I don’t understand the aspect of literature that says it’s only good if it’s sad, depressing, or traumatic. I mean, I understand it makes for more emotion – but if the point of reading is to escape to another world, a world better than our own – why wouldn’t we want to read about happy endings?

Books can be happy too! (photo by martinak15)

Books can be happy too! (photo by martinak15)

#1. The Shipping News by Annie Proulx

The funny thing about happy endings in literature is that they might just be one of the hardest tasks – considerably harder than writer’s block. A very modern book (it was published in 1993) – it covers the story of a man whose life is falling apart right before his eyes. His abusive wife leaves him after his parent’s joint suicide, and with the help of his aunt, he decides to move and start new in Newfoundland. The story ends on a happy note, as he creates a social life, relationship, and acquires a good job in a new town.

#2. The Book of Happy Endings by Elise Valmorbida

The Book of Happy Endings covers many different tales of love and finding the euphoric feeling with someone. All are true stories and affirm that love and happy endings are real. Valmorbida says, “In The Book of Happy Endings you’ll meet, amongst others, Iraqi political dissidents full of hope and love, strangers who discover passionate devotion after a year of transatlantic letters, and a frail old London widow whose approach to life is truly inspirational.”

#3. To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee

I read this book while I was a freshman in a required reading class, and since then, it’s been something that I could talk about happily since. The book follows a family that includes a lawyer as the father, and son and daughter. The father is representing a black man, which is incredibly unheard of during this time. At the end, racism is trumped, the father kills a rabid dog, point blank, and Boo Radley saves the children. It”s a feel good book. It’s a pretty good movie too.

#4. The Consolations of Philosophy by Alain de Botton

Valmorbida says this is on her list of top 10 happy books because:

” If you take Seneca’s advice and “hold the possibility of disaster in mind at all times”, you won’t mind being put to death, or anything. Listen to Epicurus and sort out your entire life with a few simple things: some close friends, lively talk and good food.”

Alain de Botton states, on his website, that:

“The Consolations of Philosophy sets out to refute the notion that good philosophy must be irrelevant and gathers together six great philosophers who were convinced of the power of philosophical insight to work a practical effect on our lives.”

You can search any of these titles via textbooks.org.