Wednesday, 21 May 2014

15 Mood-boosting and Feel-good Books for Summer


We could all do with some mood-boosting and feel-good books to enjoy on balmy days over the summer. Including both classics and newer releases, here are some uplifting novels for 2014!

Kabul Beauty School as a feel-good book for Summer 2014
1. The Kabul Beauty School by Deborah Rodriguez

"Kabul Beauty School transcends the feel-good genre largely because of the author's superior storytelling gifts and wicked sense of humor" - New York Times


2. Little Beach Street Bakery by Jenny Colgan


I loved Fay's review of Little Beach Street Bakery on Blog a Book Etc, even though it seems completely different from what I normally choose to read.

Three Men in a Boat as a mood-boosting book for summer


3. Three Men in a Boat by Jerome K. Jerome


Don't be put-off by this book's classic status: this tale of a journey down the Thames (with a dog) will make you laugh as much as most modern fiction!


4. The Girl Who Saved the King of Sweden by Jonas Jonasson 


As the superb sequel to The Hundred-Year-Old Man, Jonas Jonnason doesn't disappoint with his second novel. It's not quite as magical as his first novel, but it's still lighthearted and mood-boosting fiction to keep you turning pages this summer.

Read The Rosie Project to lift low mood


5. The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion 


One of my favourite feel-good novels, The Rosie Project is ideal for cheering us up and feeling better about our own lives. Also, I'm incredibly excited that the sequel, The Rosie Effect, will be released this September.


6. The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry by Rachel Joyce


"When Harold Fry nips out one morning to post a letter, leaving his wife hoovering upstairs, he has no idea that he is about to walk from one end of the country to the other. He has no hiking boots or map, let alone a compass, waterproof or mobile phone. All he knows is that he must keep walking. To save someone else's life."

Pride and Prejudice as the ultimate feel-good fiction


7. Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen


On Twitter I asked if Pride and Prejudice was best suited to spring or summer, and the answer leaned towards spring. However, I think it's also the ultimate novel to read in the garden during warm summer days.


8. The Poets' Daughters: Dora Wordsworth and Sara Coleridge by Katie Waldegrave


"Drawing on a host of new sources, Katie Waldegrave tells the never-before-told story of how two young women, born into greatness, shaped their own legacies."


9. One Plus One by Jojo Moyes


"I want you to read this book, indeed to read all of Jojo Moyes' books, because they tell truths about modern life. If you're a sentient, empathic, living, breathing human I would urge you to give it a go" - The World Book Night book club


10. Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell


"Eleanor and Park is completely beautiful. Set in 1986 and full of retro pop culture references, it's a book I want to share with everyone. . . I don't think a single person could read this book and not have their heart melted." - ONCE UPON A BOOKCASE. Her newest novel, Landline, is also due for release this July.


11. The Grace of Crows by Tracy Shawn


This novel is a beautiful tale of one woman's journey to overcome her anxiety, and it really is a great choice if you'd to worry less and undergo a bit of self-transformation this summer.

Mr Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookshop as uplifting reading


12. Mr Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookshop by Robin Sloan 


For bookworms, summer reading isn't the same without a feel-good book about books! "Recession has shuffled Clay Jannon out of his life as a Web-design drone and serendipity coupled with sheer curiosity has landed him a new job working the night shift at Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore. And it doesn't take long for Clay to realize that the quiet, dusty book emporium is even more curious than the name suggests..."


13. Forgive Me, Leonard Peacock by Matthew Quick


"In this riveting and heart-breaking book, acclaimed author Matthew Quick introduces Leonard Peacock, a hero as warm and endearing as he is troubled. And he shows how just a glimmer of hope can make the world of difference."

The Yorkshire Shepherdess


14. The Yorkshire Shepherdess by Amanda Owen


"In The Yorkshire Shepherdess Amanda Owen describes how the rebellious girl from Huddersfield, who always wanted to be a shepherdess, achieved her dreams. Full of amusing anecdotes and unforgettable characters, the book takes us from fitting in with the locals to fitting in motherhood, from the demands of the livestock to the demands of raising a large family in such a rural backwater."


15. All Creatures Great and Small by James Herriot


One of my favourite collections of stories, this book never fails to bring me back to my countryside roots when I'm away from home. There are some truly funny anecdotes, alongside some very memorable characters.

Do you think I've missed anything? Share your recommendations for feel-good summer bibliotherapy in the comments!


Like more of the same? Subscribe to the Tolstoy Therapy Newsletter and receive a round-up of the week's articles every Sunday to enjoy with your coffee. Click here to subscribe or take a look at an example copy here.

6 comments:

Eleanor Baggley said...

Great list! I've been in the mood for uplifting books recently as I seem to have got stuck in a cycle of reading war books again. Which I love, but sometimes it can get a bit much! I'd have to add 84 Charing Cross Road by Helene Hanff and Where D'you Go Bernadette by Marie Semple - both made me feel brill.

Lindsay Healy said...

Thank you for all these lovely recommendations. I really need a list of books that are mood boosting and feel good to turn to because I read so much serious stuff. I loved Rosie Project and One Plus One.

Brian Joseph said...

By co - incidence I am in the middle of Pride and Prejudice right now. I think that it is a great choice for your list. One reason that I say so is that it seems (a say seems because I do not know how everything will work out yet) to be ultimately feel good, yet it also does not shirk from the dark, or at least grey side of life. To me, such realism is essential for a work to be truly mood lifting.

tolstoytherapy said...

Thank you Lindsay, I'm so glad you like my recommendations! I too am in need of some mood-boosting and light-hearted reading... something very like The Rosie Project (which I loved) would be ideal! Hope you're doing well.

tolstoytherapy said...

Thanks, Eleanor! Like you, I seem to get stuck in a cycle of reading heavy books...sometimes it takes a lot of effort to read something lighter! It's always worth it in the end though.


I'm so glad you mentioned those two novels... they're two of my favourites! I must read more by Maria Semple. Hope you're well and find some uplifting reading material you love!

tolstoytherapy said...

Brian, what a great interpretation of Pride and Prejudice! I completely agree with you, especially your point on the importance of realism.


I do hope you enjoy the rest of the novel - it's the perfect time of year for it, I think. I've been meaning to have a re-read the last few months!