11 Feel-Good Books to lift your spirits
A book list by Onset & Rime.
Days are short and getting shorter. We've got months of cold to look forward to. And COVID-19 is not going anywhere any time soon.
So we self-soothe by curling up under a blanket with a cup of tea or coffee, a candle burning, and a good book in hand.
To help you find the perfect story to lift your spirits, we've created this list of 11 feel-good books. Take a look and let us know if there's any you'd like to add! We can't get enough of these.
A Note: Content warnings have been provided where appropriate. Highlight the "invisible" text beside the content warning label to see. Content warnings are not value statements about the books or judgements about the inclusion of any particular content. They are there to give you a heads up on what to be prepared for so you can choose if and/or when a book is right for you.
Meet 69-year-old Arthur Pepper. He lives a simple life of regimented routine, but that changes on the first anniversary of his wife’s death. He finds a charm bracelet he’s never seen before among her possessions. Curious about what the bracelet and its charms mean, he breaks out of his routine and starts on an adventure to find out.
2) ANXIOUS PEOPLE by Fredrik Backman
A funny but poignant story about a failed bank robbery gone right. When the failed robber flees into a nearby apartment, an open house turns into a hostage situation. As the pressure builds, everyone in the apartment begins to open up to each other and long-hidden truths are revealed.
Content warning: suicidal ideation
3) ANNE OF GREEN GABLES by L.M. Montgomery
Elderly siblings Marilla and Matthew Cuthbert decide to adopt a young boy to help around their farm. Instead they get Anne Shirley, an impetuous girl with an enormous imagination. The Cuthberts intend to send her back, but Anne begins to charm her way into their hearts...
Content warning: corporal punishment of minors
4) A CHRISTMAS CAROL by Charles Dickens
Bitter, curmudgeonly Ebenezer Scrooge cares not for family, love, or Christmas. But a visit from the ghost of his former partner initiates a series of ghostly visits that challenge him to reassess his life.
In London during World War II, Emmeline Lake, known to her friends as Emmy, dreams of becoming a Lady War Correspondent. One day she spots a job advertisement in the paper and leaps at the opportunity. Unfortunately, Emmy has misunderstood the nature of the opportunity and finds herself assisting an advice columnist for a ladies’ magazine; she reads the letters and rejects any that fall under her boss’s long, long list of taboo topics. Moved by the plights of the women sending the letters, Emmy begins to secretly write back.
6) THE HOUSE IN THE CERULEAN SEA by T.J. Klune
An enchanting story about the magic of found family. Linus Baker is a by-the-books Case Worker at the Department in Charge of Magical Youth, assessing government-sanctioned orphanages. One day, Extremely Upper Management gives him a highly classified assignment at an orphanage that houses the most dangerous magical children. This visit will challenge everything Linus thinks he knows about the world, and about himself.
Content warning: references to child abuse, prejudice/hatred
7) THE HUMANS by Matt Haig
Professor Andrew Martin isn’t himself. Literally. An alien from the planet Vonnadoria has taken his place. Sent to Earth to destroy any evidence that Andrew had solved a life altering mathematical problem, the alien begins to learn more about the professor, his family, and humans than he ever expected. When he begins to fall in love with his life on Earth he will have to choose between his mission and the new life he’s found.
Content warning: suicidal ideation
8) WITH THE FIRE ON HIGH by Elizabeth Acevedo
After becoming pregnant in her freshman year, Emoni Santiago has made a lot of difficult decisions; doing what she has to for her daughter and her abuela. The only time she can let go is when she flexes her culinary skills. She dreams of working as a chef after graduation but is unsure if her responsibilities will allow for it. When her high school offers a new Culinary Arts elective Emoni gets the chance to find out.
Content warning: racism
9) THE BLACK FLAMINGO by Dean Atta
This is a coming-of-age novel written in verse. Michael is half Jamaican, half Greek, and he’s just trying to find his place in the world. We follow Michael from boyhood to the threshold of adulthood as he navigates his identity and emerging sexuality. Witness the birth of the Black Flamingo.
Content warning: homophobia, racism, physical abuse
10) THE PHANTOM TOLLBOOTH by Norton Juster
Milo is bored. He thinks everything is a waste of time. One day he receives a magic tollbooth and a mysterious map. He drives his toy car through the tollbooth and finds himself in the Lands Beyond, a world where the Kingdom of Wisdom is in trouble. Milo, along with a few new friends, goes on a quest to mend the kingdom and along the way discovers that life is far from boring.
11) FINN FAMILY MOOMINTROLL by Tove Jansson
It’s the first day of spring and the Moomins awaken from hibernation ready for adventure. Moomintroll and his friends Sniff and Snufkin find the Hobgoblin’s hat. This is no ordinary hat; it has the power of transformation! Of course, when you put something in, you never really know what you’ll get out! *cue hijinks*