There is always room for lighter books

thoughts orangutan

A while back I wrote a post about the need for darkness in books. It’s a topic I have a lot of passion for as I’ve always hunger more for edgier reads. Not everyone agrees with me on that front (and that’s fine) so much so that I often see concerted efforts to sanitise books (which is not so fine)- hence my writing the “darkness” piece in the first place. That said, just because I want to preserve the murkier stories doesn’t mean I dislike cheerier works. In fact, I think the more the merrier! So let’s get into why lighter books are awesome:

laughter is the best medicineLaughter is the best medicine– yes, it may be a cliché, but it’s a cliché for a reason. In fact, one of my motivating factors to get this blog started was to have a laugh (sometimes at a book’s expense 😉 ). In all seriousness, I started this blog to revel in the JOY of reading and, as many of you can probably tell from my blog name, I was hugely inspired by Pratchett- the comic-fantasy master- and I certainly don’t read his work to be miserable 😉

otters holding handsAnd don’t we want to bask in some positivity from time to time? You know you do- I see you checking out puppy pics on twitter and sharing pictures of otters holding hands and enjoying the rare occasion when there’s a happy news story on TV. There’s a reason cat videos took off on youtube- cos cats are awesome and SECRETLY TRYING TO TAKE OVER THE WORLD ;). *Ahem*- just kidding- it’s because there’s a market for it.

dragon gifPlus, books aren’t just supposed to be about reality- they’re for escapism. Reading books is like hopping on a dragon to another world and taking a break from our lives. Given how dark everything can be nowadays, it can be a relief.

chill slothAt the same time, joyful books can be very real. Not everything has to be doom and gloom (I know, shocker, the real world is not so scary- at least not all the time 😉 ). Sometimes it’s nice to just chill out and think of the happier side of life.

 

because i'm happyAnd it’s not like whether a book is light or dark speaks to its quality. I’ve read my share of melodramatic bilge; I’ve also read my fair amount of delectable fluff. Whether it’s romantic or humorous or simply informative- a book doesn’t have to be grim in order to be brilliant. Even going by my ratings (and as I said earlier I lean more towards the dark side) I give out more than enough bananas for books that bring me pure pleasure.

Plus- and I’m gonna be brutally honest here- the idea you have to suffer for your art is pretty toxic. I have unfortunately met people in real life that think they have to be miserable for the sake of art. Now, do not misunderstand me: I think it’s really important people write from experience and are not guilted out of it AND I also believe people should let their imaginations run wild if they want to write something darker that they haven’t experienced. BUT I also feel like if you haven’t had the experience to write tastesomething messed up, you should know that you don’t have to put yourself through the wringer in order to be successful. Aside from the fact I’m a firm believer that everyone has something to draw on, my response to people struggling with this myth is consider writing something happy. To end on a similar note as my darkness in books piece: it’s all about balance and taste. There is no right or wrong here. The truth is, there’s space for sweet, salty and maybe even a little spice. Whatever flavour you choose is upto you 😉 And really, there’s no reason we can’t all be satisfied…

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So do you agree or disagree with me here? And do you have a particular preference for dark or light books? Let me know in the comments!

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Some HAPPY Books to Brighten Up Your Day!

orangutan list

You know me, I love my dark books. But today, I figured it was about time I shared some books with a lighter touch. These are just some of the books that make me happy:

the martian

The Martian– starting with a book based around the catastrophe of being stuck on Mars with a depleting air supply, I absolutely expect you to read that synopsis and think has this monkey gone bananas? Why has she put this on a happy books list? Well, for all the tension in this book, there’s an equal amount of humour, thanks to the hilarious protagonist Mark Watney! I guarantee if you pick this up, you’re in for a bundle of laughs

the hating game

The Hating Game– with a book title like that, you might not expect to see it on a list like this- but this quirky, funny contemporary is practically the definition of a HAPPY book 😀

isla and the happily ever after

Isla and the Happily Ever After– the clue is in the title 😉 I am a sucker for “happily ever afters” and this delivers for sure!

to all the boys

To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before– Lara Jean and her family never fail to bring a smile to my face.

simon vs the homosapien agenda

Simon vs the Homosapiens Agenda– do I really need to give any introductions for this book at this point? While this deals with some serious issues, Albertalli’s lighthearted touch make Simon a pleasure to read.

carry on

Carry On– I mention this book *a lot* but I can’t help it if this brilliant parodic fantasy fills me with the utmost joy!

going postal

Going Postal– One of my favourite Discworld books- need I say more? Also, it happens to be one of the funniest.

nimona

Nimona– this is a newish one for me- but as another twist on its genre, I thought it fit perfectly. Playing with ideas of supervillains vs superheroes, this graphic novel is a whole lotta fun!

my lady jane

My Lady Jane– I adore this fresh take on alternative history. A completely unexpected ride, this doesn’t just toy with historical accuracy, it laughs in its face and rewrites the history books- in the best possible way!

Emma_Jane_Austen_book_cover

Emma– I mean, it’s Austen- do I need a reason? I also happen to love Mr Knightley the most of all Austen’s male leads (oh and there’s great character development- but pff- we’re talking about what makes me smile)

little women

Little Women– rounding off with possibly an unusual choice, this certainly has its poignant and sad moments- HOWEVER for every bit of sadness this book brings, it also delivers its equal parts of joy. I would have felt remiss not to include it.

So do any of these books bring you joy? And what are your favourite happy books? Let me know in the comments!

Books Guaranteed to Make you SMILE :D

sun has got his hat on

It’s been a lovely week, all sunny and summer-like (and okay it was overcast today, but whatever, can’t win em all). Anyway, moving on, I thought I’d share some fun books which made me happy, in the hope that they will make you smile too!

carry on

Carry On– I mention this book *a lot* but some books just deserve to get mentioned all the time- and this one just so happened to make me smile from ear to ear! And yes- it’s a satirical take on Harry Potter– that’s why it’s similar.

wonder

Wonder– this is a “happy” in a life affirming kind of way. This is seriously moving, yet will also undoubtedly make you crack a smile for sure!

howl's moving castle

Howl’s Moving Castle– despite not enjoying the sequel as much, I can’t deny how much I adored the original. The characters and world are so vivid! And of course, like many of Diana Wynne Jones’ books, it made me exquisitely happy.

northanger abbey

Northanger Abbey– I can’t have a list about books that made me happy and not include Austen on it. I absolutely adore the romance in this one and it makes for a fabulous subversion of the gothic tropes.

isla and the happily ever after

Isla and the Happily Ever After– I mean the clue is in the title 😉 I kinda had to include it on this list- it’s such a delightful contemporary.

the hating game

The Hating Game– this is another romance that made me stupidly happy. I didn’t expect to love this quite as much as I did, but it had me laughing the whole way through and I couldn’t stop reading this addictive book.

my lady jane

My Lady Jane– I read this really recently and haven’t done the review yet, but I guarantee it will be positive, cos this book was SO GOOD and made me SO HAPPY. Yes, it was totally out there as a historical retelling, but that’s what made it so brilliant.

the martian

The Martian– a story about getting stuck on Mars- how can that make you *smile*? I hear you ask. Well, that’s thanks to the indomitable Mark Watney! His fantastic sense of humour could make even potato farming in space interesting!

blithe spirit

Blithe Spirit– this is another weirdly happy story- it’s a play about a man whose dead wife comes back to haunt him and it is SO FUNNY. Yup, you read that right, a play about being haunted is funny. I recommend the 1945 film as well 😀

going postal

Going Postal– on the topic of eccentric British work, I could hardly neglect to include Pratchett. This is one of my favourites and happens to be one of the funniest- need I say more?

And last but not least…

 

 

We Go to the Gallery– Yes this may look like picture books, but they are in fact adult picture books! Which is totally different, cos, well they’re hilarious! Definitely recommend checking the series out and plus they make a really great gift if you’re ever stuck for something 😉

So have you read any of these? Did they make you smile? And what books have made you smile in the past? Let me know in the comments!

Wacky Happy Books

Hello all! Hope you’re having a wonderful weekend! Inspired by Furiously Happy, I thought I’d do a post about some wackadoodle books. Plus tis the season and all that jazz- time for a little dose of pure joy! In no particular order…

witches abroad

Witches Abroad– I can’t not have a Pratchett on this list- and I’ve always found the witches stories the most bonkers of all the Discworld books (and that’s saying something). This one in particular is a satirical take on fairytales and is endlessly fun- so it’s a win all round!

Alice's_Adventures_in_Wonderland

Alice in Wonderland– how could I have a list about wacky books without including this? And who doesn’t love this flawlessly mad classic? Do I even need a reason for including this?

anansi boys

Anansi Boys– technically this comes after American Gods (although I read it first, because I’m a numpty that didn’t know that) so you should probably read that before this, but this is the one that made me fall head over heels for Gaiman’s work!! It’s wacky and funny and pretty ingenious- basically perfect for this list!

charmed life

Charmed Life– moving over to the sweeter and less crazy of the books on the list, I reckon Diana Wynne Jones deserves a shout. I don’t think I talk about this author nearly enough, considering my love for her work growing up. Her books are always wonderfully original, quirky and full of eccentric characters, so are all worth picking up. Charmed Life in particular brought me endless joy as a child, so I had to mention it here. Speaking of childhood faves…

phantom tollbooth

Phantom Tollbooth– I actually recently reread this one (thanks very much to the book voucher I found in a used book which inspired me to go into a Waterstones and nab a copy) and mannn I totally get why this blew me away when I was a little ‘un. Heck- it blew me away now! The story weaves in impossible directions and has such depth of imagination- there’s no doubt it’s a classic for a reason.

Importance_earnest_dvd

The Importance of Being Earnest– this is actually a *double* recommendation, because I not only recommend the hilariously witty play by Oscar Wilde, but I also highly suggest watching the 1952 movie version, because it’s basically one of the best adaptations of all time (not the modern version- it veers on the cringey side)

i partridge

I, Partridge: We Need to Talk About Alan– okay, so this might seem like the most random recommendation on the list, because a lot of people won’t know this character or have any reason to pick it up- which is why this is also a double (possibly triple) recommendation. Because Alan Partridge is a fictional character, first appearing on screens in Knowing Me, Knowing You (a parody chat show) and then I’m Alan Partridge (a mockumentary after the fallout). If you like comedy, and especially if you’re a fan of the Office, then this is SO WORTH IT (plus, it actually came first and in my humble opinion is actually better). Now I do recommend all of that for serious book pleasure BUT this is still a FANTASTIC parody of celebrity biographies in its own right- so definitely read it!

So do you agree or disagree with any of the books on this list? Do you have any of your own to add? Let me know in the comments!