Thursday, 10 July 2014

18 of The Best Feel-Good Classic Novels (Mood-Boosting Summer Reading, Part II)

I really enjoyed compiling my list of feel-good novels to enjoy reading this summer, and it got me thinking about mood-boosting classic literature.

Perhaps 'classic literature' is a little hard to define, but hopefully these suggestions will help prove that mood-boosting books don't need to be modern and recently published. Even those books that frequently feature on school syllabuses can bring a smile, I believe!

Some novels in my original list fit this category - the brilliant Three Men in a Boat as one, another being All Creatures Great and Small  - but here are a few more favourites.

Feel-good classic literature for summer reading
Four of my favourite feel-good classics from James Herriot, Dickens, Laurie Lee and Nabokov.

The prospect Smiler was a manic farmer. Few men I think can have been as unfortunate as he; for on the one hand he was a melancholic with a loathing for mankind, on the other, some paralysis had twisted his mouth into a permanent and radiant smile. So everyone he met, being warmed by his smile, would shout him a happy greeting. And beaming upon them with his sunny face he would curse them all to hell.

Cider With Rosie, Laurie Lee


1. The Importance of Being Earnest - Oscar Wilde

2. Robinson Crusoe - Daniel Defoe

3. Lucky Jim - Kingsley Amis

4. The Chronicles of Narnia - C.S. Lewis

5. A Midsummer Night's Dream - William Shakespeare

6. Cider with Rosie - Laurie Lee

7. Agnes Grey - Anne Brontë

8. The Enchanted April - Elizabeth von Arnim

9. Franny and Zooey - J.D. Salinger

10. The Giving Tree - Shel Silverstein

11. I Capture the Castle - Dodie Smith

12. Pnin - Vladimir Nabokov

13. Right Ho, Jeeves - P.G. Wodehouse

14. To Kill a Mockingbird - Harper Lee

15. The Curious Case of Benjamin Button - F. Scott Fitzgerald

16. The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn - Mark Twain

17. The Pickwick Papers - Charles Dickens

18. Anne of Green Gables - L.M. Montgomery



Finally, 84, Charing Cross Road by Helene Hanff is another brilliant book to add - thank you to Eleanor, one of the wonderful readers of the blog, for reminding me of it in the first feel-good books post!

Which books do you think are missing?

Crying is all right in its way while it lasts. But you have to stop sooner or later, and then you still have to decide what to do.

The Silver Chair, C.S. Lewis


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.

4 comments:

David said...

Love some of your recommendations! Which edition of Crusoe would you recommend? I'm not so sure about Agnes Grey as comfort reading though...

bellezza said...

My best friend and I are rereading, for the 100th time, the Narnia Chronicles. Specifically, The Silver Chair. She knows C. S. Lewis so well she has whole passages memorized, and so I relish her input. This is a great list, and I, too, have loved I Capture The Castle,

bellezza said...

and Enchanted Castle. But, I dislike The Giving Tree very much. Very. I think it is wrong to give so much of yourself you have nothing left, even for love. But, that's just me.

Brian Joseph said...

Great list Lucy.

Thanks for including Huckleberry/ the moment when Huck says "I'll go to hell” is one of the most moving feel - good moments in all of literature.