Books that are happy-making, for me, are not necessarily books that are light or fluffy. They're not one genre or another, but there are just some books that make me feel full of goodness, and I don't think happy-making books get enough credit. I always fawn over novels that rip my guts out because I love books that make me feeeeel something, but happy books can also provide a significant rush of feels, so I'm giving them their due.
The Butterfly Mosque: An American Woman's Journey to Love and Islam by G. Willow Wilson is one of my recent reads. You may recognize her name from the Ms. Marvel comics (she's one of the creators), but she's also written extensively about the Middle East and modern Islam in outlets like the New York Times and Atlantic Monthly. This book about her conversion to Islam and her time living in Egypt where she met and married her husband is full of philosophy and her thoughts on religion, but it's also a great story about living abroad, assimilating into a new culture, and the struggles that come with. This book made me cry about every 20 pages with some humbling observation or other. That's no small feat, and it left me really appreciating the opportunity to read it.
The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie is another book I never got 'round to reviewing. I read this one for my #15in30 project back in April. It sat on my e-reader forever, and when I finally picked it up I was swept away by the story of Junior, a budding cartoonist growing up on the Spokane Indian Reservation in Washington state. He decides to leave his reservation school in favor of an all-white high school and the fallout is both personal and deeply emotional. Despite that, Junior has such a great heart, and it's one of those stories you want to stand up and cheer for at the end.
Lost on Planet China: The Strange and True Story of One Man's Attempt to Understand the World's Most Mystifying Nation, or How He Became Comfortable Eating Live Squid by J. Maarten Troost is not only in the running for longest title ever, it's one in a long line of Troost's books that I've loved. He's a world traveler with a hell of a sense of humor, and I relished getting to experience the beauty and hardships of China through his eyes. I swear, he did everything, and a lot of it wasn't pretty, but I felt like this was such an honest look at a complicated country.
Hello Kitty: Delicious! by Jacob Chabot, Ian McGinty, and Jorge Monlongo is a set of wordless illustrated stories, and it's so dang cute. If you're looking for a seriously fast read that will transport you back to childhood and delight you with its artwork, this is the book!
What books have made you happy lately?