50 Best Uplifting, Feel-Good Books to Read

uplifting, life-affirming, feel-good books

Sometimes, you just want a feel-good book that will lift up your sprits. Lately, I’ve definitely been leaning hard toward happier, more life-affirming books and even if they may toe the line at being a bit saccharine at times. I guess I just really think it’s good for you to clear your mind and enjoy these wonderful, uplifting novels every once in a while.

This is a list of the 50 Best Uplifting & Life-Affirming “Feel-Good” Books to Read! This list covers books released at any time, but there’s a slight preference for newer titles. I hope you enjoy them, and if you have one that you personally love that’s not on this list, please drop a comment below!

The Flatshare
Beth O'Leary

What It's About: Tiffy and Leon share a flat
Tiffy and Leon share a bed
Tiffy and Leon have never met…

Tiffy Moore needs a cheap flat, and fast. Leon Twomey works nights and needs cash. Their friends think they’re crazy, but it’s the perfect solution: Leon occupies the one-bed flat while Tiffy’s at work in the day, and she has the run of the place the rest of the time...

Publication Date: April 10, 2019
romance contemporary physical tbr

Writers & Lovers
Lily King

What It's About: Following the breakout success of her critically acclaimed and award-winning novel Euphoria, Lily King returns with an unforgettable portrait of an artist as a young woman.

Blindsided by her mother's sudden death, and wrecked by a recent love affair, Casey Peabody has arrived in Massachusetts in the summer of 1997 without a plan...

Publication Date: March 3, 2020
contemporary romance physical tbr

The House in the Cerulean Sea
TJ Klune

What It's About: Linus Baker is a by-the-book case worker in the Department in Charge of Magical Youth. He's tasked with determining whether six dangerous magical children are likely to bring about the end of the world.

Arthur Parnassus is the master of the orphanage. He would do anything to keep the children safe, even if it means the world will burn...

Publication Date: March 16, 2020
fantasy lgbtq romance

The Midnight Library
Matt Haig

What It's About: Somewhere out beyond the edge of the universe there is a library that contains an infinite number of books, each one the story of another reality. One tells the story of your life as it is, along with another book for the other life you could have lived if you had made a different choice at any point in your life...

See the Full Summary and Review of The Midnight Library

Publication Date: August 13, 2020
fantasy book club physical tbr

The Giver of Stars
Jojo Moyes

What It's About: From the author of Me Before You, set in Depression-era America, a breathtaking story of five extraordinary women and their remarkable journey through the mountains of Kentucky and beyond.

Alice Wright marries handsome American Bennett Van Cleve hoping to escape her stifling life in England...

See the Full Summary and Review of The Giver of Stars

Publication Date: October 3, 2019
historical fiction book club audiobook

Where the Heart Is
Billie Letts

What It's About: Talk about unlucky sevens. An hour ago, seventeen-year-old, seven months pregnant Novalee Nation was heading for California with her boyfriend. Now she finds herself stranded at a Wal-Mart in Sequoyah, Oklahoma, with just $7.77 in change. But Novalee is about to discover hidden treasures in this small Southwest town--a group of down-to-earth, deeply caring people willing to help a homeless, jobless girl living secretly in a Wal-Mart...

Publication Date: January 1, 1995
chick lit romance books i own

The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants
Ann Brashares

What It's About: Carmen got the jeans at a thrift shop. They didn’t look all that great: they were worn, dirty, and speckled with bleach. On the night before she and her friends part for the summer, Carmen decides to toss them.

But Tibby says they’re great. She'd love to have them. Lena and Bridget also think they’re fabulous...

Publication Date: September 11, 2001
chick lit books i own contemporary

Anxious People
Fredrik Backman

What It's About: A poignant, charming novel about a crime that never took place, a would-be bank robber who disappears into thin air, and eight extremely anxious strangers who find they have more in common than they ever imagined

Looking at real estate isn't usually a life-or-death situation, but an apartment open house becomes just that when a failed bank robber bursts in and takes a group of strangers hostage...

See the Full Summary and Review of Anxious People

Publication Date: April 25, 2019
book club contemporary audiobook

A Man Called Ove
Fredrik Backman

What It's About: A grumpy yet loveable man finds his solitary world turned on its head when a boisterous young family moves in next door.

Meet Ove. He's a curmudgeon, the kind of man who points at people he dislikes as if they were burglars caught outside his bedroom window. He has staunch principles, strict routines, and a short fuse...

See the Full Summary and Review of A Man Called Ove

Publication Date: August 27, 2012
book club contemporary audiobook

The Help
Kathryn Stockett

What It's About: The wildly popular New York Times bestseller and reading group favorite. Aibileen is a black maid in 1962 Jackson, Mississippi, who's always taken orders quietly, but lately she's unable to hold her bitterness back. Her friend Minny has never held her tongue but now must somehow keep secrets about her employer that leave her speechless...

Publication Date: February 10, 2009
historical fiction book club books i own

The Rosie Project
Graeme Simsion

What It's About: An international sensation, this hilarious, feel-good novel is narrated by an oddly charming and socially challenged genetics professor on an unusual quest: to find out if he is capable of true love.

Don Tillman, professor of genetics, has never been on a second date. He is a man who can count all his friends on the fingers of one hand, whose lifelong difficulty with social rituals has convinced him that he is simply not wired for romance...

See the Full Summary and Review of The Rosie Project

Publication Date: January 30, 2013
book club contemporary humor

The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek
Kim Michele Richardson

What It's About: The hardscrabble folks of Troublesome Creek have to scrap for everything--everything except books, that is. Thanks to Roosevelt's Kentucky Pack Horse Library Project, Troublesome's got its very own traveling librarian, Cussy Mary Carter.

Cussy's not only a book woman, however, she's also the last of her kind, her skin a shade of blue unlike most anyone else...

Publication Date: May 7, 2019
historical fiction book club audiobook

Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine
Gail Honeyman

What It's About: No one’s ever told Eleanor that life should be better than fine

Meet Eleanor Oliphant: she struggles with appropriate social skills and tends to say exactly what she’s thinking. Nothing is missing in her carefully timetabled life of avoiding unnecessary human contact, where weekends are punctuated by frozen pizza, vodka, and phone chats with Mummy...

See the Full Summary and Review of Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine

Publication Date: May 9, 2017
book club contemporary audiobook

The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry
Gabrielle Zevin

What It's About: On the faded Island Books sign hanging over the porch of the Victorian cottage is the motto “No Man Is an Island; Every Book Is a World.” A. J. Fikry, the irascible owner, is about to discover just what that truly means.

A. J. Fikry’s life is not at all what he expected it to be. His wife has died, his bookstore is experiencing the worst sales in its history, and now his prized possession, a rare collection of Poe poems, has been stolen...

See the Full Summary and Review of The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry

Publication Date: April 1, 2014
book club contemporary books about books

Evvie Drake Starts Over
Linda Holmes

What It's About: In a sleepy seaside town in Maine, recently widowed Eveleth “Evvie” Drake rarely leaves her large, painfully empty house nearly a year after her husband’s death in a car crash. Everyone in town, even her best friend, Andy, thinks grief keeps her locked inside, and Evvie doesn’t correct them.

Meanwhile, in New York City, Dean Tenney, former Major League pitcher and Andy’s childhood best friend, is wrestling with what miserable athletes living out their worst nightmares call the “yips”: he can’t throw straight anymore, and, even worse, he can’t figure out why...

Publication Date: June 25, 2019
romance contemporary audiobook

Ella Minnow Pea: A Novel in Letters
Mark Dunn

What It's About: Ella Minnow Pea is a girl living happily on the fictional island of Nollop off the coast of South Carolina. Nollop was named after Nevin Nollop, author of the immortal pangram,* "The quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog." Now Ella finds herself acting to save her friends, family, and fellow citizens from the encroaching totalitarianism of the island's Council, which has banned the use of certain letters of the alphabet as they fall from a memorial statue of Nevin Nollop...

Publication Date: October 1, 2001
book club fantasy epistolary

The Little Book of Hygge: The Danish Way to Live Well
Meik Wiking

What It's About: Hygge has been described as everything from "cosines of the soul" to "the pursuit of everyday pleasures". The Little Book of Hygge is the book we all need right now, and is guaranteed to bring warmth and comfort to you and your loved ones this winter.

Hooga? Hhyooguh? Heurgh? It is not really important how you choose to pronounce 'hygge'...

Publication Date: September 1, 2016
non fiction self help audiobook

The Last Lecture
Randy Pausch

What It's About: A lot of professors give talks titled 'The Last Lecture'. Professors are asked to consider their demise and to ruminate on what matters most to them: What wisdom would we impart to the world if we knew it was our last chance? If we had to vanish tomorrow, what would we want as our legacy?

When Randy Pausch, a computer science professor at Carnegie Mellon, was asked to give such a lecture, he didn't have to imagine it as his last, since he had recently been diagnosed with terminal cancer...

Publication Date: April 8, 2008
non fiction memoir biography

Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore
Robin Sloan

What It's About: Global conspiracy, complex code-breaking, high-tech data visualization, young love, the secret to eternal life. Mostly in a hole-in-the-wall San Francisco bookstore.

Clay Jannon tells how serendipity, sheer curiosity, and the ability to climb a ladder like a monkey has sent him from Web Drone to night shift at Mr...

See the Full Summary and Review of Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore

Publication Date: September 26, 2012
mystery fantasy books about books

The 100-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out the Window and Disappeared
Jonas Jonasson

What It's About: It all starts on the one-hundredth birthday of Allan Karlsson. Sitting quietly in his room in an old people’s home, he is waiting for the party he-never-wanted-anyway to begin. The Mayor is going to be there. The press is going to be there. But, as it turns out, Allan is not… Slowly but surely Allan climbs out of his bedroom window, into the flowerbed (in his slippers) and makes his getaway...

See the Full Summary and Review of The 100-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out the Window and Disappeared

Publication Date: September 9, 2009
book club contemporary books i own

The Keeper of Lost Things
Ruth Hogan

What It's About: A charming, clever, and quietly moving debut novel of endless possibilities and joyful discoveries that explores the promises we make and break, losing and finding ourselves, the objects that hold magic and meaning for our lives, and the surprising connections that bind us.

Lime green plastic flower-shaped hair bobbles—Found, on the playing field, Derrywood Park, 2nd September...

Publication Date: February 21, 2017
book club contemporary fantasy

Furiously Happy: A Funny Book About Horrible Things
Jenny Lawson

What It's About: #1 New York Times Bestseller

In Furiously Happy, a humor memoir tinged with just enough tragedy and pathos to make it worthwhile, Jenny Lawson examines her own experience with severe depression and a host of other conditions, and explains how it has led her to live life to the fullest:

"I've often thought that people with severe depression have developed such a well for experiencing extreme emotion that they might be able to experience extreme joy in a way that ‘normal people' also might never understand...

Publication Date: September 22, 2015
non fiction memoir audiobook

One Day in December
Josie Silver

What It's About: A love story about what happens after you meet, or rather, don't meet the one.

Laurie is pretty sure love at first sight doesn't exist anywhere but the movies. But then, through a misted-up bus window one snowy December day, she sees a man who she knows instantly is the one. Their eyes meet, there's a moment of pure magic...

Publication Date: October 18, 2018
romance christmas contemporary

The Secret Life of Bees
Sue Monk Kidd

What It's About: Set in South Carolina in 1964, The Secret Life of Bees tells the story of Lily Owens, whose life has been shaped around the blurred memory of the afternoon her mother was killed. When Lily's fierce-hearted black "stand-in mother," Rosaleen, insults three of the deepest racists in town, Lily decides to spring them both free...

Publication Date: November 8, 2001
historical fiction book club books i own

The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry
Rachel Joyce

What It's About: Meet Harold Fry, recently retired. He lives in a small English village with his wife, Maureen, who seems irritated by almost everything he does, even down to how he butters his toast. Little differentiates one day from the next. Then one morning the mail arrives, and within the stack of quotidian minutiae is a letter addressed to Harold in a shaky scrawl from a woman he hasn't seen or heard from in twenty years...

Publication Date: March 15, 2012
book club contemporary audiobook

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Society
Mary Ann Shaffer

What It's About: A remarkable tale of the island of Guernsey during the German Occupation, and of a society as extraordinary as its name.

“Treat yourself to this book, please - I can’t recommend it highly enough.” (Elizabeth Gilbert, author of Eat, Pray, Love)

“I wonder how the book got to Guernsey? Perhaps there is some sort of secret homing instinct in books that brings them to their perfect readers...

Publication Date: July 29, 2008
historical fiction book club romance

Where'd You Go Bernadette
Maria Semple

What It's About: Bernadette Fox has vanished.

When her daughter Bee claims a family trip to Antarctica as a reward for perfect grades, Bernadette, a fiercely intelligent shut-in, throws herself into preparations for the trip. But worn down by years of trying to live the Seattle life she never wanted, Ms. Fox is on the brink of a meltdown...

See the Full Summary and Review of Where'd You Go Bernadette

Publication Date: August 14, 2012
book club contemporary humor

The Lido
Libby Page

What It's About: A tender, joyous debut novel about a cub reporter and her eighty-six-year-old subject—and the unlikely and life-changing friendship that develops between them.

Kate is a twenty-six-year-old riddled with anxiety and panic attacks who works for a local paper in Brixton, London, covering forgettably small stories...

Publication Date: April 19, 2018
contemporary book club tbr

The Sugar Queen
Sarah Addison Allen

What It's About: NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • In this irresistible novel, Sarah Addison Allen, author of the bestselling debut, Garden Spells, tells the tale of a young woman whose family secrets—and secret passions—are about to change her life forever.

Josey Cirrini is sure of three winter is her favorite season, she’s a sorry excuse for a Southern belle, and sweets are best eaten in the privacy of her closet...

Publication Date: May 20, 2008
magical realism romance fantasy

Summer Hours at the Robbers Library
Sue Halpern

What It's About: From journalist and author Sue Halpern comes a wry, observant look at contemporary life and its refugees.  Halpern’s novel is an unforgettable tale of family...the kind you come from and the kind you create.People are drawn to libraries for all kinds of reasons. Most come for the books themselves, of course; some come to borrow companionship...

Publication Date: February 27, 2018
books about books contemporary audiobooks

A Tree Grows in Brooklyn
Betty Smith

What It's About: The beloved American classic about a young girl's coming-of-age at the turn of the century, Betty Smith's A Tree Grows in Brooklyn is a poignant and moving tale filled with compassion and cruelty, laughter and heartache, crowded with life and people and incident. The story of young, sensitive, and idealistic Francie Nolan and her bittersweet formative years in the slums of Williamsburg has enchanted and inspired millions of readers for more than sixty years...

Publication Date: August 18, 1943
classics historical fiction book club

Jane Austen

What It's About: The Vintage Classics Austen series is designed by the writer and illustrator Leanne Shapton and introduced by some of our finest contemporary writers and Austen fans: Alexander McCall Smith, Lynne Truss, Amanda Vickery, Francesca Segal, P.D. James and Andrew Motion.

'Jane Austen's Emma is her masterpiece, mixing the sparkle of her early books with a deep sensibility' Robert McCrum, Observer

Emma is young, rich and independent...

Publication Date: December 23, 1815
classics classic physical tbr

All Adults Here
Emma Straub

What It's About: When Astrid Strick witnesses a school bus accident in the center of town, it jostles loose a repressed memory from her young parenting days decades earlier. Suddenly, Astrid realizes she was not quite the parent she thought she’d been to her three, now-grown children. But to what consequence?

Astrid’s youngest son is drifting and unfocused, making parenting mistakes of his own...

Publication Date: May 4, 2020
contemporary audiobooks audiobook

Eat, Pray, Love
Elizabeth Gilbert

What It's About: A celebrated writer's irresistible, candid, and eloquent account of her pursuit of worldly pleasure, spiritual devotion, and what she really wanted out of life.

Around the time Elizabeth Gilbert turned thirty, she went through an early-onslaught midlife crisis. She had everything an educated, ambitious American woman was supposed to want—a husband, a house, a successful career...

Publication Date: February 16, 2006
non fiction memoir travel

The Little Paris Bookshop
Nina George

What It's About: Monsieur Perdu can prescribe the perfect book for a broken heart. But can he fix his own?
Monsieur Perdu calls himself a literary apothecary. From his floating bookstore in a barge on the Seine, he prescribes novels for the hardships of life. Using his intuitive feel for the exact book a reader needs, Perdu mends broken hearts and souls...

Publication Date: April 26, 2013
book club romance books about books

How the Penguins Saved Veronica
Hazel Prior

What It's About: A curmudgeonly but charming old woman, her estranged grandson, and a colony of penguins proves it's never too late to be the person you want to be in this rich, heartwarming story from the acclaimed author of Ellie and the Harpmaker.

Eighty-five-year-old Veronica McCreedy is estranged from her family and wants to find a worthwhile cause to leave her fortune to...

Publication Date: March 5, 2020
book club contemporary audiobook

Major Pettigrew's Last Stand
Helen Simonson

What It's About: You are about to travel to Edgecombe St. Mary, a small village in the English countryside filled with rolling hills, thatched cottages, and a cast of characters both hilariously original and as familiar as the members of your own family. Among them is Major Ernest Pettigrew (retired), the unlikely hero of Helen Simonson's wondrous debut...

Publication Date: March 2, 2010
book club romance contemporary

The Bookshop on the Corner
Jenny Colgan

What It's About: Nina Redmond is a literary matchmaker. Pairing a reader with that perfect book is her passion… and also her job. Or at least it was. Until yesterday, she was a librarian in the hectic city. But now the job she loved is no more.

Determined to make a new life for herself, Nina moves to a sleepy village many miles away...

Publication Date: February 11, 2016
romance books about books chick lit

Little Beach Street Bakery
Jenny Colgan

What It's About: For fans of Sophie Kinsella, Jojo Moyes, and Jennifer Weiner, a moving, laugh-out-loud novel—with recipes!—about a young woman who begins her life anew as a baker in Cornwall.Amid the ruins of her latest relationship, Polly Waterford moves far away to the sleepy seaside resort of Polbearne, where she lives in a small, lonely flat above an abandoned shop...

Publication Date: March 13, 2014
romance chick lit contemporary

The Readers of Broken Wheel Recommend
Katarina Bivald

What It's About: This is a book about books. All sorts of books, from Little Women and Harry Potter to Jodi Picoult and Jane Austen, from to Stieg Larsson to Joyce Carol Oates to Proust. It’s about the joy and pleasure of books, about learning from and escaping into them, and possibly even hiding behind them. It’s about whether or not books are better than real life...

Publication Date: September 4, 2013
books about books book club romance

The Authenticity Project
Clare Pooley

What It's About: The story of a solitary green notebook that brings together six strangers and leads to unexpected friendship, and even love

Julian Jessop, an eccentric, lonely artist and septuagenarian believes that most people aren't really honest with each other. But what if they were? And so he writes--in a plain, green journal--the truth about his own life and leaves it in his local café...

Publication Date: February 4, 2020
book club contemporary romance

Marley and Me: Life and Love With the World's Worst Dog
John Grogan

What It's About: John and Jenny were young and deeply in love, with a perfect little house and not a care in the world. Then they brought home Marley, a wiggly yellow furball of a puppy. Life would never be the same.

Marley quickly grew into an uncontrollable ninety-seven-pound steamroller of a Labrador retriever...

Publication Date: November 1, 2005
non fiction memoir animals

To All the Boys I've Loved Before
Jenny Han

What It's About: Lara Jean’s love life gets complicated in this New York Times bestselling “lovely, lighthearted romance” from the New York Times bestselling author of The Summer I Turned Pretty series.

What if all the crushes you ever had found out how you felt about them… all at once?

Sixteen-year-old Lara Jean Song keeps her love letters in a hatbox her mother gave her...

Publication Date: April 15, 2014
romance contemporary books i own

The Graveyard Book
Neil Gaiman

What It's About: Nobody Owens, known to his friends as Bod, is a perfectly normal boy. Well, he would be perfectly normal if he didn't live in a graveyard, being raised and educated by ghosts, with a solitary guardian who belongs to neither the world of the living nor the world of the dead.

There are dangers and adventures for Bod in the graveyard: the strange and terrible menace of the Sleer; a gravestone entrance to a desert that leads to the city of ghouls; friendship with a witch, and so much more...

Publication Date: September 30, 2008
young adult horror middle grade

The Wedding Date
Jasmine Guillory

What It's About: On the eve of his ex's wedding festivities, Drew Nichols is minus a plus one. Until a power outage strands him with the perfect candidate for a fake girlfriend... Agreeing to go to a wedding with a guy she gets stuck with in an elevator is not something Alexa Monroe would normally do. But Drew's proposal proves hard to resist...

Publication Date: January 30, 2018
romance contemporary dnf

uplifting, life-affirming, feel-good books

uplifting, life-affirming, feel-good books

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