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Review: And the Pursuit of Happiness

December 19, 2010

The first thing I noticed when I picked up And the Pursuit of Happiness by Maira Kalman was it’s weight – this book is close to five-hundred pages long and printed on high quality paper, so it’s quite hefty for its size.  The second thing I noticed was the gorgeous cover.  Believe me when I say this is one time you can judge a book by it’s cover – this book is simply stunning.

And the Pursuit of Happiness is a series of twelve (one for each month) short essays about history, freedom, democracy and community.  They are intelligent, upbeat and optimistic and I feel like a better person for having read them.  They made me want to visit some of our national treasures and go out and volunteer.  Along with the essays, which appear to be hand-lettered, there are gorgeous illustrations and photographs.

This is a book that can be read quickly, but I don’t know why you’d want to – the words and the illustrations in it are worth savoring.  It’s the type of book that you’ll want to keep on your shelf and pick up again and again.  It’ll make you think and be grateful for what you have.

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33 Comments leave one →
  1. December 19, 2010 6:38 am

    A quick read at 500 pages??? Girl it took me 2 weeks to finish off The Distant Hour, albeit it was a fantastic read.. it took me 2 weeks!

    So this would be best to describe this one as a treasure piece with wonderful renditions of art displayed with masterful essays. Sounds like a collector’s item to boot so will bring it to hubby’s attention.

  2. December 19, 2010 7:28 am

    This is one of my favorite reads for 2010! The cover is actually one of my least favorite paintings in the book, but I couldn’t agree more that this book is uplifting and inspiring. It’s worth owning and re-reading again and again.

  3. December 19, 2010 7:40 am

    This sounds like a fantastic idea for a gift for someone on my list! Great review.

  4. December 19, 2010 8:08 am

    I love to be inspired. Sounds good.

  5. December 19, 2010 8:35 am

    I am going to have to check this book out when I head to the bookstore. It sound like it might fit very well on my reading shelf in my classroom. Thanks for the review.

  6. December 19, 2010 8:41 am

    I’m so sorry I didn’t get this one when I had the chance! It has beautiful pictures in it!

  7. December 19, 2010 8:57 am

    I loved this book and I think it’s one that you will read over and over again. I regret just checking it out of the library.

  8. December 19, 2010 9:54 am

    OK then I’m ordering it from the library! I kept seeing it around but never paid attention to what it was about. Your words worked their magic on me!

  9. December 19, 2010 10:18 am

    Truthfully, never a book I would have picked up, but you sure made it sound like something I could enjoy 🙂 ( I do fear it was that had of hers that scared me)

  10. December 19, 2010 10:55 am

    This is the first time I’ve seen or heard of this book. I’ll bet it is gorgeous. Enjoy. I don’t you would want to rush reading those type of special essays. By the way, Happy Holiday. Stay safe and healthy.

  11. December 19, 2010 1:34 pm

    Yay, glad you liked this one. I thought it was just lovely.

  12. December 19, 2010 1:37 pm

    I haven’t seen this book before. It definitely looks worth checking out.

  13. December 19, 2010 2:26 pm

    This looks like a wonderful book! Thank you so much for sharing, Kathy! The cover is gorgeous! xo

  14. Beth Hoffman permalink
    December 19, 2010 2:41 pm

    I’d never heard of this book until today, and it sounds wonderful! I just added it to my “To Buy” list. Thanks, Kathy!

  15. December 19, 2010 6:26 pm

    I would like to read this after your enthusiastic review. Thanks.

  16. Veens permalink
    December 19, 2010 6:30 pm

    This one always reminds me of he Will Smith movie by the same name, which I absolutely liked.

    I am not sure if I like that cover, but I definitely want to read this one.

  17. December 19, 2010 7:05 pm

    I have seen this book around, and it’s unusual design and subject really compel me to read it. It sounds like it’s just the book to curl up with for a feel good experience, and I will be looking for it. Great review, Kathy. It sounds like such an uplifting read, and I do just love that cover!!

  18. stacybuckeye permalink
    December 19, 2010 7:24 pm

    I’m sold! This is going on my wish list immediately and on my list of gift ideas.

  19. stacybuckeye permalink
    December 19, 2010 7:27 pm

    I just looked and it’s already on my wish list!

  20. December 19, 2010 8:14 pm

    Isn’t it amazing how much different fancy, quality paper feels … and how much more it weighs? This sounds like a book that you keep and reread every year.

  21. December 19, 2010 8:45 pm

    I agree with you on the cover. Other than being beautiful, it’s the kind of cover that you keep looking at – you move on, look at other books, and still return to this one. Like the book’s being very mysterious with you.

  22. December 19, 2010 9:00 pm

    I’ve seen other reviews of this book but it is yours that forced me to add it to my TBR.

  23. December 19, 2010 9:03 pm

    The cover on this book really draws me in. Hope to see it up close and personal sometime.

    BTW, Kathy I loved reading your interview questions/responses….well done.

  24. December 19, 2010 10:02 pm

    Kathy, I LOVED this book! Joyful, upbeat, quirky, and fun are but a few of the words that I use to describe Maira Kalman’s latest book.

  25. December 20, 2010 11:43 am

    This sounds great Kathy – I’ll have to check it out.

  26. December 20, 2010 1:14 pm

    I love when a publisher pays attention to quality as well as looks. There is something so special about a book bound with high quality paper. True readers pay attention to that sort of thing. I know I do!

  27. December 20, 2010 1:34 pm

    I loved this book too. It’s one of my favorite reads of the year. The art work is spectacular.

  28. December 20, 2010 1:46 pm

    Great review, I will have to look into this one.

  29. December 20, 2010 3:57 pm

    Mmmm, it sounds like a lovely book. I like alternating quick reads that just fly by with slower reads I can chew on–or reading one book of each kind simultaneously so that I can read according to my mood. My slow read right now is “What’s so amazing about grace?” by Philip Yancey, and my fast read if “The three daughters of Madame Liang” by Pearl S. Buck.

  30. December 22, 2010 8:47 am

    I’m going to have to check this one out. Sounds like one to savor.

  31. December 22, 2010 12:42 pm

    sounds like an amazing book! i’m going to look for this book the next time i’m at a bookstore if only to see what the cover looks like in person.

  32. December 22, 2010 1:00 pm

    This sounds FABULOUS!

  33. December 23, 2010 7:59 am

    This is making it to my top 10 of the year. It’s a book to keep and to savor.

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