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This Is Where You Belong: The Art and Science of Loving the Place You Live
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This Is Where You Belong: The Art and Science of Loving the Place You Live

3.67  ·  Rating details ·  3,137 ratings  ·  629 reviews
The average restless American will move 11.7 times in a lifetime. For Melody Warnick, it was move #6, from Austin, Texas, to Blacksburg, Virginia, that threatened to unhinge her. In the lonely aftermath of unpacking, she wondered: Aren’t we supposed to put down roots at some point? How does where we live become the place where we want to stay? This time, she had an epiphan ...more
Hardcover, 308 pages
Published June 21st 2016 by Viking
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Average rating 3.67  · 
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 ·  3,137 ratings  ·  629 reviews

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Start your review of This Is Where You Belong: The Art and Science of Loving the Place You Live
Apr 01, 2017 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: ???
Recommended to Carmen by: Caroline
Asking myself, 'What would someone who loves Blacksburg do?' had become a regular mental refrain. 'Would a person who loves their town go to the concert in the park? Would a person who loves their town pick up the nasty piece of trash in the road?' Yes. Yes, they would.

Sometimes I wonder about journalists. Oftentimes it seems that their books stem from some random idea or vague concept that they stretch into a book for no reason.

To me, Carmen, this book seems almost laughably basic. Warnick is a
Anne Bogel
Dec 03, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Well I just loved this book—so much I devoted an episode of One Great Book to it. I'll share a link so you can listen, but here's the short version:

This book is all about loving the place you live, which is relevant because so many people in the United States move house every year. (Warnick's description of just how many made me giggle: she calls it "a national game of musical chairs with 36 million players.")

Warnick draws on a great deal of research about mobility, happiness, demographics, an
Apr 07, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Recommended to Caroline by: Rebecca

I want to put This Is Where You Belong into the hands of every chronic “mover” and every “rooted”--that is, those people who keep moving in search of the perfect fit and those who are the exact opposite, who love where they live and never want to move. I found it affirming and enlightening in equal parts, and somehow it made me love where I live even more than I already did.

The book opens with author Melody Warnick moving into her new home in Blacksburg, Virginia--new town (and
Jun 23, 2016 rated it it was ok
Oh dear! A book of platitudes that attempts to add gravitas by citing lots and lots of research or, what I would less charitably call, statements of the bleedin’ obvious.

The vacuity of its 257 pages is neatly summarized by the closing ‘Love Where You Live Principles’. There are 11, but these three should give a good sense of what you’ll be getting into:

-When you’re happy (and healthy) then you’re happy (and healthy) where you live
-Experience joy for as long as you’re there
-If you want to love yo
Lisa Vegan
I read this with a book group discussion and I’m so glad it was chosen for the spring read.

While there was no new earth shattering information for me, there was so many things worth thinking about and considering. It took me a while to fully get into it because at first I didn’t identify with the author, but the more I read along the more I liked the book.

I’d already done some of what’s suggested to feel at home but I see now that I can do much more. I’m hoping that remembering some of the tips
Feisty Harriet
Jan 23, 2017 rated it really liked it
It's no secret that I really do not love my new city (I've been here just over a year). I picked this up to attempt to learn how to appreciate it. I've got so many thoughts, some of which I'm still mulling. Warnick makes many good points, and there are certainly some suggestions I could employ to better appreciate where I live. Also, full disclosure, in many MANY margins I wrote my reasons and possible excuses for not loving (or even liking) the place I am right now....this mental change is goin ...more
Oct 03, 2016 rated it liked it
I waffled between 3 and 4 stars for this. Mostly because the book didn't offer many insights, and I'm annoyed with myself because I kind of knew in advance that it wouldn't. I mean, coming to appreciate a community just isn't that complicated. You go to local events, patronize local businesses, participate in the locally available activities, and try to be friendly Still, the author worked this up to a 250 page book, and kept it tolerably interesting.

Part of the issue, for me, is that Melody Wa
Jun 20, 2016 rated it really liked it
I don't know when a nonfiction book has hit so close to home for me. Perhaps it's because I'm a "Mover", one of those people who pack up and move for one reason or another. For me, it has been jobs - in Upper Arlington, Ohio; Huron, Ohio; Port Charlotte, Florida; Lee County, Florida; Glendale, Arizona; Evansville, Indiana. While journalist Melody Warnick had to learn to love Blacksburg, Virginia, I never had a problem falling in love with Arizona. Three and a half years after leaving, I still mi ...more
Jul 11, 2016 rated it it was amazing
This book is in the same family as Gretchen Rubin’s The Happiness Project: Or Why I Spent a Year Trying to Sing in the Morning, Clean My Closets, Fight Right, Read Aristotle, and Generally Have More Fun. This particular branch of the self-help tree concerns itself with giving practical, useful advice to people with vague feelings of unhappiness and disconnection. First world problems? I guess that label fits. But I’m not convinced one needs to feel guilty or embarrassed because some people have ...more
Mar 22, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was a very thought-provoking book for me. I was attracted to it because my husband and I have mostly been "Movers" during our life together, like the author and her family. The longest we've lived in one home was 10 years, but several were a year or even a little less, so the average is probably about 3 years. I always find myself victim of the "grass is greener on the other side" syndrome, wanting to move to places we vacation, surfing Trulia and Zillow, looking for that perfect next place ...more
Dec 09, 2018 rated it really liked it
The research about place attachment presented in this book was fascinating! I took lots of notes while reading this because I wanted to write a detailed review, but unfortunately I finished reading this awhile ago and currently can't find the book with my notes, so here are some of the things I remember! loved learning about different factors affect how much a person is satisfied with where they live, especially how aesthetics affects a person's attachment to their place more so than good jobs o ...more
Jul 07, 2016 rated it really liked it
If there is an issue that has caused trouble in both my life and marriage, it is the issue of place. Since 1998 I've been having this conversation with my husband:
Me: "I'm Southern, let's move south."
Husband: "I have a job. Here. In Illinois."
Me: "But we could have a nicer home."
Husband: "And worse schools."
Me: "We could save 48 hours a year in commuting to TN to see our families."
Husband: "I like road trips."
Me: "But, the winter!"
Husband: "But, the summer!"
Me: "SEC football."
Husband: "Big 10 fo
Dec 05, 2016 rated it liked it
I listened to this on audio, and it was a super easy listen. There are really interesting tidbits and facts peppered throughout this nonfic book about becoming committed to your local community, but I realized after 15 (FIFTEEN?! How is this possible...) years of living in Chicago, I've already done pretty much all of these things. Some of the tips and ideas are pretty classist to be frank. The most interesting chapter was the one about how communities come together after disaster. I wish this b ...more
Leigh Kramer
Jul 21, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: nonfiction
The blend of memoir and research exploring how to feel at home where you live gave me so much to think about. I really appreciated Warnick’s exploration of what helps us feel at home in a place and what we can do to cultivate that feeling, as well as how our personality can impact it. Some of it seemed common sense but I think we could all do with a refresher course on how to better embrace your community—even if you’re like me and know you’re not where you’re supposed to be. Warnick is writing ...more
Mar 15, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2019
I appreciated the author's commentary that made the book a lot more fun to read than otherwise. However, I feel like this whole book can be summed up with the idea of "get involved - don't be a hermit" there - now you too have learned how to love where you live.
Oct 02, 2017 rated it really liked it
This will either work for you, or it won't, depending on whether you can empathize with any of the diverse points of view Warnick offers. For example, I do believe her when she speaks of how starting over in a fresh place can help one start over in one's healthy living habits. I also appreciate her specific examples of *how* to actually connect with one's community: it's obvious to say "get out more, volunteer, shop local," but Warnick gives both narrative examples and checklists.

For example, th
Madeleine (Top Shelf Text)
Feb 06, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: nonfiction, 2019
I loved this examination of home & belonging. Not only does Warnick delve into the research behind place attachment, she shares her own experiences and practical tips for fostering a stronger sense of attachment to the place where you live. This book would be a perfect gift for friends who have just moved. ...more
Alina Borger
Breezy, conversational nonfiction, but also packed with research that explains what makes folks love where they live—and offers specific strategies and experiments for building place-attachment when it’s MIA. Each chapter was its own well-done piece of long form journalism on one element of placemaking, but the meta-narrative from Warnick’s life connected the pieces into a compelling read that I didn’t want to put down.

Highlights include:
1. There are movers and stayers. The stayers are divided b
Jane Dugger
This was a very thought provoking book especially for someone who doesn't care for where they live. (I'm probably the only person in Denver who feels this way.) It was not what I expected which was finding where you belong. (I should have read the subtitle.) It's about making the place you live your own. Ms Warnick has some great ideas; I have requested the paper copy so I can see her helpful end of chapter suggestions.

If you are looking for ways to contribute and engage in your city/community/
Oct 06, 2016 rated it really liked it
This was so excellent. Full review here: ...more
Emily Schatz
Feb 22, 2020 rated it really liked it
I found this book in a Little Free Library in my new town, signed by the mayor, shortly after moving to the Midwest after 11+ years in New York City. At the beginning, I felt like the author was looking inside my mind, particularly regarding things one feels right after one moves--"nobody within 90 miles would care if we all died!" and, "please don't notice how desperate I am for friendship right now." I thought and felt both of those things, and more. In other places it was surprisingly moving- ...more
Sue Allred
Jun 02, 2020 rated it liked it
3.5⭐️‘s from me! I’m that idealist who spends hours and hours obsessively researching to find the perfect place to settle someday. In the meantime, this book gave me a lot to think about and attempt to apply as I’m gearing up for yet another big temporary move.
Caiti S
Nov 16, 2016 rated it really liked it
4 stars (based on my personal reaction to it, but note the caveats below).

On a personal level, this was an extremely relevant and timely book for me to read, since I'm 1.5 years into a new city (Portland, Oregon) and in the process of figuring out how to make it feel more like home. Warnick, faced with a similar task in Blacksburg, Virginia, sets off on a Gretchen Rubin-style "Happiness Project" with a list of actions she can do to increase her place attachment towards her city. Many of the act
Valorie Hallinan
Jul 28, 2016 rated it did not like it
Shelves: did-not-finish
Generally, I only write reviews when I have good things to say about a book, but I'm making an exception here. I don't know how this book compares to Gretchen Rubin's book on happiness, which was a mega-seller, and I should say I didn't finish Warnick's book, because I found it boring and slight. The summaries of research about current moving trends are interesting, though watered down and rather superficial - the 2 or 3 chapters I read, anyway - which is fine I suppose given the purpose of this ...more
Mar 15, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: 3-stars
This Is Where You Belong The Art and Science of Loving the Place You Live by Melody Warnick

I thought this was interesting and it gave me what I was looking for. I wanted to know why I loved the place I live as much as I do and this book did give me an insight on that. Melody Warnick has laid out these chapters in steps you can take to fall in love with the place you live. There were a lot of people and studies referenced in this and it did show how much time Warnick spent on finding out about place-making. It did bother me a bit how the author backed out from a lot of things. She
Jess Dollar
Oct 10, 2016 rated it really liked it
I heard about this book on a podcast and it sounded like just the right book for me as I have never felt at home where I live and I've been here for 8 years. I know I could do more to try to learn to love it (or at least LIKE it) and this book had lots of great suggestions for getting more involved in your community as well as detailing the research that has gone into determining what makes a good town and helps people feel attached to where they live.
When I read the descriptions on what it fee
Jul 13, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2016-reads
I guess I'd give this something like 2.5 stars. I've moved more times than the US average, most recently to a new city in January this year when D took a new job. But things haven't quite clicked for us here: I'm still too attached to the old town a mere two-hours drive away, and stubbornly reluctant to put down roots yet. So I had been hoping that Warnick's book could give me some insights, or at least show me how someone else got over that first year in a new town. But, I found the book pretty ...more
Aug 24, 2016 rated it really liked it
I originally chose this book because the author moved from Texas to Blacksburg, VA, home of Virginia Tech, the alma mater of my sister, her husband, and my grandfather. I also was interested in reading this book because it explored how to put down roots even though the average American will move 11.7 times in a lifetime. I stopped counting once I got over twenty moves and have actually been in one house for over ten years (a record for me).
This is a book everyone should read so that they can lea
Aug 25, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: people with an upward and outward career trajectory
I spent a couple years living near Blacksburg, the city the author references here, so I have a tiny bit more buy-in than many readers. Even so, highly recommended for people who are mobile because of their careers and/or struggling to love where they live.

Personal spoiler alert: none of this helped me in my situation.

And yet, I still really believe the author is really on to something with her methodology. I would definitely encourage others to give it a whirl.

Lone grumble: Blacksburg is a muc
There's nothing especially brilliant here, but in the same way I like the "nothing especially brilliant" style of Gretchen Rubin and her work, I enjoyed this one. I though Warnick did a great job of weaving research in with her own personal experiences and that she chose to push herself to ~bloom where she was planted~.

As someone who just recently moved to a place where I feel more "at home" than I have in any other place I've been, some of these little insights were useful for understanding wh
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topics  posts  views  last activity   
SCPL Online NonFi...: Moving forward 1 10 Feb 25, 2017 06:15AM  
SCPL Online NonFi...: Fitting in your own town 12 15 Feb 24, 2017 07:38AM  
SCPL Online NonFi...: Walkability 12 13 Feb 23, 2017 08:30AM  
SCPL Online NonFi...: Moving vs. staying 9 10 Feb 22, 2017 01:32PM  
SCPL Online NonFi...: Buying local 6 13 Feb 22, 2017 01:27PM  
SCPL Online NonFi...: This is Where You Belong 1 11 Feb 02, 2017 06:18AM  

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Melody Warnick is the author of This Is Where You Belong (Viking, June 2016), a nonfiction book about what makes us fall in love with the towns and cities where we live—and why it matters. A native of California, a chronic mover, and now a resident of Virginia, she loves small towns, big cities, placemaking, parades, bookstores, and libraries.

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Did you set an extremely ambitious Reading Challenge goal back in January? And has this, uh, unprecedented year gotten completely in the way of...
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“We speak of searching for happiness, of finding contentment, as if these were locations on an atlas, actual places that we could visit if only we had the proper map and the right navigational skills.” 4 likes
“What could I do to feel happier living here? …
1. Walk more.
2. Buy local.
3. Get to know my neighbors.
4. Do fun stuff.
5. Explore nature.
6. Volunteer.
7. Eat local.
8. Become more political.
9. Create something new.
10. Stay loyal through hard times.”
More quotes…