Books Guaranteed to Put a Smile On Your Face

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly book meme run by That Artsy Reader Girl. For this week’s post, I’m afraid I may have bungled my interpretation of this week’s topic. I read it as referring to myself, but topics in the past used first-person references for that. Oops…

Maybe these books will put a smile on your face anyway, but when I put together this list before I started actually writing this post, it was under a different pretense, so take that for what you will. My specific criteria for these were books that I still think about, maybe just an aspect of or moment from it, that makes me laugh or feel some facet of joy. Maybe both, who’s to say, but for some of these they’re smaller, fragmentary things that have stayed with me.

Far-Seer by Robert J. Sawyer


At this point this is becoming a bit, maybe propaganda, but I’m 100% sincere. I really like this book, okay? I’ve only read it twice, and the second time was over a decade ago, but there’s so much I still remember fondly. Plus, look at Afsan’s smile. Look at the wonderment on that face! He’s not gonna be that happy for long, with what he finds out with his charts and knowledge of astronomy, but let him have this.

Small Gods by Terry Pratchett

Small Gods

There are other characters and stories in the Discworld series I’m more emotionally attached to, but this standalone novel was absolutely stellar: deeply funny, but with a lot to say about the nature of gods and the relationship of mortals with them. The Great God Om is also forced to take the form of a tortoise for the majority of the story, and I find the mental image of him tootling along as just a round, shelled little creature endlessly amusing.

Solutions & Other Problems by Allie Brosh


This book made me laugh an awful lot last year, and it doesn’t take much mental conjuring to remember images that still tickle me. The art is just so evocative, the stories so oddly relatable. What’s not to like?

Animals of a Bygone Era by Maja Säfström

Animals of a Bygone Era

I bought this illustrated compendium at a museum gift shop only a few weeks ago, and it’s stupid how happy this book makes me. I love natural history, and the quirky art style of this book was just perfect. An excellent souvenir and a pleasant read, even if it’s really just a picture book.

Spiderlight by Adrian Tchaikovsky


Not without its flaws, this was a great fantasy book that really struck a chord with me through Nth, the most endearing, if grotesque, man-spider you’ll ever meet in fiction. Challenging the light vs. dark morality of fantasy worlds may be a decently tread path already, but I adored the way this book followed it through this character.

The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet by Becky Chambers

The Long Way to a Small Angry Planet

Though another case of a great book that had a few things nag at me, the warm/fuzzy feeling I got from the growing relationship between Rosemary and Sissix was outstanding. I’ve referred to this before, but the climactic chapter between the two was so cathartic for me that I actually reread it the next time I picked the book back up, which is something I virtually never do while in the middle of a novel.

The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien

The Hobbit

I’m sure nostalgia has something to do with this, but there’s just something so dang cozy about this book, which I suppose is ironic considering it’s about somebody leaving the comfort of their home for adventure. I’m not a huge LOTR fan overall, but I’ve had an ongoing fondness for this book since childhood that I don’t see going away anytime soon.

The First Men in the Moon by H. G. Wells


I’m a little surprised myself about putting this book here, but I found this 120-year-old science fiction tale of lunar exploration so sincerely amusing when I read it, and I’ve never really forgotten the feeling. The two men who travel there are stupidly unqualified, and I felt like the text knew it in a subtle, tongue-in-cheek sort of way. It was a nice blend of danger, imagination, and plausibility (for its time).

The Crocodile Hunter by Steve and Terri Irwin

The Crocodile Hunter

This is another nostalgic book for sure, which I actually reread just last year. I first got it when I was a kid and an active fan of the show. It’s definitely written with the TV show audience in mind, so it’s probably a little short for an autobiography. Nevertheless, it’s a great source of insight into the lives of the Irwins before the tragic death of Steve. A bittersweet book in the collection, to be sure, but a joyful read in itself.

Hellboy: Conqueror Worm by Mike Mignola

Hellboy Conqueror Worm

I suppose it’s more the entire series than just this one book, but the part of this book that I always remember that makes me smile is when Hellboy says “Look, Roger. A dead alien.” It’s a line that I always find funny, but it’s from a moment that is all at once poignant, weird, hopeful, and humorous; it’s an encapsulation of so many things I love about the series. You can see the moment here, if you like.

Until next time, thank you for reading! Feel free to share your own list down below.


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