Six Books That Make Me Happy: Part 2

My last post (i.e. Six Books That Make Me Happy, Part 1) garnered a comment from Charlotte, who tagged me for this Six Things meme in the first place, and was baffled that I named The Greengage Summer as a book that makes me happy, when the book itself--it's true--is not particularly cheerful. She had a good point, and I had to think about it: Do depressing books make me happy? Well, sometimes, if in addition to being depressing they're also (like The Greengage Summer) gorgeously written and so engaging that I forget myself and all the things I have to do and settle in to read them again. Doing that makes me happy.

But some cheerful books make me happy too! Honest! Like, say:

4) The Wee Free Men, by Terry Pratchett. How can anyone be unhappy when reading or even thinking about a book that features a 9-year-old witch named Tiffany Aching, and her cheesemaking family, and a troupe of tiny blue men who speak in a Scottish brogue and mainly go in for "Stealing! and drinking! and fighting!" and ally themselves with Tiffany against the forces of evil? No one, that's who.

5) The Tall Book of Make-Believe. Full of stories and poems about, well, make-believe: wee little men and everlasting lollipops and the magical Land of Counterpane and a wonderful story about a day when everything goes wrong for one family, including one girl getting squashed flat and being perfectly fine, except that since she's flat she can't see anything round, so she burns the peas they were going to have for lunch. Some of the pieces are fantasy, and some are just about the wonders of the imagination, and it's all illustrated by early Garth Williams--before he did the Laura Ingalls Wilder books--with just the right respect for magic, very little cutesiness at all. I'm grateful to still have my childhood copy of this strange, obscure, and now out-of-print anthology. If you ever find a copy, please snatch it up if you can. It is worth it. (Here's a site that has a few pictures.)

6) Charmed Life, by Diana Wynne Jones. Okay, maybe it's not particularly cheerful at the beginning, when Cat and his sister Gwendolen are left orphaned in a sudden boating disaster. But after that, things pick up, especially after the enchanter Chrestomanci shows up and whisks the siblings off to the Castle to live with him and his terrifically crabby and powerfully magical family, and Gwendolen uses her magical abilities to work a series of unauthorized spells that take peevish wanton mischief to new levels, and then various things are revealed and somewhere in there poor Cat gets challenged to meet Will Suggins in the form of a tiger, on account of accidentally and temporarily turning Will's girlfriend into a frog. Also there is Janet, who has so much common sense, you feel like she could deal with anything even if she just up and landed in another world without any warning. Which she has. And that is all I'm going to say about THAT, just in case you haven't read it.

Hmm. All of these last three are fantasy. So I guess you could say that fantasy stories, as well as gloomy coming-of-age novels, make me happy. But the truth is, so many books do; these three just happened to all remind me of each other.

I'm not going to tag anyone for this, but if you have a book, or books, that make you happy, feel free to share in comments below, or write it on your own blog and let me know.

Thanks, Charlotte! This was fun.

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For the last four years I've passionately worked on using creativity within childrens' games to get kids to LOVE reading and have fun using their creativity/imagination. I collaborated with what I feel is a top learning science team and child expert.

To cut this short, I'd very much like your opinion on our new game ItzaBitza - We worked hard to make reading fun and relevant. Please let me know if you would like copy to look at.

Feedback from folks like you will only make our childrens' games better.

Margaret (CEO - Sabi, creators of ItzaBitza)

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