10 Reasons I Love Happy Endings

This post applies to all book types EXCEPT horror. I’m fine with everyone being dead at the end of a horror book/ movie.

  1. I read to take a break from real life. While I don’t mind a good depressing book, life is difficult enough without reality intruding in my entertainment. A lot of bad things happen in real life, and we can’t always count on them ending well. It’s important that books end on a hopeful note.
  2. When I live with a character in my head for several hundred pages, I want good things to happen for them. I start to enjoy spending time with a character as if they were my friend. Therefore, I prefer that things work out for them.
  3. Sad endings can make me introspective, but happy endings are uplifting. When I’ve read a book with a roller coaster ride between the pages and then a happy ending that feels right (not forced), it can make me feel cheerful the rest of the day.
  4. I believe that most problems have solutions. What I mean by that is that often when there’s a depressing ending, it happens, not exclusively because of circumstance, but also because of people’s choices. I like it when a character engages in problem solving to find a solution to a problem, and I think it sets an excellent example for readers.
  5. I believe that people can be happy in spite of circumstances. What do lottery winners have in common with paralyzed accident victims? This is not a joke.  ……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………… One year after the incident, they both tend to return to baseline levels of happiness. When a book has a happy ending despite bad things that happen, it means that people can triumph over anything. Happiness has to do with the individual, not the circumstances.
  6. They combat the negativity that seems to get the most airtime. I can’t get on social media without seeing something about some celebrity feud, someone complaining that someone is talking about them behind their back, arguing over politics. And don’t even get me started on the news. Ugh. If we believe the information we’re inundated with, we’re all the wrong shape or size, everyone is mean and wouldn’t give a glass of water to a dying man, and if you’re not “with” my politician, it must mean you hate me and everything I stand for. I don’t believe any of that BS. It’s nice to read about relationships working out, people talking through their differences, and people lending helping hands. It’s even nice to occasionally read about people discussing politics without creating Hatfield/ McCoy feuds.
  7. Hope matters. For those of you who don’t know about 13 Reasons Why, it’s a book about a girl who leaves a tape behind to be passed to the thirteen people she feels contributed to her suicide. It’s both a book and later became a Netflix series. It was under controversy because many teens cited the book as triggering them to attempt (or in some cases, tragically complete) suicide. If books can have such a negative impact, why can’t they also have positive ones?
  8. Happy does not equal shallow. I think that sometimes people equate depressing books with emotional richness and thought provoking, while dismissing books with happy endings. Do you know how much harder it is to be positive than to be negative? Try it sometime. Go forth in the world with a smile and a kind word for everyone, and see how difficult it can be. I love books that put a character through a difficult struggle and end up deserving the happy ending.
  9. Heroes should always triumph over villains. If we don’t believe that the light side of the force will always ultimately triumph over the dark side, then what’s the point? Maybe good doesn’t always triumph over evil in real life, but it should. Maybe the detective doesn’t always catch the murderer or find the kidnapping victim in real life, but he should.
  10. I want to feel like there’s a point. When I read a book that’s depressing for hundreds of pages, and then ends on a bleak note, I often feel like, “Well, what was the point of that?” We all know that bad things happen and that sometimes people never recover. It seems meaningless. When I see people suffer for hundreds of pages but ultimately triumph, I often feel like, “Wow, that person didn’t let anything stop them from reaching their goal.” When I did therapy, I used to ask my groups a question: What’s the difference between success and failure? There’s only one difference… the successful people never quit. If you try something 1,000 times, fail 999 of those times but only succeed once, people will call you a success. I like books that show that.

What do you think? Do you prefer happy endings or endings when things don’t work out? Do you agree or disagree with any of my reasoning?

M is for Man’s Search For Meaning

Unknown-5I read this book just a couple of years ago, after a friend encouraged (nagged) me to read it.  It’s his favorite book, and he told me I’d love it.  I didn’t feel like I needed to read it since he quoted it every five minutes.

It’s a short book, at about 165 pages, but it packs a huge punch.

The book is about Viktor Frankl’s experiences in a concentration camp during World War II.  He asserts that how prisoners imagined their future affected their survival and longevity.  He stated that he started writing about logotherapy, his psychotherapeutic theory, before he was imprisoned.  He believed that part of the reason he survived is because he felt that he had to finish the manuscript.

He believed that meaning could be found in every moment of life, and that meaning could be found, even in suffering.  People can choose to change themselves, even in the worst situations.

Part I of the book was an analysis of his experiences in the concentration camp.  Part II discusses his theory of logotherapy.

I’d highly recommend this book to everyone.  It’s accessible to people who aren’t in the field of psychology, and it’s touching and thought-provoking.  Once I’d read it the first time, I was sorry I hadn’t read it sooner.

Anyone can be content with life and find meaning when things are going well, when all basic needs are being met, when they’re surrounded by loved ones.  But to find meaning in life when everything has been stripped away is something else entirely.  I hope that I’ll never have to find out who I’d be under such horrific circumstances.  But to know that the human spirit can endure under such conditions fills me with hope.

It’s an amazing book.

“Everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms—to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.”
― Viktor E. Frankl

Love, Hope, Strength

by The TV Guy

CBS this Morning brings us another wonderful story about hope and change. This time it is an organization that was created out of necessity and has blossomed into a new weapon in the war on cancer. For many years, people suffering from cancer who were in need of bone marrow transplants had to hope and pray that there was a match on the list. The problem has always been getting enough people to join the list. The test is just a swab of the cheek of the mouth and you become a potential donor.

Love-Hope-Strength sets up a booth at large music festivals and concert venues in order to get more potential donors on the list. The organization is responsible for more than 25,000 new potential donors and 291 actual donors since it was started just five years ago.

A simple idea with the backing of more and more artists each day giving hope to cancer patients in need of a donor. This is one of those stories you just want to share with as many people as you can.

H is for Home and Hope

There are so many good “H” words, but at the same time, too many!  None of them blew my skirt up with the “I have to write about this” moment.  Most of the time, I just browse around until the proverbial light comes on and I say, “Oh, that’s the one.”  In fact, in case you can’t tell, that’s actually what I’m doing now.  No matter what the title says now that you’re reading this post… the truth is that as of this moment, I have no idea what my topic is going to be.

Happiness?  Hygiene?  Hate?  Hippos?  I asked my Facebook friends for help (hey, that’s an “H” word!) and they came up with hair and hymens.  Seriously.

When in doubt, keep it simple.  I went with Home and Hope because they’re two of the most important words in existence.  In my opinion, it’s hard to live without either.  Some people have a talent for “home.”  That is, no matter where they find themselves, they can make it home.  Some people need a building to be home.  Others a person.  Some, just an idea.  For me, I need my books, my babies, and my laptop in order to be at home anywhere.  Otherwise, I’m just passing time.

It’s hard to live without hope.  Without hope, life is a never-ending series of hardships.  With hope, it can always get better.  It’s what keeps us going to casinos, and passing on stupid chain mails because who really believes that if they share that photo, they’re going to get money in 4 days?!?

Oh, sorry.  I think I got off topic for a second.  In any case, hope and home are important.  My wish for all of you is that you have something to call home and something to hope for.