The colour for today is yellow: sunshiny, glorious, optimistic yellow. It is entirely fitting then to talk first about a book that made me happy, Jandy Nelson’s I’ll give you the sun (September, 2014). It’s not an entirely happy book, but that’s not what makes me happy anyway. A book that makes me happy is one that has me smiling while I read, that fills me with butterflies when I read a clever line, or a cultural reference, or one that has me cheering the characters on their journey. A book that makes me happy is intelligent, witty, and wise.
There’s much cleverness in I’ll give you the sun (some would argue, too much). The structure is non-linear, the characters are desperately unhappy, and the Art references often and abstract. But with a diverse cast and an insight into grieving, Nelson creates a story that is inspiring and hopeful. Its sense of circular completeness is satisfying, and its quality was validated with a number of critical awards and acknowledgements.
A completed series also makes me happy. Most recently it was the final book in Jaclyn Moriarty’s The Colours of Madeleine trilogy, A Tangle of Gold (March 2016) that set my heart pitter-pattering with joy. Here is a book that delights in language, that seduces with word-play, and that teases with wildly original ideas and people. I was constantly smiling while I flicked back and forth between pages, trying to twist together the impossible leaps and bounds of imagination. There was so much satisfaction with the way the series ended. It certainly made me happy.
A completed series I can re-read also makes me happy. This is true of The Lumatere Chronicles by Melina Marchetta. I have read each at least 3 times, and is a story I return to for comfort and hope. Reading about the way the women in the books fight for, and fall in love with their men is inspiring. All the characters’ strength and courage instills me with the belief that I too can be brave and true. The way community is depicted, and the way war is averted also lets me look around and see the good in the world. Gah! It’s astonishingly real and delightful.
I love all these books so much, and have much respect and appreciation for their authors, who offer dark and troubled times for their characters, but who then create beautiful, serendipitous and hard-fought pathways to triumph.
Third post in the @rainbowblogchallenge. Thanks to all the hosts for the prompt.