Adult Books Nonfiction Reading Ruminations

[Saturday Reads] Pursuit of Happiness This Thanksgiving – A Maira Kalman Special


Myra here.

Every Saturday we hope to share with you our thoughts on reading and books. We thought that it would be good practice to reflect on our reading lives and our thoughts about reading in general. While on occasion, we would feature a few books in keeping with this, there would be a few posts where we will just write about our thoughts on read-alouds, libraries, reading journals, upcoming literary conferences, books that we are excited about, and just book love miscellany in general.


And The Pursuit Of Happiness

Written and Illustrated by: Maira Kalman
Published by: The Penguin Press, 2010
Book borrowed from the NIE Library. Book photos taken by me.

My family and friends in the US have just celebrated Thanksgiving a few days ago, and I thought that this is the perfect book to highlight American values and the pursuit of life, love, and happiness. This 471-paged illustrated book is Kalman’s tribute to American democracy, and the great thinkers as well as influential leaders who helped shape the American government to be the way it is now.


The book is divided into monthly sections from January (The Inauguration, At Last) to December (By George). Think of it as random musings interlinked with actual interviews, extensive research, and her astute observations about art, food, governance (even sanitation) war and peace.

Women in History

What I especially loved about this book is how Kalman featured so many powerful females who helped shape society’s sensibilities, aesthetics, and scientific thought.




America’s Leaders


Clearly Kalman is in love with Abraham Lincoln.

I was especially taken by Jefferson’s gorgeous home and his garden pavilion:


Jefferson was also quite the architect as he designed this beautiful room in a house near Monticello for his friend:


I could not stop looking at these two pages. Imagine living in such a gorgeous place with such a vista before you as you wake up in the morning – the privilege of open spaces and quiet and beauty.


Franklin was also heavily featured with Kalman enamoured by his genius and his capacity to do absolutely everything.


There was not one dull moment with this man who filled his days with work and reflection. See how structured he was – channeling his energies into something productive not just for himself but for the rest of humanity.

Musings about War

This is an extremely controversial issue right now, what with recent world events particularly in Europe and the Middle East, with people at odds regarding what constitutes peace and what needs to be done in order for us to attain it.




Where Is Happiness?

And then again, we go back to the original query about what constitutes happiness in this world:



Or perhaps happiness can be found in a slow-cooked egg in a wooden spoon against the fire:


I hope you all had a beautiful Thanksgiving celebration.

1 comment on “[Saturday Reads] Pursuit of Happiness This Thanksgiving – A Maira Kalman Special

  1. Love love love Maira — thanks for featuring this wonderful book!! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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