Comments 2

Happy and Sad Books

Cheat Sheet Fact of Life: Read the books that make you happy.

Last Friday, I bought the book, ‘Dark Places’ on my Kindle. It is a murder mystery novel by Gillian Flynn, who is also the author of the novel, ‘Gone Girl’. I watched the movie, ‘Gone Girl’ and I felt that the plot was great. I wanted to read ‘Dark Places’ before it became a mainstream movie.

As soon as I read the first chapter, I realized this is not my kind of book. The protagonist’s family, her mother and her 2 sisters are supposedly killed by her brother. The novel is about finding out who killed her family. I like decent murder mysteries like Agatha Christie’s but this book had all the gory details about the murder.

Gillian Flynn is a great writer, who took me into the skin of the characters. The protagonist is a kleptomaniac, lazy and depressed person, whose family was killed when she was seven years old. Her mother was divorced and struggled to feed her four children. The abject poverty of the family was reminded in every chapter. The murder replicated a satanic cult murder. The book was depressing.

I had to take a crucial decision whether to continue reading it or not. I decided not to read any further, and I was relieved.

Over time, I realized that I cannot read books that are gory, books that describe poverty or human suffering in detail. I cannot read Stephen King’s books. Gillian Flynn is another recent author who will be added to that list.

In my early twenties, I ended up reading all sad books, in a sequence.

The first one was Angela’s Ashes, about a poor and impoverished Irish family. The second one was biography of a Jew who escaped the concentration camp. The third was about a negro woman slave in America, when slavery was legal. After I read these three books, I stopped reading for almost an year or so. Twilight series revived me.

I realized that I should read happy books.

Happy books are the books that make you feel alive, and don’t drain your energy. 

My best happy books are ‘Harry Potter Series’, ‘The Chronicles of Narnia’, ‘The Spy Who Lost Her Head’, and the children books authored by Ruskin Bond/Sudha Murthy.

All of us have books which are our kind. If you come across something that you don’t feel like reading, don’t force yourself to complete it. Choose your kind of ‘happy’ books.

Happy reading!

All images from google images. The cover images of the books were modified to make a collage.


  1. shivarani says

    I think instead of banishing the author completely from your bookshelf you can stop reading the book you don’t like.


    • Soumya says

      Usually authors stick to their writing styles, unless and until they do a J. K. Rowling kind of transformation, from Harry Potter to Detective Novels. I will look out for change in genre by the author.


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