topic: happy books or sad books?

28 October 2012

This blog post is prompted by a discussion I had at lunch on Friday with my table of friends. We're all book lovers, so it became a passionate discussion.

I make myself happy, even when I'm not. If someone were to ask me "Are you happy?" I wouldn't know what to respond. I think because I'm quite bubbly at school, people automatically assume that I'm just always happy all the time. I'd beg to differ: I'm not a very cheery person when I get home. It's because of my introverted-ness. I know you're thinking "What? Then why is she bubbly at school?" Because I like being friendly, but school usually drains out all my social-ness and I recover over the weekend by staying in room all by myself and doing things alone.

Back on topic. We asked a question: "Which do you prefer, sad books or happy books?"

I said, "I like sad books"

And that fired off into passionate "argument". A friend (let's call her C) told me something along these lines:

C: "It's because you're happy all the time that sad books don't affect you as much. Sad books make me more sad, and I don't like that. Only when I'm really happy will I read a sad book. Depressed people who read sad books make them even more depressed"

Of course, her argument does have some extent of validity that I agreed with, but I'm not happy all the time and sad books do affect me. That's why I love them. My argument was this:

Me: "I love sad books because they're easy to write, meaning that it's easier to portray sad feelings, angry feelings, and all those negative emotions through writing than it is to write happy emotions. Sad books impact the reader in a tear-jerking, heart panging way that happy books sometimes can't achieve"

Then another friend, M, agreed with C and I became...well, that person on the other end of the spectrum. We compared different tastes, in which I and C were total opposites (thus this conversation)

I am too happy at school, or I seem to portray that too much so it bothers people that aren't. C is awesome: she's funny, sarcastic, and a great friend, but she has a sadness to her that I somehow challenged by saying that I liked sad books. I don't like making people upset, so this made me feel terrible. But then I thought, why feel bad about my opinion?

M and C both said they preffered happy books over sad ones. And once I again, I tried arguing that more often, sad books meant good literature (that's not always the case!). I used The Count of Monte Cristo as an example, but in the end, I was shot down. After lunch, I thought about what others would pick.

Sad books or happy books?

11 thoughts:

  1. I completely agree with you, I prefer sad books with a happy ending..

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  2. I love sad books and I'm glad I'm not the only one!
    A sad book, with a character that has to overcome a difficult time and a happy end are all I need to love a book.
    Now that I think about it, I don't think I know a happy book, most of them have sad moments or a situation that will bring tears to your eyes :)

    Ruty @Reading...Dreaming

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  3. When asked this question, my automatic response was happy books. But the more I thought about, I don't think I prefer happy books. Most of my favorite books are considered "issue books." I don't know why, but I'm drawn to them the most. So, I guess I prefer sad books as long as I know that the characters are okay in the end.

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  4. I'm a bit of both.
    On one hand, I like it when a book has a happily-ever-after, because it gives me this satisfying feeling. The idea that everything will turn out great and that - even when the world looks dark and unhappy - you can make it. You just have to be strong and believe in better times.

    On the other hand, sad books can portray so many emotions and feelings. They are realistic and show the other side to a story. You can't always have your happy ending, but it can lead to something else.

    It depends on my mood what I read. I'm most of the time happy, but I don't think that it has something to do with the books you read :)

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  5. Sad books for sure, same with depressing or sad songs. I always fall in love with the sad ones. Because there is a haunting beauty to them that pulls me in and makes me fall in love .

    Happy books though, I can also appreciate too, but it's mach harder to come across a happy book I truly love. Happy songs are easier to like, but they don't emotionally or as poignantly connect to me.

    However, whatever type of book you choose to read, I am all for it, so long as it is not a sad book that pushes you to the edge of depression or makes you embrace it more (like much of Sylvia Plath has done, making depression and suicidal thoughts seem romantic [the literary romantic, not talking about love])

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  6. Sad books tend to have happy endings, normally. I read mostly sad books. So I guess sad books. It's kind of hard to find a "happy" book now-a-days. I've been trying lately. They are either too "sweet" or mainly "depressing."

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  7. Can I say a healthy balance of both?

    I deal with depression and anxiety, but neither one of those things deter me from reading books that are sad. I don't read a sad book and then feel even worse. In many instances I may feel better because I related to a character. Or maybe that's not it at all. Maybe the sad book had particularly beautiful writing. To be honest though, sometimes I find those sad books to be more uplifting than the happy books.

    But, I won't slam the happy books either. Because those are good too. Particularly on sunny, sunny days down by the lake.

    There is a time and a place for these things!

    - Jackie

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  9. I would say sad stories with happy endings. I want it all. :D I generally dislike books with sad endings though, because I do like to be uplifted by books. And yet in happy endings I think there is a sort of sadness because the story is over and the characters got what they wanted. If I really loved the story, having it end makes me a little sad. I think this is a very complicated question! :)

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  11. Hi dave, yes you are right. I totally agree with you.
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