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What’s Making Us Happy, Part 2

Earlier this week, we posted a list of podcasts, music, and books that make us happy—an idea inspired by the fine folks at NPR’s Pop Culture Happy Hour.

Today, we have Part 2: what’s making us happy in the realms of TV, cooking, art and design, libraries, and online thingamabobs, and then happinesses that defy categorization.


Parks and Recreation is the first TV show I’ve ever binge-watched. The characters’ antics, camaraderie, friendship, and silliness just made me laugh and appreciate all the unique characters. Plus the fact that they really, really dislike the library and librarians made it funnier.

Leslie Knope: “The library is the worst bunch of people assembled in history. They’re mean, conniving, rude, and extremely well read, which makes them very dangerous.”

(And some of the main actors have recently written books!) —Adriana Blancarte-Hayward, Outreach

portlandiaI am currently loving the show Portlandia, and I was happy to find that I have five seasons’ worth of shows to catch up on. The humor can be very quirky, but it totally gets me out of my head and makes me laugh. —Chasity Moreno, Epiphany






fabTyra Banks’ new show and her super lifestyle experts are making me very happy. It covers all the things I love: fashion, food, life hacks, DIY stuff, and talk about the single life. This show pretty much is giving me all kinds of feels, in the good way. —Elisa Garcia, Bronx Library Center


difficultDifficult People just wrapped up its first season on Hulu Plus. The first episode finds our heroes (Julie Klausner and co-star Billy Eichner) attempting to go into business together bottling library fountain water—”the coldest, most delicious water in the world.” The comedy of Julie Klausner makes me happy, even when she is acerbic, grumpy, or expounding at length on her love of “noodelles.” She just gets it. Check out her weekly podcast, YA novel, or 2009 dating memoir, I Don’t Care About Your Band. —Lauren Lampasone, Digital Experience


I’ve been enjoying the TV series Drop Dead Diva, which I affectionately think of as “lawyer lady.” The premise sounds like something out of a George Burns movie script. Between the fun characters, the guest stars, and the comedic foil of Margaret Cho, it makes me happy. —Jenny Baum, Jefferson Market





bridgeOkay, I know that saying watching the Scandinavian series The Bridge makes me “happy” may give some people pause… its storyline is dark and sometimes gruesome. But the pairing of Sofia Helin as a Swedish detective who displays traits consistent with Asperger syndrome with Kim Bodnia as her Danish counterpart makes this series binge-worthy. I’ve seen the first two seasons and the third just started airing in Sweden, so I can’t wait to be able to see it distributed stateside. Be forewarned: There is an American version of the series that is a pale imitator of the original. —Wayne Roylance, Selection Team





I live for Wednesday nights on FX. The League and You’re the Worst are both hilarious comedies about terrible people who are somehow sympathetic (well, some of them, anyway). Recommended for fans of It’s Always Sunny, Seinfeld, and other shows about selfish narcissists. —Rebecca Dash Donsky, 67th Street






Something making me very happy is the return of Nashville, which is like Empire for fans of country music. The show has many great storylines that includes drama, love triangles, fights, and, of course, exceptionally great original music. —Lilian Calix, Hamilton Grange





British TV

nailsI have been awaiting the return of Doctor Who series 9. It came back last week and I have not been disappointed! This photo will show what a nerd I am: My nails are Doctor Who-themed. —Dawn Collins, Wakefield






bakeI’m in love with The Great British Bake Off, currently in series 6. Twelve ordinary Brits square off for two days each week in judged baking competitions that test their technical skills and creativity. The most recent showstopper competition had contestants building a three-tiered centerpiece in the shape of a nun, using only filled eclairs. Everyone is so nice to each other, so polite and supportive. I find episodes on YouTube (and the first season is on Netflix, too). —Anne Rouyer, Mulberry Street



Adventure Time always put me in a great mood.  Just a boy and a dog having adventures in the post-apocalyptic Land of Ooo.  Also, this: I’m a Buff Baby—Susen Shi, Seward Park






stevenThis cartoon fan has recently discovered Steven Universe! Being the first show on Cartoon Network with a female creator, featuring a brilliant superhero/science-fiction plot with a cast full of powerful female characters is pretty awesome all on its own. But I’ve been watching clips of this show with my kids, and we all love to watch and sing along to it together. There’s just something about this cartoon that brings out the kid in me! —Stephanie Whelan, Seward Park


worstBeing a native New Yorker, there isn’t much incentive to cook with all the delicious cuisines this city has to offer, so I generally do not get much practice. Because of this, one of my guilty pleasures that brings me joy is Worst Cooks In America on the Food Network, hosted by Anne Burrell. After watching, I can see that although I do not cook as often as I should, I am not completely inept in the culinary department. I enjoy watching the contestants’ journeys from being one of the worst cooks in America to becoming fully capable individuals in the kitchen, and I learn some tips and tricks along the way as well. —Sandra Farag, Mid-Manhattan


I went apple-picking over the weekend, and I’ve gone into full on baking mode now that the weather is cooling down. Besides foodgawker, I’m getting my inspiration from The Apple Cookbook, An Apple Harvest, and The Apple Lover’s Cookbook. —Susen Shi, Seward Park





I’ve really been enjoying rewatching Julia and Jacques: Cooking at Home, a cooking series featuring culinary superstars Julia Child and Jacques Pépin. Each episode, they team up to make the same dishes, each using their own technique. Sometimes they admire each other’s approach and sometimes they agree to disagree, but they are always very cute together. If you’re feeling ambitious, you can even check out their cookbook! —Susie Heimbach, Mulberry Street




Art and Design


I know adult coloring is all the rage now, but my hobby is doing collage. I find it really takes me out of my own head and is very relaxing.  I love getting glue on my fingers like I did as a kid, and I love the idea of creating something new out of something old.  I use the books Collage Lab and Masters: Collage for inspiration. —Ronni Krasnow, Morningside Heights



interiorsI look forward to the happy arrival of The World of Interiors magazine each month at Mid-Manhattan Library. From country houses with tangled gardens to typography studios, there is a comfortable elegance to the whole thing. It is perfect for scrapbooking design elements for, or just fantasizing about, my dream home. —Jessica Cline, Mid-Manhattan




artSomething that made me happy this week was seeing a painting show by a woman named Dana Schutz at Petzel Gallery called Fight in an Elevator. This woman is the real deal. If I were a painter I may have thrown down my brushes.  Her work is bold and confident, a bit aggressive and full of vivid humanity.  ​Many of the paintings are large scale assemblies of a scene at the beach or in an airport or an elevator. They want to leap of the gallery wall and burst out of their canvases. Open until Oct. 24; not to be missed. —Lynn Lobash, Readers Services





lionI’ve been really happy lately to have NYPL Interlibrary Loan at my fingertips. I like tracking down hard-to-find books like Dharma Punx or Notes To Myself, and early aughts music like the wonderful collaboration between Vic Chesnutt and Elf Power. It’s such a gift to hold material from libraries all over the country and think about the journey it has taken to get to you. Lately, more patrons have been using ILL, which also makes me quite happy! —Charlie Radin, Inwood




nprNPR!!! Because I believe in stereotypes. Just kidding… except in the case of librarians listening to NPR. :) —Michael Rios, Bronx Library Center


Fun Online

fullFull House Reviewed has been around for five years now, but it’s batting a cool 1.000 for me whenever I need something to lift my spirits. For the uninitiated, it’s a pretty simple concept: A guy who absolutely hates the late-1980s/early-1990s TV show Full House decided to write detailed, highly acerbic commentary of every episode in chronological order (my advice: start at the beginning).The results are really funny and might make you a little nostalgic for what is—in the cold, harsh light of 2015—a mindbogglingly awful television show. Good thing Fuller House arrives from Netflix in 2016? —Brian Stokes, Jefferson Market

runningI’m currently obsessed with the Korean variety show Running Man, which can be watched for free with English subtitles online, or you can start with episode 1 on its YouTube channel. If you’re interested to watch without subtitles, perhaps we should learn Korean with Mango Languages, available for free with an NYPL card. Leslie Bernstein, Mott Haven

mangoAnd the best promo for a database award goes to... Leslie, for promoting Mango Languages! To add to that, in case you didn’t know, Mango also offers “Spanish for Librarians.” —Dawn Collins, Wakefield

Happinesses that Defy Categorization


A double-dose of happiness came my way this weekend, when I finished Neil Gaiman’s The Ocean at the End of the Lane and had the great fortune to see Justin Vivian Bond at Joe’s Pub. Both experiences managed to give me a better feeling about life and provided a truckload of hope. I guess encounters with creative geniuses and their work can do that for a person! —Jeff Katz, Chatham Square






Two things: The first is John Scalzi’s Redshirts. Ensign Andrew Dahl is thrilled to be assigned to the fleet flagship, the Intrepid. He is not so thrilled when he discovers a sinister pattern in away team deaths. I grinned ear-to-ear at this Trek takedown, which turned into a pretty good sci-fi novel in its own right. The second little slice of happiness was brought to me courtesy of Star Wars. My older son had asked to watch The Phantom Menace, took one look at Jar Jar and said, “Dad, ANYTHING but this!” We proceeded to watch the original while I swelled with pride because my son is a Star Wars snob. No special editions or prequels for him. Han shoots first. —Joshua Soule, Spuyten Duyvil



wiiI just got a copy of “Super Smash Bros” for the Wii U and it’s fantastic. Now you can have eight players fighting at the same time, which is pure (semi-controlled) chaos and clears the mind nicely after a day of work. —Arieh Ress, Mid-Manhattan



swedenThe beautiful city of Stockholm always makes me happy, and on a visit there last month, I had the added pleasure of discovering a new art museum in a spectacular natural setting on an island in the nearby archipelago. Because of its location on a wild stretch of shoreline there, it is called Artipelag. You can read the fascinating story of the museum and its founders in The New York Times. I also love theater, and Stockholm’s Royal Dramatic Theater increased my happiness quotient during my week in town with two challenging productions of classic plays by Schiller and Ibsen. —Kathie Coblentz, Rare Materials


Three things made me happy this week. I read Leaving Time by Jodi Picoult and was blown away by the surprise ending. I watched Woman in Gold with Helen Mirren and was humbled to see the future giving justice to the past. I watched Cinderella, the theatrical film released in 2015, and felt its magic. Then I realized what those three different things—a murder mystery, a Holocaust story, and a fairy tale—had in common: love. A mother’s love, a daughter’s love, a love of life that relies on having courage and being kind. Each brought me happy tears. Lois M. Moore, Mid-Manhattan




Staff picks are chosen by NYPL staff members and are not intended to be comprehensive lists. We'd love to hear your ideas too, so leave a comment and tell us what you’d recommend.

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