Normally, you can follow all the book review stuff over at https://literarydust.wordpress.com/, but sometimes some book spillover happens here, too.
I came across "Open When...Letters to Lift Your Spirits" by Karen Salmansohn and was first just taken in by the art.
I have to say that short, happy books like this, meant to brighten your outlook, only work for me when illustrated. Photos don't do it. The art makes it feel like a trip to a mini-museum of contemporary pieces. That by itself kind of makes me happy. That may or may not be a designer thing...
Not all the letters in the book made me feel something positive. There are a few things in here that fall back on the relatively toxic thinking of "wish yourself better" or "nothing happens without a reason" but they don't go too far into that, so it's alright. And, admittedly, I did sort of get taken aback by the power of the Buddhist notion that our hardest lives are the ones where we get closest to enlightenment. I hadn't heard that idea before. I rather like it, though.
That's all this book is, all any of these illustrated books are, is an arrow yelling "Focus here for a minute!"
But that's okay. Sometimes it's the best kind of book if you're in the right place.
I enjoyed "Open When..." and with new medical diagnosis and more tests looming, I probably needed to look at this little piece of paper happiness for awhile. I intend to give this as a gift to a beloved friend as well. I feel like these are meant to be passed on and make great gift ideas.
Also, there were all sorts of crafts dealing with Open When letters that I had never thought of until reading this. That alone is kind of cool.
*I received this book from Blogging For Books for this review*