Barbara Horn Buhrer '43

Barbara Horn Buhrer graduated from Montclair State with an English degree in 1943 and worked as a librarian for many years in Livingston.  She met her husband Edward Buhrer ’48 ’52 MA at a sophomore dance in the Administration Building, now known as College Hall.  They were married for 67 years before his passing in 2010.  They are the parents of Edward ’71 ’83 MA, a retired educator.  Mrs. Buhrer’s brother, George Horn ’40, also graduated from Montclair State and taught in High Bridge until he entered the U.S. Army.  Sadly, he was killed in action.   His name is listed on a plaque displayed in Life Hall along with the names of the other Montclair State men killed in World War II.

Mrs. Buhrer is an avid reader and continues to review books for myshelf.com.  She recently established the Edward and Barbara Buhrer Endowed Scholarship at Montclair State University.  It will fund a scholarship for a full-time undergraduate student or graduate student majoring in social studies or English pursuing teacher certification.  Mrs. Buhrer now lives in North Carolina.

Mrs. Buhrer has contributed a review of the Montclair Book 2011, The Geography of Bliss by Eric Weiner.

The Geography of Bliss reviewed by Barbara Horn Buhrer '43

How many of us have pondered the meaning of happiness and what influenced it?

Eric Weiner, a long time foreign correspondent for National Public Radio who has gone to many obscure places to report bad news or terrible tragedies, has undertaken to explore this subject in “The Geography of Bliss.”  Weiner makes a year long quest to visit nine diverse countries which includes Iceland, Bhutan, Moldavia, Dakar to explore what defines an individual's happiness
His first visit is to the Netherlands to the World Database of Happiness where social scientists try to qualify and rank countries.  Some profound statements are:  “Wealthy people are happier that poor people, but only lightly so" and “People are least happy when they are commuting to work."

Observations:
                        Switzerland:  contentment means lives are improved when people have real power over their lives and choices
                        Iceland: drink brings merriment; is very homogenous but very happy  
                        Moldavia: derives pleasure from their neighbors' failures  
                        Quatar: is very wealthy but depressing
  
He concludes that what makes people happy is basically the same everywhere.   You can be happy wherever you are, whoever you are.  But there are physical, social, political, geographic, climates and individuals which may also play a major role in the life situation and therefore affect our moments of happiness.

But really doesn't happiness depend ultimately on the individual and how he adjusts to life around him?

This is a humorous travel memoir.  It is not a travel book per se, but it does give the reader an in depth and insightful look at the geography, people and customs of various countries discussed. The book is well written, easy to read with some witty parts, which will bring a laugh to the reader.