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50 uplifting book quotes about happiness

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Francesca Brown
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Uplifting book quotes about happiness

Whether you’re feeling blue or on top of the world: here are 50 writers, including Jane Austen, Marian Keyes and Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, whose words speak to what makes us happy. 

Big happiness, quiet happiness, shout-it-from-the-rooftops happiness, reflective happiness, wry happiness… When it comes to being happy in literature, poetry and plays, it’s an emotion that takes many, many forms. 

With wise words from breakout names such as Akwaeke Emezi, Ocean Vuong and Imogen Crimp, non-fiction philosophy from Susan Cain and Jon Ronson plus legendary reflections from beloved writers including Malorie Blackman, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie and Marian Keyes, discover how happiness can be a burn in the carpet or a warm puppy. 

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Funny, insightful, wise and true, if you’re feeling down or just want to capture what happiness means to you, these are 50 of Stylist’s favourite quotes from classics, contemporary novels, poetry, plays and beyond. 

  • The Color Purple by Alice Walker

    50 quotes about happiness: The Color Purple by Alice Walker
    50 quotes about happiness: The Color Purple by Alice Walker

    “I feel a little peculiar around the children. For one thing, they grown. And I see they think me and Nettie and Shug and Albert and Samuel and Harpo and Sofia and Jack and Odessa real old and don’t know much what going on. But I don’t think us feel old at all. And us so happy. Matter of fact, I think this the youngest us ever felt.”

    Shop The Color Purple by Alice Walker (£8.99, Orion) at Bookshop

  • Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

    50 quotes about happiness: Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
    50 quotes about happiness: Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

    “Sometimes she worried that she was too happy… And her joy would become a restless thing, flapping its wings inside her, as though looking for an opening to fly away.”

    Shop Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie (£8.99, HarperCollins) at Bookshop

  • Quiet by Susan Cain

    50 quotes about happiness: Quiet by Susan Cain
    50 quotes about happiness: Quiet by Susan Cain

    “Spend your free time the way you like, not the way you think you’re supposed to. Stay home on New Year’s Eve if that’s what makes you happy. Skip the committee meeting. Cross the street to avoid making aimless chitchat with random acquaintances. Read. Cook. Run. Write a story. Make a deal with yourself that you’ll attend a set number of social events in exchange for not feeling guilty when you beg off.”

    Shop Quiet by Susan Cain (£9.99, Penguin) at Bookshop

  • Simple Passion by Annie Ernaux

    50 quotes about happiness: Simple Passion by Annie Ernaux
    50 quotes about happiness: Simple Passion by Annie Ernaux

    “One afternoon when he was there, I burned the living-room carpet down to the weft by placing a boiling coffee pot on top of it. I didn’t care. Quite the contrary. I was happy every time I caught sight of the mark as I remembered that afternoon with him.”

    Shop Simple Passion by Annie Ernaux (£8.99, Fitzcarraldo) at Bookshop

  • The Peanuts Guide To Happiness by Charles M Schulz

    50 quotes about happiness: The Peanuts Guide To Happiness by Charles M Schulz
    50 quotes about happiness: The Peanuts Guide To Happiness by Charles M Schulz

Images: courtesy of publishers

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