Nomadland: Moving Tales of Survival

In an era of expensive tiny homes, giant motor homes, and slide-outs that extend from every side of RVs, an American subculture on wheels follows good weather and seasonal work, out of necessity. The itinerants live in rustic, converted vans and RVs of all sizes, moving from campground to campground. Luxurious RVs may surround their modest homes, but they represent a life that couldn’t be farther away.

As camp hosts, they clean bathrooms and quiet rowdy campers. They work in Amazon warehouses and fill orders from an America unaware how much effort (and injury) go into millions of deliveries. Some move their rigs from street to street, hoping to avoid attention and eviction.

New York Times journalist Jessica Bruder drives Halen, her camper van, for part of a three-year journey as she follows a lifestyle that is invisible to many. In Nomadland: Surviving America in the 21st Century, she tells the story of Linda, who supplements her small Social Security check and dreams of one day owning land and a modest home. Like others chronicled in Nomadland, Linda’s story will tug at your heart and keep you turning the pages of this compelling book.

Find Your Happy Place

Think of the happiest you have ever been. Where were you? Is it a place or is it a state of mind that can be transported anywhere?

NPR correspondent Eric Weiner travels the world searching for what makes people happy. Bhutan, Iceland, Thailand, Great Britain, and more. America too. Then he goes to the least happy nation, Moldova. His book, The Geography of Bliss, is packed with humor as he shares his candid perspectives of people and cultures.

A self-described grump, he finds ways he can be happier (no spoilers here) and questions whether love is more important than happy. And, please, don’t be happy around the clock. Too much happy is almost as bad as none.

Is money a key to happiness? Or is it like hamburgers: one may fill you up, but are you happier if you eat five?