Sunday, January 30, 2011
The Sunday Question
Which books just make you happy?
We are just after having Blue Monday, which fell on January 17th, supposedly the most depressing day of the year. I myself find late January into February not the most uplifting of times, especially with all the record cold we've been subject to. I count the end of winter as the day sugaring starts, and this year it's not likely to be soon. The only thing that seems to help is skiing, and of course, curling up with a book and tea.
I've been trying lately to read books that just make me happy, but angst-ridden books seem to predominate the publishing world. And though they can be interesting, even inspiring, those books are not ones I want to read right now. No, I want to read feel-good books. I realize that can mean different things to different people. Some people may find Stephen King books to be happiness-inducing. Although I'm otherwise crazy about Stephen King, I wouldn't say his books make me happy, exactly.
The books that make me happy vary a lot, though. I am a great fan of Barbara Pym and other chroniclers of English village life, so was immediately charmed by Helen Simonson's Major Pettigrew's Last Stand, my pick for feel good book of 2010.
I've been reading Alice Hoffman's new novel, The Red Garden, and am enchanted, as usual, by her gorgeous, magical writing. In this book, she tells the history of a small New England town in the Berkshires through linked stories that feature visitations by John Chapman (aka Johnny Appleseed) and Emily Dickinson.
The poetry of Billy Collins always makes me happy.
Writer and teacher Christian McEwan came in the other day, and said that Emma Donahue's Room made her happy,
and Saul Bellow's letters.