Oprah Winfrey has selected New York Times best-selling author Susan Cain’s newest book, “Bittersweet: How Sorrow and Longing Make Us Whole,” as her 99th book club pick.
Winfrey announced her choice first on “CBS Mornings” Wednesday, saying Cain talks in her book about how embracing sorrow and sadness is what eventually leads to happiness.
“There is no really great life without being able to embrace sadness and happiness together. Bittersweet,” Winfrey said.
“Bittersweet” explores how the state of mind is the quiet force that helps us transcend our personal and collective pain.
Cain told “CBS Mornings” that bittersweetness is about the fact that in every lifetime — and in some ways in every moment — there will be a measure of joy and sorrow in our lives, “and there’s a kind of richer form of happiness that we can get to by acknowledging that.”
“It helps us realize how precious life is and it actually connects us more to each other, because if we can actually tell each other the truth about what we are experiencing as opposed to just the presentation of that smile that may or may not be authentic, that’s when we connect,” she said.
The idea for the book came when Cain said she became curious about why people like herself find sad songs uplifting.
“Why do we listen to Rihanna singing, ‘Stay,’ or Adele singing, ‘Someone Like You’? Why? Why do we love it that much?” Cain said.
The feelings that Cain said she describes in her book are something older people relate to as the years pass.
“We know from studies that older people tend to be more content, less angry, more forgiving, all the rest of it,” she said. “Older people understand how impermanent life is, but when younger people understand it also, they get those same benefits of: more forgiving, less angry, more content.”
Cain wants readers to ask themselves: What are you longing for?
“When we tap into that state of longing, we get a little bit closer to our ideal selves,” Cain said.
Cain’s previous book, “Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking,” spent eight years on The New York Times’ Best Sellers list.
“Bittersweet,” published by Crown, an imprint of Penguin Random House, is available now wherever books are sold.