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 feel-good book list fit this category of classic novels – the brilliant Three Men in a Boat as one, another being All Creatures Great and Small – but here are a few more favourites.
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?
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