Hey everybody!  I hope you’re staying healthy and safe during this quarantine.  Like you, I have found some pretty intense bouts of boredom even The Sims can’t cure.  While Netflix and video games can fill the time, it always feels a lot better to consume a book, and we are often better for it in the end.  Among the frustration and the uncertainty, I think we need some books that can transport us from fear and make us feel happy for a little while.  This is why I chose to start a series of “Books for Happy Hippies,” starting you off with 5 for today, as well as our other nominations from The Jamwich Book Club. If you would like to read a book along with us in the Jamwich Book Club – please join our group on Facebook!  We haven’t voted on April’s book choice yet, so be a part of the voting this week.

As a self-proclaimed hippie, I love a good story about free spirits or wacky adventures, especially if the story comes with a lesson in the end.  Not all of these books are strictly about hippies, but I’m sure you will be able to enjoy reading them all!

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  1. The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test by Tom Wolfe

This is the quintessential book for hippies as it follows the Merry Pranksters and the explosion of LSD into popularity.  If you are unfamiliar with the Merry Pranksters – you may be familiar with the “Furthur” bus, which is a recreation of the original painted bus that carried the Pranksters around the country. 

It’s hard to believe that this is a non-fiction book–Tom Wolfe creates such an immersive experience straight into the 60’s and the effect that acids trips have on us as individuals and society.  The book is an important documentation of this revolutionary time, with appearances from icons like Ken Kesey, The Grateful Dead, and Hell’s Angels. If you really want to escape your current reality without actually doing drugs, this is the book for you.

Buy your copy in paperback, Kindle, or Audible: https://amzn.to/3dLv9T6

2. The Alchemist

This book is a quick and easy read in the form of a parable with a strong message.  The Alchemist is widely beloved and touted as many as the book that encouraged them to follow their dreams.  The story follows a shepherd boy named Santiago on a quest for treasure as well as finding his “personal legend.”  Every person and event along the way carries a lesson for him to learn and grow along the way, while encouraging the reader to take note and listen to their heart.  The story was a little too simple for readers like myself, who enjoy very dense reads, but I understand why this book appeals to such a wide audience.  

Buy your copy in paperback, Kindle, or Audible: https://amzn.to/2R2Gp3L

3. Even Cowgirls Get the Blues by Tom Robbins

Tom Robbins is a fantastic story writer and wordsmith, and Even Cowgirls Get the Blues is one of his most famous books.  The book follows Sissy Hanshaw, a beautiful hitchhiking blonde who finds her way to an all-female ranch in the West led by character Bonanza Jellybean.  The story is filled with the air of free-spirits and campy settings with a great sense of humor, and a little bit of deeper messages hid underneath. If you enjoy literary fiction and haven’t read Tom Robbins yet, I strongly urge you to give him a try.  Even Cowgirls Get the Blues is a great place to start.

Buy your copy in paperback, Kindle, or Audible: https://amzn.to/33ZoCQa

4. Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams

The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy story actually spans over five novels: The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy; The Restaurant at the End of the Universe; Life, the Universe and Everything; So Long, and Thanks for All the Fish; and Mostly Harmless.  You can buy the “Ultimate Guide” full collection for only a few dollars more than buying the single copy, and I strongly suggest you do. Reading just one of these novels will not satisfy you after you experience the hilarious comedy in the first! 

The story begins with average joe Arthur Dent being ripped from his reality as he is rescued by an alien right before the destruction of Earth. The ensuing science fiction novel serves more as a spoof of the genre, and might be one of the funniest books ever written.  The full collection is rather large, so this purchase provides the best overall bang for your buck if you want to buy a new book to read during quarantine.

Buy your copy in paperback, Kindle, or Audible: https://amzn.to/2R0uK5g

5. The Art of Happiness by Dalai Lama

On a list of books for happy hippies, this one surely seems appropriate. The Dalai Lama is an undeniably happy person whose smile disarms and soothes anyone around him.  He believes that happiness is the purpose of life, and we are all moving towards happiness. It can be easy to get lost in our anxieties and worries of everyday life, especially right now, putting us in a negative place.  This book talks about life’s obstacles, relationships, and the pursuit of wealth, and how to obtain inner peace and happiness through the chaos. This book may even help you find some time to meditate and find some quiet in your mind, no matter who you are stuck inside with.

Buy your copy in paperback, Kindle, or Audible: https://amzn.to/3dJBIW5

Other nominations for April:

The Sparrow By Mary Doria Russell

This “provocative” and “compelling” novel by New York Times bestseller Mary Doria Russel is about first contact with extraterrestrials and an expedition by a group of Jesuits to this new world.  There is a lone survivor – Emilio Sandoz, who returns in 2059 with stories and revelations.

Buy your copy in paperback, Kindle, or Audible: https://amzn.to/3bCcMOm

Rising Strong by Brene Brown

This is a self-help book about owning your story and writing your own ending! 

“It is the rise from falling that Brown takes as her subject in Rising Strong. As a grounded theory researcher, Brown has listened as a range of people—from leaders in Fortune 500 companies and the military to artists, couples in long-term relationships, teachers, and parents—shared their stories of being brave, falling, and getting back up. She asked herself, What do these people with strong and loving relationships, leaders nurturing creativity, artists pushing innovation, and clergy walking with people through faith and mystery have in common? The answer was clear: They recognize the power of emotion and they’re not afraid to lean in to discomfort.”

Buy your copy in paperback, Kindle, or Audible: https://amzn.to/2R3sbiP

Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close

This tragic story is seen through the eyes of a young boy who lost his Father on 9/11.  The nine year old boy Oskar is an incredibly real and developed character and Jonathan Safran Foer is a great writer and scene-setter.  He is also the author of the bestseller Everything is Illuminated.

Buy your copy in paperback, Kindle, or Audible: https://amzn.to/39BOfaR

Killers of the Flower Moon

This book was the Amazon Editor’s Pick for Best Book of 2017 and is a great choice for true crime buffs, but will please a larger audience.  The book is about the Osage tribe in the 1920’s, who were able to negotiate to keep their land in Oklahoma, then struck rich in oil. Tribe members started mysteriously dying, and the resulting investigation was the beginning of what came to be the FBI.

Buy your copy in paperback, Kindle, or Audible: https://amzn.to/2UWgITx