships.  The shared experience of quoting great lines, the shared anticipation of a favorite author’s upcoming book—the only thing better to my mind is shared chocolate. (I’m not going to say how that works. I’m an erotic romance writer. Let your imagination soar.)

So are you happy? I can’t answer that question for you, but I can say that if you’re here, you’re a reader who shares—and that’s a great start.

Thanks for having me back as a guest blogger at ARRA!

Mary Hughes is an author, a computer programmer and a flutist. Bite My Fire, ARRA nominee for Favourite Erotic Romance and the first book in Mary’s Biting Love series, just released August 3 in paperback. It’s available at several Australian booksellers, including Borders, Booktopia,  and Angus & Robertson.

Mary has offered an ebook of Bite My Fire as a prize. Leave a comment letting us know how books make you happy and you will go in the draw to win.

The competition has now closed – the winner is Drea.

29 Comments
  1. Tessa permalink
    21 August 2010 1:30 am

    I love books, and they always make me happy. I can not imagine a life without books.

    • 21 August 2010 2:49 am

      Hi, Tessa!

      Entertainment, knowledge, escape and more…we’d lose a lot from life without books, wouldn’t we? Thanks for your comments, and stopping by!

      Best wishes,
      Mary

  2. Stacey A Smith permalink
    19 August 2010 4:49 pm

    Books always make me happy there my escape from real life.with out them I would have gone crazy by now.
    sasluvbooks(at)yahoo.com

    • 21 August 2010 2:22 am

      Hi, Stacey!

      *So* true. Books are inexpensive, lightweight, and don’t wake anyone at 2 in the morning when I can’t sleep 🙂

      Thanks for stopping by and commenting!

      Best wishes,
      Mary

  3. 18 August 2010 5:23 am

    I love reading, its something I do no matter how busy I am, because yes, a good book can leae me with a happy glow. You are right on about this.

    • 19 August 2010 1:42 am

      Hey, B.A.!

      Oh, yes, the happiness lasts after the book ends, another great thing. Thanks so much for stopping by, and your wonderful comments!

      Best wishes,
      Mary

  4. Fedora permalink
    16 August 2010 2:54 pm

    Hi, Mary! While it’s true that not all of life is happy, books are definitely a happy-making thing in my life 🙂 They’re one of the joys that aren’t too expensive, and can be experienced over and over again–gotta love a good reread! Thanks for contributing to that pleasure by writing!

    • 17 August 2010 8:54 am

      Hey, Fedora!

      I’d forgotten the joy of rereading a favorite, you’re absolutely right. Makes buying books even more of a happiness bargain 🙂 Thanks for your kind words, and your great comments!

      Best wishes,
      Mary

  5. naturelover54 permalink
    16 August 2010 12:09 pm

    Hi Mary, I read “Biting Nixie” on my Kindle, and everyone on my row in the plane were wondering what made me laugh out loud and breathe deeply from time to time. Thanks for Nixie!

    • 17 August 2010 8:38 am

      Hi, naturelover!

      Oh, my, thank you for that! I can just picture it 😀 You’re very welcome, and thank you!

      Best wishes,
      Mary

  6. Cathy M permalink
    16 August 2010 8:31 am

    Hi Mary,

    Reading romance stories keeps me sane and always lightens my mood. Delving into a fabulous romance story always make me happy, and is my salvation when my all male household starts to tweak my last nerve. Even 30 minutes of quiet time with a great book can get me re-entering the fray with enthusiam and patience, and helps bring back my sense of the ridiculous that is my life, lol.

    • 17 August 2010 12:35 am

      Hi, Cathy!

      I agree, the stories lighten the load. I love knowing that, whatever the obstacle, it’s all going to come out happily on the other end.

      Thanks for coming by, and your great comments!

      Best wishes,
      Mary

  7. 16 August 2010 7:20 am

    Mary, I read the same article and came to the same conclusion!

    This is the first time I’ve been on ARRA. What a great site! I live in the U.S., but I’ll come back.

    • 17 August 2010 12:29 am

      Hey Edie!

      I loved that article. Now I feel less guilty about all the books I’m going to buy anyway. 🙂

      Isn’t ARRA awesome? Thanks so much for stopping by!

      Best wishes,
      Mary

  8. 16 August 2010 6:49 am

    Heartfelt thanks to you wonderful ARRA readers for having me as a guest this week!

    Mary

  9. Maria63303 permalink
    16 August 2010 2:59 am

    Hi Mary!

    I just wanted to say hi….I have all of your books :_) so no need to enter me in the contest. Btw- the article is spot on!

    • 16 August 2010 6:45 am

      Hey Maria!

      *Waves* Thanks for stopping by! And for your kind words! 😀

      Mary

  10. dreabecraft permalink
    16 August 2010 2:16 am

    Congrats on the Print Release.

    For the most part I am happy. We can’t all be happy all the time, what we do is just deal with life as it comes. And hope that everything goes according to plans in the long run. Reading gives me sort of a escape from reality and helps me mellow out.

    I love your books.

    Thanks for the wonderful opportunity to win one.

    ~~*Drea*~~

    • 16 August 2010 5:31 am

      Hey, Drea!

      Thanks for stopping by and your congrats! And thank you for your insightful comments. You’re right, happiness isn’t a given, or even automatic. I think those of us who read have a very versatile tool, one that helps us deal with good and not so good times.

      Thank you for your kind words about my books! 🙂

      Best wishes,
      Mary

  11. Helen Sibbritt permalink
    15 August 2010 9:21 pm

    Mary I totally agree books make me soo happy as everyone has said before they take me on fantastic adventures all around the world into the future and into the past and the present they make me laugh they can make me shed a tear or two but with a romance I know there is going to be a HEA and WOW do I love them and also love talking about them WHOO HOO

    Have Fun
    Helen

    • 16 August 2010 4:33 am

      Hi, Helen!

      Absolutely, adventure, anywhere, any time. And I do adore those Happily Evers 😀 . Talking about books, finding new friends through talking about them, is one of the best experiences, I think.

      Thanks for your wonderful comments!

      Best wishes,
      Mary

  12. 15 August 2010 8:22 pm

    Great post, thank you Mary! Yes, reading makes me happy. Why? Because thanks to books I can be anywhere in the world, in any period in a blink of an eye. I can see friendships and big loves blossom in stories, I get to discover new characters, get to love and root for them. A person who reads has an alternate reality with many friends and interesting places as a back up world, when you can take as short or as long trip as you wish, when you want to escape the tiring real world 🙂

    I would love to discover your Biting series, heard it is fantastic! 🙂 Thank you!

    • 16 August 2010 4:12 am

      Hi Stella!

      Thanks for stopping by and commenting! Oh, yes, reading is exploration and friendships and emotional discovery all in one. I like how you put it, like a trip or holiday.

      Thank you for your nice words! The Biting Love stories are vampire romances set in a present-day small town, but not urban fantasy because of the explicit (erotic) nature of the romances. Oh, and all the puns and stuff. But if you like liberal amounts of fun and nookie mixed in with rogue fights, I think you’ll enjoy them!

      Best wishes,
      Mary

  13. Shayna permalink
    15 August 2010 6:57 pm

    Congrats on the nom and BMF’s paperback release!!!!

    I LOVE the Biting Love series and can’t wait for the next book……and Luke’s if you write his (*fans self*).

    • 16 August 2010 3:21 am

      Hey, Shayna!

      Thanks for the congrats! And for your kind, happy-author-making words. Believe me, I’ve got Luke in my sights, there’s a bit of setup that needs to happen first 😉 (So what kind of heroine do you see him with?)

      Thank you for stopping by!

      Best wishes,
      Mary

  14. Barbara permalink
    15 August 2010 5:53 pm

    Hi Mary, Congratulations on your book, yes I think you are right you, in fact I know that readers are happy as we always have a good time when we meet for lunch and discuss the books we are reading or read. I also enjoy sewing and nothing is better than when I get together with my sewing friends and have a sewing day. So I always look forward to these days

    • 16 August 2010 2:57 am

      Hi, Barbara!

      Thanks for the congrats! I agree, what’s better than sharing close interests with good friends?
      Sewing sounds marvelous! My husband’s aunt quilts, what a wonderful combination of craft and art. I really admire that ability.

      Thanks for your comments!

      Best wishes,
      Mary

  15. Lami permalink
    15 August 2010 10:53 am

    Hi Mary, I love your books! Biting Nixie is one of my favourites. These books are so well written they are worth getting in print – I am very happy to see Bite My Fire is available in print! Thank you.

    Cheers,
    Lami 😉

    • 16 August 2010 2:43 am

      Hi, Lami!

      Oh, wow, thanks for the kind words! Music to my ears… Nixie’s a fave of mine too, I’ve always thought her story just sings. And I’m excited about having the print versions available too– Logan’s story, Biting Me Softly, will release in paperback February of 2011. 🙂

      Thank you so much for coming by!

      Best wishes,
      Mary

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