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Happy Books for Dark Days



I have a secret. Are you ready? It's big. Lean in, here it is: I like happy endings. It's not something writers are supposed to admit. If you lined up all the most award winning books from the last decade, they would be well-written, compelling, thought provoking, and as sad as a bakery truck of stale croissants. Although it's not completely without precedent to end on a happy note. The Bard himself once wrote a play titled "As You Like It," arranging things for his readers exactly as they would like it, happy endings and all. If William Shakespeare is wrong, I don't want to be right.

To help readers like me, who yearn for uplifting, funny, kind books with happy endings, I have compiled a list of some of my favorites. If you have a recommendation, please share in the comments below because the world needs more sunshine and hope. Have a wonderful day, friends! V.





The Egg and I by Betty MacDonald. I loved the old movie with Fred McMurray and Claudette Colbert, so it was a happy accident when I stumbled across the book one day in Maine. (Betty MacDonald also wrote the Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle series.) It's a mostly true story of how she and her husband moved to an island after WW2 and began a chicken farm. Have you ever heard of Ma and Pa Kettle? They were her real neighbors, and they're funnier in real life.





Dorothy Cannell is an OG (original gangster) of cozy mysteries. A castle, an inheritance, a handsome man, a funny woman trying to lose weight. What's not to love?





What's better than a fictional happy ending? A real life happy ending. I started reading The Pioneer Woman's blog many years before she was on TV for this reason: her compelling love story. It's sweet and real and funny and lovely. (Bonus trivia: The Pioneer Woman was the inspiration for both The Queens and The Kings of Montana series.)



Bunmi Laditan started her career writing the Honest Toddler blog. Her first work of fiction was equally as humorous and self-deprecating. This is a good book for any woman who feels she's in over her head. (Isn't that every woman? Please tell me that's every woman.)



Allie Brosh was the creator behind the wildly popular web comic Hyperbole and a Half, basically a rendering of her childhood in crudely drawn comics. Her story of going to a high school track competition, becoming sick, and feverishly wandering around town in search of cough medicine made me laugh so hard my ribs still ache.



Here it is, my favorite book of all time. It's a simple little thing, an old timey romance involving an unplanned marriage and scheming sister, but I love it.




If you are one of the five people in the world who hasn't read a Man Called Ove yet, this recommendation is for you. Is there anything more lovable than a lovable curmudgeon? I submit there is not.




I can't say this book is funny, but it is definitely uplifting. A foster kid, dragged through trauma, finds the ability to communicate her emotions using flowers. It's heartfelt and poignant and lovely.



Anything by Janette Oke. The books are gentle and sweet and kind and, yes, always end happily.



This is a newer book, and while it's not laugh out loud funny or romantic in the classic sense, it's nurturing in a gentle, old-fashioned sort of way. When the main character realizes she has become isolated, she sets out to reconnect with old friends, attempting to learn how to relate and connect along the way.

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© 2020 by Vanessa Gray Bartal