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 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


It's good to meet you! I started Tolstoy Therapy back in 2012 to share my healing journey through anxiety and PTSD with books. I also climb mountains, go on solo adventures, and write over at livewildly.co.

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