Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Be-Happy Books

I've been studying happiness for a while. I've read lots of happiness books. The Happiness Project. 365 Thank Yous. Flow. Learned Optimism. Lots of nonfiction books about happiness.

Then I learned about a website with an interesting take on happiness. At Reading Well, we learn that poor mental health costs the UK 14 billion pounds a year (which, if you are curious, converts to 22.8 billion dollars here in the US). That's a lot of unhappiness.

Reading Well promotes a list of what it calls "Mood-Boosting Books." I've taken this list and consolidated it into a Google Doc for my own reference, but you are welcome to take a look and keep a copy for yourself. Finding this list has set me off on a quest for fiction that promotes happiness. Here are some of my favorite fiction choices:

Enchanted April

The Little Prince

Long Way from Verona

Because of Winn-Dixie

How the Grinch Stole Christmas

Joseph's Yard

The Accidental Tourist

The Secret Garden

Anne of Green Gables


Here are some I want to read. (I'd love to hear what you think if you've read any of these. Recommended? Truly mood-boosting?)

Life With the Lid Off

A Winter Book

Sunshine Sketches of a Little Town

Various Pets Alive and Dead

A Sea Change

Life According to Lubka

Thursdays in the Park

And, of course, I must include some you might want to avoid:

Joyce Carol Oates' A Widow's Story

Sylvia Plath's The Bell Jar

The Road

The Trick is to Keep Breathing


I know that you have recommendations of your own. I hope you will share them with me here.

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  1. I love that Green Gables is on your happy list! Also I do really like The Bell Jar, but be warned it's a fairly depressing book.

    1. I loved Bell Jar. And I hated Bell Jar. Not a cheery book.

  2. I love Skellig and The Secret Garden. ^__^ Skellig was the first book I had to read when I started secondary school and I've loved it ever since. Great list!

  3. The Secret Garden is an old favorite of mine. And I just got the audio of Anne of Green Gables and I'm eager to check it out. Nice spin on the topic!

  4. Some great books on here. Defo Green Gables and Secret Garden though! Love those.
    Yeah - I can how The Road isn't a really cheery book. I haven't read Bell Jar although I do have a copy tucked away somewhere with my best intentions to pick up (I think I've packed it away too well though so maybe I don't want to read it as much as I think!)
    Lynn :D

  5. I always thought Because of Winn-Dixie was a sad book. I didn't know it was happy! Haha. Well, I can't exactly think of any really happy books at the moment. I tend to just read YA Fantasy, or really sad WWII novels :/

  6. I love this idea. It's very sad the amount of money that unhappiness costs. Hopefully these books will help to reduce that :)

  7. Your happy choices make me happy! Rae

  8. Thanks for this list! I totally agree about Anne of Green Gables, and I am planning to read The Little Prince later this year. I would add L.M. Montgomery's The Blue Castle and Winifred Watson's Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day…will have to think about others!

  9. I love that you gave us some titles to avoid- although I must say that I did love The Road, even though it's very bleak- it's the only book that I've ever reread as soon as I finished it. The Secret Garden is special isn't it? I must get to reading Skellig- I'm sure that David Almond is worth reading more and more of.

  10. The Accidental Tourist is quite sad but maybe by the end it's not as bleak. I'm trying to think of something happy hmm. There's so much death and dying in so many novels on my shelf. Perhaps The Rosie Project?

  11. I love that you included books we should avoid!! :-) I have to say "yes" to Anne of Green Gables and The Secret Garden. One book that made me ridiculously happy but not my kids is the children's book, Press Here by Herve Tulle.

  12. Love the Bell Jar. And Anne of Green Gables. And the Grinch. Great list!

  13. Good list! I loved Anne and Secret Garden -- as far as feel good books go. I loved The Road (not too feel good though)


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