Tag Archives: literature

A Little Happier: Laura Ingalls Wilder, and We Can Admit that the People We Love Aren’t Perfect.

I’m a huge fan of children’s literature. I’m in three children’s literature reading groups, and I read that literature all the time.

So naturally one of my favorite writers is Laura Ingalls Wilder. Her Little House books are masterpieces.

The passage I read can be found in The Selected Letters of Laura Ingalls Wilder, in a letter from Laura Ingalls Wilder to Rose Wilder Lane, March 23, 1937:

You can see that all of this cost money. I would have no idea how much. I know Pa sent money home for doctor bills after he was working for the railroad. But Pa was no businessman, He was a hunter and trapper, a musician and poet.

Such a moving tribute to Pa — a wonderful, wonderful father.

If  you’d like to discover some great children’s literature, here’s a list of just a few of my favorites.

What are some of your favorite children’s books? I’m always looking for new suggestions.

Want to get in touch? I love hearing from listeners:

 

Happier listening!

A Little Happier: I Read the Short Story that Was Read as Part of My Wedding.

In episode 76, a listener asked for suggestions for great wedding readings, and I promised that I’d read “I Was Trying to Describe You to Someone,” the short story from Richard Brautigan’s wonderful story collection The Revenge of the Lawn that was read at my wedding.

How I love this story! You can read it for yourself here.

Speaking of great quotes, if you’d like to get the “Moment of Happiness,” my free daily email newsletter with a wonderful quotation, sign up here. I love collecting quotations, and choosing the quotation for the daily newsletter is one of my favorite things to do.

Want to get in touch? I love hearing from listeners:

 

Happier listening!

 

I Need Suggestions! What’s a Great Book to Read on an Airplane?

My daughter and I are going to London next week. I’m not a huge traveler, but I know that novelty and challenge boost happiness, that new experiences stay in the memory better than familiar experiences, and that shared adventures are a great way to get closer to the people we love. And in case there are traveling challenges along the way, I always comfort myself with the Secret of Adulthood that my mother taught me: The things that go wrong often make the best memories.

Plus I do love London.

But here’s my question: what books should I take? I’ll have a lot of airplane time, and I love to read on airplanes — I get to focus, without interruption, for so long.  Plus I’ll have reading time while we’re there.

What books do you suggest? I have a bunch of books in my stack, but none of them seem right. For instance, I have a lot of books about color, but several of them are extremely heavy, and as obsessed as I am with color, it’s not a subject that I want to read about for five hours straight.

I want a terrific, gripping, beautifully written novel or memoir or book of history.  And I want paperback, so it’s easier to carry.

My husband suggested John Le Carre’s Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy. Thumbs up?

What else would you suggest?

I checked out three e-books from the library (technology is amazing), but I do like to bring physical books as well.

Do you love reading on airplanes? Where’s your favorite place to read?

I’m going to the bookstore this weekend, so make your suggestions quickly!

Revealed! Book Club Choices for July. Such Great Books.

Because nothing boosts happiness more than a great book, each month, I suggest:

  • one outstanding book about happiness or habits
  • one outstanding work of children’s or young-adult literature–I have a crazy passion for kidlit
  • one eccentric pick–a widely admired and excellent book that I love, yes, but one that may not appeal to everyone

 

Shop at IndieBound, BN.com, or Amazon (I’m an affiliate), or your favorite local bookstore. Or my favorite, visit the library!

For all the books I choose, I love them; I’ve read most of them at least twice if not many times; and they’re widely admired.  Drumroll…

A book about happiness, good habits, or human nature:

Heartburn by Nora Ephron

Buy from IndieBound; BN.com; Amazon.

 

An outstanding children’s book:

Mr. Popper’s Penguins by Richard and Florence Atwater

Buy from IndieBound; BN.com; Amazon.

 

An eccentric pick:

Can’t We Talk About Something More Pleasant? by Roz Chast

Buy from IndieBound; BN.com; Amazon.

 

Some readers have said that they wished that I’d describe and make the case for my book choices, instead of just providing links. I’ve noticed that many times, when someone describes a book to me, I want to read it less. And often, weirdly, the better a book is, the worse it sounds.

Nevertheless, because so many readers have requested it, I’ve decided to give a bit more context for these choices in the book-club newsletter. So if you’d like to know more about why I made these selections, check there. To get that free monthly book-club newsletter, and to make sure you don’ t miss any recommendations, sign up here.

If you read last month’s recommendations…what did you think?

Have You Ever Read Anything That Made You Think, “I Must Change My Life”?

A friend showed me the poem “The Archaic Torso of Apollo” on her phone, and told me, “I read this, and I know I want to change my life.”

I read it, too. That last line! It swept me off my feet.

Have you ever read anything that made you think, “I must change my life”?

Archaic Torso of Apollo
by Rainer Maria Rilke

We cannot know his legendary head

with eyes like ripening fruit. And yet his torso

is still suffused with brilliance from inside,

like a lamp, in which his gaze, now turned to low,

 

gleams in all its power. Otherwise

the curved breast could not dazzle you so, nor could

a smile run through the placid hips and thighs

to that dark center where procreation flared.

 

Otherwise this stone would seem defaced

beneath the translucent cascade of the shoulders

and would not glisten like a wild beast’s fur:

 

would not, from all the borders of itself,

burst like a star: for here there is no place

that does not see you. You must change your life.

Translated by Stephen Mitchell

That final line! Rarely have I read a single line that was so powerful in its context.