I’ve got my copy of A Treasury of Happiness now, the single volume collecting the eight Happiness Is gift books. Before I make any comment, though, I have to raise my “conflict of interest” flag – and not just my usual “I make money when people click the link and buy the books, so I have reason to encourage purchase” conflict. This book is published by Cider Mill Press, and I’ve been chatting with them about working with them on some projects. So keep that potential bias in mind.
The eight individual books that make up the Treasury
- Christmas Is Together Time
- Happiness is a Sad Song
- Happiness is a Warm Puppy
- Home is on Top of a Doghouse
- I Need All The Friends I Can Get
- Love is Walking Hand In Hand
- Security is a Thumb and a Blanket
are all worthwhile on their own for the Peanuts fan. Some are good, some are very good. But they’re each also a nice standalone object. There’s a reason that Happiness is a Warm Puppy basically invented the gift book. It’s a nice little self-contained experience. That’s something that’s missed with this omnibus. But in a way, this is a nice physical object. Where the individual books are thin little things, throw eight of them together on thick paper and you’ve got a brick of a book, a couple inches thick. Feels solid in the hand.
A few compromises have been made in putting together this format. Title pages are skipped, and there’s no other form of transition, so you’re reading a bunch of adages about happiness then bam! suddenly you’re in the midst of reading about security instead. I Need All The Friends I Can Get has a couple blank black pages inserted in it, presumably to make the page count work properly. Plus, the stiffness of the pages can make the book a bit uncomfortable for an easy read-through.
All in all, I’d say that if you want the full experience, get the original books – most affordably gotten in the nifty boxed set with the additional ninth book (the cookbook.) But if what you really want is the Peanuts content, then you can save about half that price (as well as saving shelf space!) by getting this handy all-in-one edition. With a cover price of about $20, that’s about $2.50 per volume of Schulzy goodness… and the current discount brings it under $2 a volume. That’s a good deal for material that you won’t be getting in the Complete Peanuts.
(Oh, and for those of you used to finding used copies of these books sans dust jackets: yes, this book has a dust jacket, and yes, it also has printed covers so that the book looks just fine without the dust jacket. In fact, since the bar code is on the dust jacket but not the book, it actually looks better without the jacket.)