5 Books That Make You Happy*

Who else loves to read? I can be a real bookworm when I get my hands on the right book. Unfortunately, I find that the likes of Netflix, work, master’s applications and even blogging stop me reading as much as I’d like to. Admittedly I could not watch Netflix but that is a lot harder than people realise. Anyway, I’m digressing into a moan…
To celebrate my love of reading and all things bookish, I want to share five books (or series) that bring a smile to my face. From fantasy to food, they are proof that books can make the world a better place.

House of Night (series) by P.C. Cast and Kirsten Cast

The House of Night Series, or HON as it is known to those who love the tales of Zoey and the Nerd Herd, were one of my favourite discoveries from my days in Sixth Form. Yes, I browsed the junior fiction when I had had enough of Shakespeare or Hitler; that is where I discovered this mother-and-daughter-authored series. Set in a world that looks a lot like ours but with a few major differences- Vampyres are the result of a genetic change in some teenagers- you follow Zoey as she navigates her new life as a fledgling vampyre. But, as is often the case, Zoey is also chosen to combat the Darkness in her world on behalf of Light and her goddess. I love the combination in the book of vampire lore, classical mythology and cherokee legends, which creates something truly unique. I discovered the series during the whole Twilight craze and I guarantee that the love life of Zoey will beat anything Bella has hands down. And that is just a one layer of her adventures.



The Pendragon Cycle (Series) by Stephen R. Lawhead

Is there any better British legend than those of King Arthur and his Knights of the Round Table? How about the tales told about Merlin before Arthur was on the scene? Or even the tales of Taliesin, a Celtic bard with a lesser-known but equally astonishing backstory? If you combine those three British legends together with the myth of Atlantis, you will have The Pendragon Cycle. His talent for combining iconic legends with a historically-acceptable (no knights in shining armour) settings is incredible. The only thing that might be off-putting is his use of Welsh names to tie the legends into their Celtic roots. Then again, the authenticity it lends the story is utterly worth the challenge of trying to pronounce Welsh names. I’ve read the books several times and, despite having been brought up on traditional Arthurian legends (Rosemary Sutcliff, your book is amazing), I can say they are my favourite version of Merlin and Arthur’s tales.


English Literature was one of my favourite lessons when I was at school. I will never forget when we were taken to see GCSE Poetry Live! and I saw Simon Armitage read his poems for the first time. Since then, I have fallen in love with his poems and was overjoyed when my parents gave me Paper Aeroplane as a present one year. From the rhyming delights of ‘Kid’ through to the delights of ‘The Book of Matches’, Paper Aeroplane is one of my go-to selections for dispersing black clouds. Even now, having survived GCSEs, A Levels and a degree, his poems still teach me more about what it means to grow up. If there is one book you buy off the back of this post, make it this one. I promise you, the magic contained in these words will make you smile.

Luella’s Guide to English Style by Luella Bartley

The inspiration behind at least one outfit post, Luella’s Guide to English Style has been one of the most influential books I have read. Or at least it has been in terms of my wardrobe and style. She has an amazing sense of what it means to be a British Bird and the values that have been passed down over time. The clothes, styles and individuals she writes about are merely a starting point for exploring what it means to be English (or Welsh or Scottish or even Irish). She praises the wonders of  creativity, eccentricity and charity shops as the wellspring of English style. She even dedicates a small part to explaining why the “Great British High Street” is filling up with lookalikes, basing their style on the likes of Kim Kardashian. (Not that there is anything wrong with Kim Kardashian but we only need one of her.) Luella teaches the importance of individuality, showing just how much impact your sartorial choices do have on your life. By the end, you will be running to the nearest charity shop to uncover its hidden treasures.

I reviewed Friends Food Family: Recipes and Secrets From LIBERTYLONDONGIRL back when I first bought it. Since then I have tested a few of the recipes, though I have been cooking less recently, and each one has come out fantastically. Even the rhubarb crumble cake when swapped for plums with gluten-free flour. Sasha’s recipes have bought joy and challenges into my kitchen, from attempting to stuff mushrooms into a pumpkin (massive fail) through to tagines scattered with pomegranate seeds. I think my favourite so far has been the sweetcorn fritters, which Steph and I enjoy making for brunch. They are particularly good with sweet caramelised onions and crispy lettuce. Whether it’s reading about food and adventures or testing the recipes, Friends Food Family is a fantastic choice for those of you who want something a little different. 
So those are my five top books- okay, there are two series- for putting a smile on my face. Each one is very special to me and has some amazing memories attached to it. The list is actually a lot longer and this is just a tiny cross section of my whole list. If you had to pick five books that make you smile, what would they be?
xxx
The post 5 Books That Make You Happy first appeared on CounterCultural.CounterCouture.


*This post does contain affiliate links. However, I can guarantee that I only suggest items that I use and love myself.

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