Review: A book that reminds us of the many reasons to smile

Review: A book that reminds us of the many reasons to smile
Todd Doughty’s “Little Pieces of Hope: Happy-Making Things in a Difficult World” is a joyful compilation of lists meant to remind readers of all the little things in life that make us happy.

Doughty covers everything from a Sunday stroll beside the water to organizing the junk drawer to people who rescue dogs and cats to a good suit. Mingled among the lists are also short, pleasant essays in which Doughty offers his thoughts on things like small towns, summer reading and fall.

The book is all about boiling life down to what really matters, and its simplicity is part of its bountiful charm. It’s remarkable, really, that Doughty could come up with this many happy-making things. The book is not short and the font is not large, yet page after page, he continues to remind us how many reasons we have to smile.

Doughty’s list-making project started on Instagram on March 11, 2020, the same day the World Health Organization declared a global pandemic. A year and a half later, his musings remain as relevant as ever. At a time when everything still feels scary, exhausting, and overwhelming, “Little Pieces of Hope” may just be the antidote we need.

But it’s not necessarily a book that should be read from cover to cover. Despite the many happy-making moments, it can be a bit tedious to read a novel-length book of lists for a long period of time. Instead, this should be a book you keep around when you need a little jolt, something to lift you up if you’re feeling down. As even Doughty suggests in the opening pages, you can read the book in order or flip to random pages. He even proposes crossing things out and adding in your own ideas. For him, this book is a living document, a way for each reader to reflect on their lives and live every day as happily as possible.
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