Jul 23, 2013

30 Day Challenge: Day 5

Day 5: A Book That Makes You Happy

"And the tree was happy."

To say I'm having trouble writing about a book that makes me happy would be a gross understatement. As a generally jovial person, I've come realize, recently (as in the last ten minutes) that I don't read many things for joy, for happiness. 

I like thinkers. I like ponderers. I like emotionally-charged.

But, happy?

Perhaps it's in the way we look at happiness that is causing me to pause. When I think "what makes you happy," I immediately go to the jumping-up-and-down-filled-to-the-brim-laughing-all-the-way-home sort of happiness. As far as reading is concerned, I look for something a little different.

Reading happiness, to me, is that overwhelming sense of love that you can have for a book. The feeling that erupts when you finish the last page and can't speak for hours, can't move for minutes. The way the weight of words can stop your trains of thought and saturate your entire being. That is the kind of happiness I find when I read a truly spectacular book.

My choice today is Shel Silverstein's iconic classic The Giving Tree. Thematically, unconditional love and selfishness are so captivating. In combination, they present such interesting, provoking challenges to morality and nature.  And maybe I read too far into his work? But I think the happiness I find in The Giving Tree is, largely, a result of Silverstein's ability to create complexity from less than 650 words. 

I am not sure another book exists that can still give me chills after the 1,000th read-through--I'd love to know if there's one out there though! So share with us! What book makes you happy?

It's safe to say that all books in general make me happy. I am never more content than when curled up on the sofa with a book in hand. But today's challenge was an easy one - The Children on Troublemaker Street by Astrid Lindgren. This hilarious little chapter book introduces us to Lotta, her older brother Jonas, and her older sister Maria. "The real name of the street is Potter's Street, but Lotta's dad renamed it. There may have been a potter living here in the past, but now there are only troublemakers, so he renamed it Troublemaker Street." Lotta and her siblings do a lot of silly things -- like stick salami on the windows, stand in manure out in the rain just to grow, lower meatballs down the
chimney, and put their pancakes on tree branches just to make leaves. You can't help but laugh at the antics of the three siblings. I smile every time I hold the book and I laugh out loud while reading and recalling my own childhood troublemaking.

My copy was passed down from my mother's childhood - it's been well-read and beaten up, but someday maybe my own kids will get a kick out of this silly little story.


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