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Friday Reads for the Non-Compulsive Reader: Why Harry Potter Was So Successful

Okay, so I’ve never really been a Harry Potter person, but, as Kristen Lamb pointed out in We Are Not Alone, one of the reasons those books took the world by storm was really because they drew in the non-compulsive readers, those people who, unlike me, had a zillion other things they would rather be doing than reading ten books at a time (yeah, I know that’s not normal, but I’m okay with it). These non-compulsive reader types need something really, really good to pull them away from their other activities. They also need something that’s either going to meet an important need or make them feel better about their life in general.

But then, I believe that really, all reading should do that.

Which is why, prior to reading Daniel Goleman’s Emotional Intelligence five years ago, I used to feel stupid, or guilty, or just oh-so-shallow when I would talk to my reader friends who’d espouse on the virtues of this-award-winning-book or this-amazing-author, because most of the times the books or authors they referred to made me want to poke my eyes out or kill myself only a few pages into the book, since it was so, so, unbelievably, depressing. And for someone who’s going through a major bend in their road, well, it just doesn’t work to dwell on depressing.

Or, you get swallowed up.

And then I read Goleman’s work, which scientifically showed that the most emotionally intelligent, aware, and positive people to be around, chose to spend their downtime doing, or reading things that were positive, escapist, and mood-boosting.

I finally had a reason to stop feeling stupid around the book snobs.

And hey, I love these people. They know what they’re talking about. They are very, very educated and incredibly smart. But I’m here to tell you if that’s not you, you may be actually choosing to do something very smart.

So, I have two reads for you today that I absolutely loved, two books that I think are made even for the non-compulsive readers, and two that will give you some hilarity foryour own bend in the road:

The Book of (Even More) Awesome, by Neil Pasricha

Those of you who have The Book of Awesome, based on Neil’s blog here, will know the premise; this guy thinks of thousands of tiny little things that bring joy to an ordinary day, and when we keep thinking about all of them together, we get happy. He’s not just a happy idiot, either. He knows that most of us have something really dark to deal with, and need to be reminded of the awesomeness of eating something we really, really shouldn’t, the relief when a police car in your rearview mirror pulls off and starts following someone else, or the joy of finding something you lost a long time ago after you already gave up looking for it, so we can feel happy amid the, bleh. His introduction is both heartwarming, anthem-esque – and it rhymes! – and I promise that this book would make an excellent addition to anyone’s collection, even if its the I-read-it-while-going-number-two kind of book.

Jimmy Fallon’s “Thank You Notes,” by the Writers of Late Night

Okay, disclaimer: there are some crass parts to this book, so you wouldn’t want to read it to your children or anything, but I got this for my birthday last weekend from the person who knows me best out of anyone except my mom and husband, and she was bang-on in her attempt to make me laugh until my sides hurt. It’s quick, its got pictures, it will make you laugh about really dumb – and sometimes incredibly annoying – things.

Moreover, both these books remind us that in our garbage kinds of days, we are not alone.

And,from someone that’s been side-tailed into more than a couple bends in the road, that’s the kind of book I think we all like to read.

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