Books that make you ridiculously happy (or: pick-me-ups)

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Books that make you ridiculously happy (or: pick-me-ups)

Postby waltwhitmanheadedbat » Wed Dec 24, 2008 7:16 pm UTC

I don't think this has been done before: there's a 'Books that make you genuinely laugh', but that's not quite the same thing.

I look at my bookshelf, and, book after book, I assess them as "awesome, but not exactly what you read as a pick-me-up." This includes most Vonnegut, Dune (kinda), and all the dystopian fiction I love so much. Nonfiction (except for narratives) I can't assess like that, usually, but it doesn't do it for me when I need something happy or motivational.

I've decided to compile a list of stuff I've read where I find myself elated, or which ends in a way that makes me feel...fuzzy:

[*]Little Brother, Cory Doctorow
[*]The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy (and it's sequels, except for Mostly Harmless)
[*]Microserfs, Douglas Coupland
[*]Candide, Voltaire (I suppose it's *supposed* to be depressing, but when you keep it mind that it's a piece of satire attempting to refute best-of-all-possible-worlds, it's just cutting and hilarious like satire is supposed to be.)

Do add something! I'll probably run out and buy it.

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Re: Books that make you ridiculously happy (or: pick-me-ups)

Postby Mysidic » Wed Dec 24, 2008 7:21 pm UTC

Hmm.... I just looked through my entire bookshelf, and there was nothing warm or fuzzy in terms of novels.

I do like my Calvin and Hobbes, though. =p
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Re: Books that make you ridiculously happy (or: pick-me-ups)

Postby ameretrifle » Sat Dec 27, 2008 9:24 am UTC

Hmm... Maybe volume one of Fruits Basket. :D

Yeah, I'm a little depressive. Also, I think both drama/angst and humor are at their best and most effective when mixed together, so I don't know that many books that are a pure pick-me-up. But I do keep a lot of old favorites around as "comfort food", so to speak-- in fact, I'll rarely go to the trouble of buying a book if it's not one I already know and love. The Hitchhiker books (I've always been rather fond of Mostly Harmless, for the reasons described above), some Mercedes Lackey and Anne McCaffery, Diane Duane, some manga and comics and children's books... Yeah, I don't have as many books that are uplifting on their own as I have books that make me happy because they're well-told and familiar. And a happy ending makes up for a lot.

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Re: Books that make you ridiculously happy (or: pick-me-ups)

Postby ducknerd » Sat Dec 27, 2008 9:01 pm UTC

Dave Barry wrote a couple novels, and those are my comfort food. Absolutely hilarious, and not in the hate-driven way most comedy is.

Speak kept me sane in middle school. Andersen fucking skewers, roasts, and gleefully rips away the sinew and muscle fibers of public 'education'. It's supposed to be a sad book, and it is, but I laughed through most of it.
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Re: Books that make you ridiculously happy (or: pick-me-ups)

Postby Clumpy » Sun Dec 28, 2008 1:04 am UTC

I second Big Trouble by Dave Barry. The followup Tricky Business is much more unpleasant. And his books from the 80s are pretty great (collections of his best columns).

Comic strips: Bloom County, The Far Side, old Dilbert books. Anything by Jeremy Norman Scott (Hsu and Chan).

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Re: Books that make you ridiculously happy (or: pick-me-ups)

Postby IuliC » Wed Dec 31, 2008 9:05 am UTC

Any of the godawful sci fi I read in middle school. There's something comforting about picking up a book and knowing it's going to be just as terribly cheesy as you remember it. There's also the added bonus of being able to skip to your favorite parts of the book, since you practically know it by heart anyway.

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Re: Books that make you ridiculously happy (or: pick-me-ups)

Postby Nebuduck » Wed Dec 31, 2008 6:54 pm UTC

It's not exactly a pick me up book, but I strongly associate Pullman's Northern Lights with the end of primary school, so reading it is pretty nostalgic, and therefore generally cheers me up.

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Re: Books that make you ridiculously happy (or: pick-me-ups)

Postby Ele » Wed Dec 31, 2008 7:59 pm UTC

Not exactly a book but a short story from Isaac Asimov, Profession. It prints a smile on my face, I totally recommend it. From the same author, this one a book, The End of Eternity makes me either totally happy or oh so blue.

If I want to start laughing in the first chapter, my choice is Janet Evanovich, with her book of Stephanie Plum, the bounty hunter. Something about her makes me feel ridiculously happy, as the title say... I know I'm not that bad.

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Re: Books that make you ridiculously happy (or: pick-me-ups)

Postby Kendo_Bunny » Wed Dec 31, 2008 9:19 pm UTC

The entire Betsy~Tacy series, the Little House books, and Caddie Woodlawn.

Nothing cheers me up like historical semi-biographies.

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Re: Books that make you ridiculously happy (or: pick-me-ups)

Postby Draaglom » Thu Jan 01, 2009 5:56 pm UTC

I cannot think of a single book I've read recently like that.
But there's the gem from my childhood, The Mouse and his Child. I've read it once since I was eleven, and afterwards I was left smiling for days.

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Re: Books that make you ridiculously happy (or: pick-me-ups)

Postby financecreep » Sat Jan 03, 2009 7:19 pm UTC

I Can Has Cheezburger?: A LOLcat Colleckshun is one I highly recommend for anyone needing a quick pick-me-up. I bought it for my younger sister for Christmas, and she quite enjoyed it.
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Re: Books that make you ridiculously happy (or: pick-me-ups)

Postby Guy_At_A_Keyboard » Sat Jan 03, 2009 10:50 pm UTC

For me, it's Terry Pratchett. I cannot feel bad while reading his work, at all.

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Re: Books that make you ridiculously happy (or: pick-me-ups)

Postby Sparthox » Fri Jan 30, 2009 1:18 am UTC

A Confederacy of Dunces by John Kennedy Toole. It's hands down the funniest book I've ever read.
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Re: Books that make you ridiculously happy (or: pick-me-ups)

Postby darwinwins » Sat Jan 31, 2009 7:41 am UTC

haruki murakami - sputnik sweetheart. the ending is a fuzzy warm feeling wrapped in gooey goodness.
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Re: Books that make you ridiculously happy (or: pick-me-ups)

Postby kha-khees » Sat Jan 31, 2009 11:29 am UTC

Fantastic Mr Fox by Roald Dahl. Apart from when mr Fox gets his tail shot off.

That book always makes me bloody hungry at the end, too.

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Re: Books that make you ridiculously happy (or: pick-me-ups)

Postby the_bandersnatch » Mon Feb 02, 2009 6:42 pm UTC

Seconded Pratchett and The Fantastic Mr Fox, or indeed most Roald Dahl.

Likewise Douglas Adams, Sue Townsend, and that guy, you know, Whatisface.
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Re: Books that make you ridiculously happy (or: pick-me-ups)

Postby Miro » Mon Feb 02, 2009 9:45 pm UTC

Napalm and Silly Putty by George Carlin makes me grin like kids at fat camp who just found out an icecream and segway truck broke down at the bottom of the hill, and the driver needs to get rid of all of his stock before it is ruined.

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Re: Books that make you ridiculously happy (or: pick-me-ups)

Postby urbazewski » Tue Feb 03, 2009 12:34 am UTC

Haroun and The Sea of Stories by Salman Rushdie. I don't know why this book isn't better known, it's hilarious and brilliant. it combined the the joy of reading I felt when I was a kid with hilarious cultural references and a great theme.
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Re: Books that make you ridiculously happy (or: pick-me-ups)

Postby fersrs » Sat Feb 21, 2009 9:59 pm UTC

Yes Man by Danny Wallace is not only hilarious, but also wonderfully inspiring because it's nonfiction.
Also, anything by David Sederis is awesome, he has a great writing style.

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Re: Books that make you ridiculously happy (or: pick-me-ups)

Postby JayDee » Sun Feb 22, 2009 1:53 pm UTC

waltwhitmanheadedbat wrote:The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy (and it's sequels, except for Mostly Harmless)
If you go with the Radio series, even Mostly Harmless works as a pick-me-up.
Guy_At_A_Keyboard wrote:For me, it's Terry Pratchett. I cannot feel bad while reading his work, at all.
Yeah. I've read pretty much all of the Discworld books three times or more, but they are perfect "I need something to make me smile" books.
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Re: Books that make you ridiculously happy (or: pick-me-ups)

Postby casiguapa » Sun Feb 22, 2009 2:00 pm UTC

The Adrian Mole books. Just because Adrian is so hapless whilst full of self-importance it's hilarious... and it was one of the first books I read when I was 7 or 8 :)
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Re: Books that make you ridiculously happy (or: pick-me-ups)

Postby psyck0 » Sun Feb 22, 2009 6:15 pm UTC

Anything by Louis de Bernières.

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Re: Books that make you ridiculously happy (or: pick-me-ups)

Postby netcrusher88 » Mon Feb 23, 2009 1:58 pm UTC

I'll go with Pratchett and Adams. Certain parts of Snow Crash also make me inexplicably happy, though I really have no idea why.

As far as comics, you just can't go wrong with Calvin and Hobbes. From the Transmogrifier that shows up from time to time to the philosophical discussions on a toboggan or Red Flyer wagon that Randall so loves to parody, they're just happy.
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Re: Books that make you ridiculously happy (or: pick-me-ups)

Postby poprocks and coke » Sat Feb 28, 2009 4:44 am UTC

The Disc World novels, particularly The Colour of Magic. Humor, great story, and amazing writing all packed into one book. Good Omens too, for the same reasons.

Also, Calvin and Hobbes, for obvious reasons.

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Re: Books that make you ridiculously happy (or: pick-me-ups)

Postby <nyssa> » Sun Mar 01, 2009 7:03 am UTC

Definitely Prachett and Adams as well, here. My favourite Discworld book for when I want to feel better is Reaper Man, I love Death, he makes me smile.
Also, I love The Eyre Affair, and all its sequels by Jasper Fforde. Those books are hilarious and always manage to make me smile, no matter how upset I am :).

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Re: Books that make you ridiculously happy (or: pick-me-ups)

Postby eekmeep » Mon Mar 02, 2009 3:12 am UTC

I third The Little House Series, and would also add the Narnia series, and just about anything by Tom Robbins. Can't believe I almost forgot, "Enchantment" by Orson Scott Card. Full of awesomeness throughout, but the ending is particularly perfect; I literally cry from happiness every time I read it (which = at least 7 times).

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Re: Books that make you ridiculously happy (or: pick-me-ups)

Postby torrentaddict2012 » Wed Mar 11, 2009 6:45 pm UTC

I haven't read a book in a while that made me laugh, probably because I've been reading a lot of biographies lately. However the article Looking For Mr. Far Right by Meghan McCain is filled with some pretty funny stuff about what it's like having to try to find a date after her father ran for president. It sounds like one of those you've got to be kidding me recommendations but if you read her descriptions of these men you will literally bust a gut laughing.

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Re: Books that make you ridiculously happy (or: pick-me-ups)

Postby Chuff » Sat Mar 14, 2009 9:45 pm UTC

Anything by Tom Holt, especially Earth, Air, Fire and Custard.
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Re: Books that make you ridiculously happy (or: pick-me-ups)

Postby tsevenhuysen » Sun Mar 15, 2009 6:26 am UTC

I've been bogged down in Apocalypse Watch by Robert Ludlum lately, and it's not very good, so I was starting to get really blah on the whole reading thing. Then I flipped open to a random page in The Silmarillionthe other day, and it reminded me of why I love to read. (Thankfully, I finished the Ludlum novel last night and can move on to something else, something more inspiring.)
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Re: Books that make you ridiculously happy (or: pick-me-ups)

Postby Julien » Sun Mar 15, 2009 12:11 pm UTC

I feel glad anytime I read Nabokov's "Lolita". Call me a perv if you want, but I find it incredibly funny and it makes me feel good anytime.
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Re: Books that make you ridiculously happy (or: pick-me-ups)

Postby pollywog » Tue Mar 17, 2009 6:12 am UTC

<nyssa> wrote:Definitely Prachett and Adams as well, here. My favourite Discworld book for when I want to feel better is Reaper Man, I love Death, he makes me smile.
Also, I love The Eyre Affair, and all its sequels by Jasper Fforde. Those books are hilarious and always manage to make me smile, no matter how upset I am :).
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Julien wrote:I feel glad anytime I read Nabokov's "Lolita". Call me a perv if you want, but I find it incredibly funny and it makes me feel good anytime.
Same here, for some reason. I think it's because it's just such a good book. There's no way you can read something written that well and not be happy.
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Re: Books that make you ridiculously happy (or: pick-me-ups)

Postby miles01110 » Tue Mar 17, 2009 8:09 am UTC

My favorite book is still Charlotte's Web.

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Re: Books that make you ridiculously happy (or: pick-me-ups)

Postby chanakrogue » Tue Mar 17, 2009 1:59 pm UTC

Absolutely anything by PG Wodehouse. British situational humor at its best, never failing to bring a smile to my face. Check it out ...

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Re: Books that make you ridiculously happy (or: pick-me-ups)

Postby Isotope_238 » Fri Mar 27, 2009 11:28 pm UTC

Anything morbidly depressing, dystopian, or highly literary. I'm thinking of 1984, Brave New World, Catch-22, Shakespeare (especially comedies), the Divine Comedy, Utopia, Gulliver's Travels, etc. Nothing makes me quite as happy as a morbidly depressing book.

I also read anything by Isaac Asimov, Arthur C. Clarke, and Robert A. Heinlein when I want a book I know I'll enjoy.

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Re: Books that make you ridiculously happy (or: pick-me-ups)

Postby henryatkinson » Fri Apr 10, 2009 11:33 am UTC

definatly the adrain mole books by sue townsend as i've read them several times and they always make me feel good

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Re: Books that make you ridiculously happy (or: pick-me-ups)

Postby eekmeep » Sat Apr 11, 2009 6:19 am UTC

henryatkinson wrote:definatly the adrain mole books by sue townsend as i've read them several times and they always make me feel good


^^^^THIS! I lived in England when they first came out, and my family got hooked. Then, maybe two years ago, I started seeing some of the newer ones. Me, my mom, and my sister have been mailing them all between us since :)

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Re: Books that make you ridiculously happy (or: pick-me-ups)

Postby GraphiteGirl » Sun Apr 12, 2009 5:23 am UTC

Pratchett just rescued me from serious misery yesterday. Good Omens is particularly good for this - Neil Gaiman keeps Pratchett from floating away on a cloud of his own hypothetical hilarity, and provides just enough dark to make the light seem warm, not just bright.
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Rereading childhood favourites helps, too - Howl's Moving Castle by Diana Wynne Jones always makes me grin with nostalgic glee, as does a picture book called The Paper Bag Princess.
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Re: Books that make you ridiculously happy (or: pick-me-ups)

Postby FoS » Wed Apr 15, 2009 9:14 am UTC

Any of the James Herriot Vet books (not sure if he wrote anything else)
It's situation comedy with a bunch of really interesting people who are either comical or whimsical and the best part is that it's non-fiction.
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Re: Books that make you ridiculously happy (or: pick-me-ups)

Postby year in the sun » Thu Apr 16, 2009 7:56 am UTC

Julien wrote:I feel glad anytime I read Nabokov's "Lolita". Call me a perv if you want, but I find it incredibly funny and it makes me feel good anytime.


i remember noticing that lolita was very funny and being surprised. i also remember it being funny enough that i kept wondering 'is nabokov yanking us here?' i just couldn't 100% tell whether he was skewering his protagonist or presenting him seriously. i could only plough through it once though so i never made up my mind.

i read paul theroux's travel books. his fiction tends to be kind of dark, emotionally explorative and sometimes just plain nasty . . . which is fine too in its place. he's truthful. but his travel writing is a completely different kind of thing. i love the way he manages to be both offbeat and dead on with his introspections. he's almost a tiny bit asperger-y. he's completely subjective on everything, and he reports everything exactly as it affects him, almost as though he has no social filters at all. 'a ducklike voice ranted from the loudspeaker'. but they're always these things you recognise instantly but have never heard pointed out by anyone else. i especially love his sudden moments of childishness and emotionality, where he just loses it and reverts to being four years old. those moments just crack me up.

'i knew i should tell them i was not going to stay, but i wanted to punish them for running such a scary hotel . . . '
[to the flunky of a chinese communist party official after holding out for half an hour against subtle bullying to give up his window seat] '[something overtly defiant, i forget what]' i said. 'fish face'.

stuff like that :)

i also read laurie colwin. she's serious comfort food and her language and descriptions and metaphors are just so enjoyable. anne tyler, somewhat. my comfort books aren't necessarily the ones that make me laugh. and some of the books that make me laugh aren't comforting in the east.
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Re: Books that make you ridiculously happy (or: pick-me-ups)

Postby Insomnist » Tue Apr 21, 2009 7:36 pm UTC

Manga count? Probably Bitter Virgin; I'll freely admit I cried in public reading that story, but generally it left you with a flighty happy feeling in your gut. :wink:


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