Time for another round of Yvo’s Shorties! This time around a TBR jar pick and a Christmas themed read… The Elephant Vanishes has confirmed me that his writing style simply isn’t for me, but The Gift Of Happiness was great fun despite a few flaws.

Title: The Elephant Vanishes
Author: Haruki Murakami

Genre: Fiction, Contemporary
First published: March 1993
Publisher: Vintage
Finished reading: December 11th 2020
Pages: 336
(Originally written in Japanese: ‘象の消滅 短篇選集’)

“I realize now that the reality of things is not something you convey to people but something you make.”


I’ve been meaning to try Haruki Murakami’s writing for quite some time now… I tried Norwegian Wood years ago, but wasn’t able to connect to the writing back then and decided to put it on hold. My shiny new TBR jar thought it was time to try some of his short stories instead, and that’s how I ended up reading The Elephant Vanishes first. It’s true that I’m not that big of a fan of short stories in general, but I think his writing does work better this way. I don’t think that I actually enjoyed the stories; they were just too strange and without real purpose or ending, but in short doses I could appreciate what he was trying to do with these stories. The Elephant Vanishes isn’t for everyone, although I’m sure the right person will love these unique pieces of fiction with a magical realism touch. His writing is quite accessible too despite the magical realism, with easy to understand daily life descriptions mixed in with the surreal. Is his writing for me? After two tries, I don’t believe it is. Will I be reading more of his work soon? Probably not… But I’m glad I finally did have the time to get to know his writing style better.

Title: The Gift Of Happiness
(The Happiness #2)
Author: Holly Martin

Genre: Contemporary, Romance
First published: October 10th 2019
Publisher: Sunshine, Seaside & Sparkles
Finished reading: December 12th 2020
Pages: 262

“You can’t not fall in love because it’s inconvenient. The heart doesn’t work like that. It falls in love without permission.”


I made a promise to myself to not be a Grinch and read a few Christmas reads this year, and The Gift Of Happiness was one of them. I was looking for something sweet and uplifting, and you definitely get an overdose of Christmas cheer with this story! I didn’t realize it was actually a sequel, but I can now confirm this story can be read perfectly well as a stand-alone too as the characters are introduced properly and you can guess their background and dynamics easily. I had a few minor issues with this story, mostly relating to the constant repeating of Ruby not wanting a relationship and the steamy scenes, but overall I still found this to be a very cute Christmas read. The village of Happiness most definitely sounds like THE Christmas village to be if you love Christmas! I really liked reading about the community spirit and how the different characters complemented Ruby and Jacob. If you are looking for an uplifting Christmas romance, this is a great pick.

I have now run out of Christmas themed books to read and I’m looking for more… Which titles/authors would you recommend for feel-good Christmas reads?

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