Obsessed: Vivien Jennings of Rainy Day Books on the power of kindness and connection

Vivien Jennings is known for books – but kindness is her passion.

As the founder and president of Rainy Day Books in Fairway, Jennings has spent more than 40 years not only selling books, but building connections, discussions and events around reading. Those actions point to one of her biggest obsessions outside of books – kindness. She believes it is something everyone needs.

“Kindness is one-size-fits-all,” Jennings says.

For Jennings, kindness starts with the small things. While some people think they need to make grand gestures, Jennings says the little acts are the most important. She likes to practice kindness by being present and trying to see people with her heart, rather than her head. She also keeps a stock of small gifts at home like candles, tea bags, and soaps, to hand to people as tokens of kindness.

Jennings believes kindness is contagious. As she practices it, she sees it spread.

“If you are kind to all these people, and help them, they not only meet you back, but also they see that as a model and pay it forward,” Jennings says.

One of her favorite new books is “Radical Kindness: The Life-Changing Power of Giving and Receiving,” by Angela Santomero. The book talks about being kind to yourself first — that self-care helps you spread kindness to your family, friends, community and the world.

The author events and partnerships that Rainy Day Books is known for has grown out of Jennings’s philosophy. She and her partner Roger Doeren wanted to share their resources with the community.

“We couldn’t donate money every time, but we could help by connecting them to our resources, which were authors,” Jennings says.

Jennings’s obsession helps her see goodness in other people.

“A long time ago, I read a book that says if everyone would say ‘Hello’ and ‘Thank you’ to everyone, we could rebuild the fabric of society,” she says. “If everyone practiced this, it would be tremendous.”