Tuesday, July 14, 2020

Top Ten Tuesday: Books That Will Make You Happy

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl. This week, we’re talking about happy books. Admittedly, I’m not the biggest aficionado of happy books. I’m more of a chaos and destruction kind of reader, but I do occasionally read books that make me laugh. Here are 10 of my favorite happy books. I hope they make you smile.

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🤣  Books That Will Make You Happy  😁

1. Horrorstör by Grady Hendrix

Adult Horror / Comedy

Something strange is happening at the Orsk furniture superstore in Cleveland, Ohio. Every morning, employees arrive to find broken Kjerring bookshelves, shattered Glans water goblets, and smashed Liripip wardrobes. Sales are down, security cameras reveal nothing, and store managers are panicking.

To unravel the mystery, three employees volunteer to work a nine-hour dusk-till-dawn shift. In the dead of the night, they’ll patrol the empty showroom floor, investigate strange sights and sounds, and encounter horrors that defy the imagination.

My favorite quote: “‘You’re sure this isn't satanic?” Ruth Anne asked.
‘It’s a nondenominational séance,’ Trinity said.”

Why it made me happy: It’s a horror novel that’s packaged to look like an Ikea catalog. It even has illustrations of furniture and various torture devices! Since it’s a horror story, it has gory moments, but it also has all the ridiculousness you’d expect in a tale about a haunted Ikea. It’s fast paced and clever. Buy this book for anyone who has ever been hopelessly lost in a Swedish furniture superstore.

2. Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret. by Judy Blume

Middlegrade Realistic Classic

Margaret Simon, almost twelve, likes long hair, tuna fish, the smell of rain, and things that are pink. She’s just moved from New York City to Farbook, New Jersey, and is anxious to fit in with her new friends—Nancy, Gretchen, and Janie. When they form a secret club to talk about private subjects like boys, bras, and getting their first periods, Margaret is happy to belong.

But none of them can believe Margaret doesn’t have religion, and that she isn’t going to the Y or the Jewish Community Center. What they don’t know is Margaret has her own very special relationship with God. She can talk to God about everything—family, friends, even Moose Freed, her secret crush.

My favorite quote: “‘We must, we must, we must increase our bust!’”

Why it made me happy: Margaret and her friends (frenemies?) are real and relatable. It brought back memories of being 11 and hilariously confused about puberty. Margaret is an easy character to love. This novel fully deserves its status as a classic.

3. An Absolutely Remarkable Thing by Hank Green

Adult Science Fiction

The Carls just appeared.

Roaming through New York City at three AM, twenty-three-year-old April May stumbles across a giant sculpture. Delighted by its appearance and craftsmanship—like a ten-foot-tall Transformer wearing a suit of samurai armor—April and her best friend, Andy, make a video with it, which Andy uploads to YouTube. The next day, April wakes up to a viral video and a new life. News quickly spreads that there are Carls in dozens of cities around the world—from Beijing to Buenos Aires—and April, as their first documentarian, finds herself at the center of an intense international media spotlight.

Seizing the opportunity to make her mark on the world, April now has to deal with the consequences her new particular brand of fame has on her relationships, her safety, and her own identity. And all eyes are on April to figure out not just what the Carls are, but what they want from us.

My favorite quote: “The comments on YouTube, Facebook, and Twitter instantly switched from a small, friendly, supportive community to a selection of the loudest, most over-the-top opinions one could imagine. I was a traitor to my species. I was ultra-fuckable. I was a space alien. I was an ultra-fuckable space alien. And so on.”

Why it made me happy: If you spend a lot of time on social media, you need to read this novel. It perfectly captures the absurdity of the social Internet. It’s about fame, the media, Internet culture, and how people choose to see the world. Also, there are giant robots that are all named Carl. The plot is a rollercoaster. You won’t be able to put this book down until you solve the ridiculous mystery of the Carls.

4. Born A Crime: Stories From A South African Childhood by Trevor Noah

Adult Memoir

Trevor Noah’s unlikely path from apartheid South Africa to the desk of The Daily Show began with a criminal act: his birth. Trevor was born to a white Swiss father and a black Xhosa mother at a time when such a union was punishable by five years in prison. Living proof of his parents’ indiscretion, Trevor was kept mostly indoors for the earliest years of his life, bound by the extreme and often absurd measures his mother took to hide him from a government that could, at any moment, steal him away. Finally liberated by the end of South Africa’s tyrannical white rule, Trevor and his mother set forth on a grand adventure, living openly and freely and embracing the opportunities won by a centuries-long struggle.

Born a Crime is the story of a mischievous young boy who grows into a restless young man as he struggles to find himself in a world where he was never supposed to exist. It is also the story of that young man’s relationship with his fearless, rebellious, and fervently religious mother—his teammate, a woman determined to save her son from the cycle of poverty, violence, and abuse that would ultimately threaten her own life.

My favorite quote: “A dog is a great thing for a kid to have. It's like a bicycle but with emotions.”

Why it made me happy: If you’ve ever seen Trevor Noah’s comedy show, then you’ll know that he’s hilarious. He’s just as funny in writing as he is on TV. In this memoir, he tells stories about his chaotic childhood. I honestly don’t know how he survived to adulthood. Between South Africa’s cruel laws and all the trouble he brought on himself, he shouldn’t be alive. Even if you haven’t seen his TV show, I recommend his book. I promise you’ll be entertained while learning a lot about South Africa.

5. Honor Girl: A Graphic Memoir by Maggie Thrash

Young Adult Graphic Novel / Memoir

Maggie Thrash has spent basically every summer of her fifteen-year-old life at the one-hundred-year-old Camp Bellflower for Girls, set deep in the heart of Appalachia. She’s from Atlanta, she’s never kissed a guy, she’s into Backstreet Boys in a really deep way, and her long summer days are full of a pleasant, peaceful nothing . . . until one confounding moment. A split-second of innocent physical contact pulls Maggie into a gut-twisting love for an older, wiser, and most surprising of all (at least to Maggie), female counselor named Erin. But Camp Bellflower is an impossible place for a girl to fall in love with another girl, and Maggie’s savant-like proficiency at the camp’s rifle range is the only thing keeping her heart from exploding. When it seems as if Erin maybe feels the same way about Maggie, it’s too much for both Maggie and Camp Bellflower to handle, let alone to understand.

My favorite quote: “Well that's exactly the magic of The Backstreet Boys. They transcend all that stuff.”

Why it made me happy: Characters with huge personalities and hilarious dialogue. The author perfectly captures how teenagers speak to each other. The characters sound exactly like my friends and I when we were fifteen. (The characters and my long-ago friends also share the same obsession with boy bands.)

6. The Science Of Breakable Things by Tae Keller

Middlegrade Contemporary

How do you grow a miracle?

For the record, this is not the question Mr. Neely is looking for when he says everyone in class must answer an important question using the scientific method. But Natalie's botanist mother is suffering from depression, so this is The Question that's important to Natalie. When Mr. Neely suggests that she enter an egg drop competition, Natalie has hope.

Eggs are breakable. Hope is not.

Natalie has a secret plan for the prize money. She's going to fly her mother to see the Cobalt Blue Orchids—flowers that survive against impossible odds. The magical flowers are sure to inspire her mother to love life again. Because when parents are breakable, it's up to kids to save them, right?

My favorite quote: “‘Do you think Isaac Newton would be proud or alarmed that his famous laws have been turned into a hashtag?’”

Why it made me happy: The young characters are some of the most charming fictional people I’ve come across in middlegrade literature. They each have a distinctive voice. I love their energy and their complete lack of impulse control. They come up with some off-the-wall ideas to win the egg drop competition. I would have wanted to be best friends with them when I was twelve. Life never would have been boring with these characters.

7. Let It Snow: Three Holiday Romances by John Green, Maureen Johnson, Lauren Myracle

Young Adult Romance

A Christmas Eve snowstorm transforms one small town into a romantic haven, the kind you see only in movies. Well, kinda. After all, a cold and wet hike from a stranded train through the middle of nowhere would not normally end with a delicious kiss from a charming stranger. And no one would think that a trip to the Waffle House through four feet of snow would lead to love with an old friend. Or that the way back to true love begins with a painfully early morning shift at Starbucks.

My favorite quote: “There’s nothing about a bad situation that fourteen hyper cheerleaders can’t worsen.”

Why it made me happy: A big cast of characters find themselves stranded in a small town on Christmas Eve. There’s romance, waffles, pigs, and over-the-top shenanigans. This is a light, escapist book that you can speed through in a few hours. It’s laugh-out-loud funny and will leave you smiling at the end.

8. My Grandmother Asked Me To Tell You She’s Sorry by Fredrik Backman

Adult Humor

Elsa is seven years old and different. Her grandmother is seventy-seven years old and crazy, standing-on-the-balcony-firing-paintball-guns-at-men-who-want-to-talk-about-Jesus-crazy. She is also Elsa's best, and only, friend. At night Elsa takes refuge in her grandmother's stories, in the Land of Almost-Awake and the Kingdom of Miamas where everybody is different and nobody needs to be normal.

When Elsa's grandmother dies and leaves behind a series of letters apologizing to people she has wronged, Elsa's greatest adventure begins. Her grandmother's letters lead her to an apartment building full of drunks, monsters, attack dogs, and totally ordinary old crones, but also to the truth about fairytales and kingdoms and a grandmother like no other.

My favorite quote: “Never mess with someone who has more spare time than you do.”

Why it made me happy: This book looks and sounds frivolously fluffy, but I promise it has depth! It’s quirky-brilliant. I laughed many times as Elsa uncovers the serious reasons behind her granny’s eccentric behavior. I ended up loving every character, even the ones who seem awful at first.

9. The Watsons Go To Birmingham—1963 by Christopher Paul Curtis

Middlegrade Historical Fiction

Enter the hilarious world of ten-year-old Kenny and his family, the Weird Watsons of Flint, Michigan. There's Momma, Dad, little sister Joetta, and brother Byron, who's thirteen and an "official juvenile delinquent." When Momma and Dad decide it's time for a visit to Grandma, Dad comes home with the amazing Ultra-Glide, and the Watsons set out on a trip like no other. They're heading South to Birmingham, Alabama, toward one of the darkest moments in America's history.

My favorite quote: “‘Now, your mother and I made a deal when we first got married that if either one of us ever watched the 'wunnerful, wunnerful' Lawrence Welk Show or listened to country music the other one got to get a free divorce.’”

Why it made me happy: I had to include a childhood favorite on this list. I read The Watsons as a kid and still have vivid memories of the trouble they get themselves into. The Watsons are “weird,” but they’re not cartoonish like characters in other children’s books. They each have a strong personality, which leads to amusing conflicts. This book is funny because it’s so believable.

10. Get Well Soon: History’s Worst Plagues And The Heroes Who Fought Them by Jennifer Wright

Adult Nonfiction

In 1518, in a small town in France, Frau Troffea began dancing and didn’t stop. She danced herself to her death six days later, and soon thirty-four more villagers joined her. Then more. In a month more than 400 people had died from the mysterious dancing plague. In late-nineteenth-century England an eccentric gentleman founded the No Nose Club in his gracious townhome—a social club for those who had lost their noses, and other body parts, to the plague of syphilis for which there was then no cure. And in turn-of-the-century New York, an Irish cook caused two lethal outbreaks of typhoid fever, a case that transformed her into the notorious Typhoid Mary and led to historic medical breakthroughs.

Throughout time, humans have been terrified and fascinated by the plagues they've suffered from. Get Well Soon delivers the gruesome, morbid details of some of the worst plagues in human history, as well as stories of the heroic figures who fought to ease their suffering.

My favorite quote: “I know that I am setting low standards for human behavior here, but it is astonishing that the townspeople agreed they should try to help her rather than burn her as a witch.”

Why it made me happy: For a book about plagues, it’s surprisingly upbeat and optimistic. The author doesn’t just focus on death and disfigurement. She also discusses what we can learn from historical plagues so that we don’t repeat history. This seems like a very appropriate book to read right now . . . .

Which book made you happy?


  1. Judy Blume’s books definitely make me happy. The books themselves and the nostalgia factor. :)

  2. Thank you for sharing your list. The Science of Breakable Things sounds quite interesting.

    Happy readings!
    Tânia @MyLovelySecret

  3. What a great list! Judy Blume's classic story is definitely a must read. Horrorstor sounds awesome. I need to add An Absolutely Remarkable Thing to my wish list.

    Thanks for sharing.


  4. Just seeing the cover of Horrorstor makes me smile. I did like that one a lot. Great list! :)

  5. Horrorstör always intrigued me but I haven't picked it up yet.
    Born a Crime and An Absolutely Remarkable Thing are on my shelves, I hope to read them soon! Thank you for the recommendations!

  6. I like that you broke this out by age/genre. Are You There God just takes me back to my childhood, so that makes me smile, seeing all girls doing the arm thing

  7. I have only read #8 but I thought that book was a lot of fun, I thoroughly enjoyed it. For some odd reason, I like that Elsa's a Harry Potter fan, not sure why that makes me happy, maybe because I read the books?

    Have a lovely day.

    P.S. Here's my top ten tuesday (actually 7) here but it's not a list of books, just some complaints relating to books.

  8. Great list! I've heard such good things about My Grandmother Asked Me to Tell You She's Sorry.

  9. The book by Judy Blume is pretty funny!
    Here's my TTT list this week.

  10. I haven't read any of these. Not even Judy Blume even though her books feel like something everyone has read. :/

  11. What a Wonderful list! I love A REMARKABLE THING. Have you read the sequel?

  12. I read a lot of Judy Blume when I was a kid. I loved that her books were more honest and real than most of what was on the market for middle graders back then. She seemed to "get" tweens, you know?

    Happy TTT!

  13. Horrorstor sounds like a lot of fun! I'm adding that one to my TBR!

  14. Let it snow was so good! I love how the writing styles were so distinct but the stories were all interconnected. Great list!

    My TTT

  15. That is a nice list. Some of those books definitely would make me happy, as well.

    Thanks for visiting my TTT earlier.

  16. As an adult, I can look back at Are You There God? and laugh at it!

  17. The Science of Breakable Things seems so interesting. Great list!

    Thank for visiting my TTT before :)

  18. Some of these sound hilarious -- especially that first one! I wouldn't have expected a smile from a book on plagues, either.

  19. Great list! I've been wanting to read Horrorstor so bad!! My interest only grows the more I hear about it!

  20. I'm very intrigued by Horrorstör... Born a Crime is on my tbr, and I loved Let it Snow, too! Great list!

  21. Fredrik Backman certainly would make me happy!

  22. Ohh, Backman is always a great one to have on your list!!

  23. I love that you put quotes in with all your books. It makes me want to check them out. I love quotes! I've started with a weekly post called Wednesday Wisdom where I mainly share quotes. Maybe I should make a link up. Here's my latest one: Wednesday Wisdom

    Anyway! I have marked a few books on your list. First of that Horrorstor. Sounds great! I'm from South Africa, so Born a Crime is close to home. I've read extracts, but not the full book yet.

    Hope you have a good week!

  24. I've only read the Judy Blume book from your list but agree that it's definitely a mood lifting read. :)

  25. There are lots of books on this list that I definitely want to read. And a couple I've already read---and, yes, they made me happy.

    Nicole @ Feed Your Fiction Addiction

  26. Some great books on this list! Some I haven't read! I heard that the audio of Trevor Noah's book is AMAZING! :)

  27. Thanks for this! We could all use books that make us happy. :)

  28. Fabulous list - I've never read Judy Blume's book, but I think I should... Thank you for sharing - we really all need books to make us laugh right now:))

  29. I added so many of thoses onto my virtual wanna read!! 🙊 thank you.
    Some of them, like horrorstör i’ve seen many times before.. but you were the one to make me wanna read it 😅

    Kristina @ books-and-dachshunds.com

  30. I read "Let it Snow" last year (I think??) and enjoyed some of this collection, and other parts/aspects not as much. Still I appreciate that its light-hearted and it's always fun to read some seasonal novels at Christmas. :)

  31. Some day I will get to horrorstor I am sure. It grabs my attention but is also so far out of my comfort zone haha.