In these tough times, I am all about finding moments of joy and sunshine to revel in. Luckily for me, I can find a lot of that in books! Here are the five books that I can pick up off the shelf, that I know will bring a smile to my face.
The Princess Bride – William Goldman. Despite being born in the nineties, the eighties film The Princess Bride is a childhood classic for me (thank you Aunty Julie!). It seeps with romance, fairy tales, magic, and silliness, and the book adaptation does so too. When I pick up the book, I know exactly what is going to happen in every point of the story, what the characters are going to say and do, and how it ends. It’s comforting and nostalgic, and is the bookish equivalent of a warm hug.
Unspun Socks From a Chicken’s Laundry – Spike Milligan. You can see from the spine how many times this has been read. My mum used to read me these poems as a toddler, and my love for Spike Milligan’s silly words has just continued throughout my life. Sure, some people may call the poems childish but I do not care in the slightest. We should hold on to the childish joy! They make me laugh out loud, and we could all use a little laughter in our lives.
The Bell Jar – Sylvia Plath. One of these things is not like the other… It might seem a little odd to put this book, known for its adult and rather dark themes, in between two childhood classics. But this is the most important book of my life. It has changed my life on many occasions, helped me through the darkness of mental illness, and showed me that there can be a light at the end of the depression tunnel. Every time I pick it up, I clutch it close to my chest and feel thankful. Yes, the story still tugs at my soul and can make me weep, but it also makes me smile and brings me happiness.
The Hobbit – J R R Tolkien. I know a lot of people would put this in their childhood collection section of the bookshelf, but I only discovered this in my late teens. I was so very lucky to pick this up in a time of exams and studying, when I needed some for escapism. Although part of The Lord of the Rings universe, it was written for children; so gone are the winding tales and family trees, and enter the perfect balance of lightness, peril, and fun. Despite being over 350 pages long, it’s still a book I would gladly read in one sitting.
Reasons to Stay Alive – Matt Haig. I’m sure this will appear on a lot of people’s lists. This book approaches mental illness in such an honest and real way, one that I had never encountered before. It talks through the toughest of times but also shows how, like in The Bell Jar, you can get through it. That, that is the thing that brings me joy. The honesty in the dark times, and the honesty in the light. It might not bring me the childhood warmth of The Princess Bride, but it brings me something else; it tells me it’s all gonna be okay.
Those are the five books that I can pick off my shelf and know will fill me with joy and happiness. I’m always keen to find more books to read, so let me know what your top joy bringing books are!