I took a few minutes out of my day to collect my fave feel good books. I’m not saying these are books you need to read – just books I’ve found that can pick me up when I’m feeling a little down. Sometimes, escaping into another reality is exactly what we need. Throughout history, we as humans have turned to stories for comfort. Back before we were penning out page upon page of fiction, we were telling stories around fires, passing each one down to our children and watching them change and grow across generations.
Even now, we love a good story to occupy our mind: we turn to the movies for a night out, Netflix for a cozy night in, and in the good old days, a Vine video for a quick laugh. The diversification of the media we consume will probably never end.
Over time, there’s always one tried-and-true storyteller we always find our way back to: books.
Feel Good Books
It’s hard to explain why books are so comforting. Maybe it’s the silence surrounding you while you still get to experience another world. Possibly it’s the vivid way you paint what you’re reading in your mind, guided by the writer yet having complete control. Maybe it’s even the smell of the pages. Whatever it is, books are powerful soothers.
And if you’re living in the world we’re all living in right now, you could likely use a little extra comfort. You will enjoy these feel good books!
Sourdough by Robin Sloan
Oh, the simplicity of early COVID quarantine, where we all made bread and caused a flour shortage. I couldn’t help but add this silly tale of a hard-working, white collar woman who finds herself submerged in the wheaty world of bread. They first meet when she regularly visits a sandwich shop after work, seeking comfort from her fast-paced life in the form of a sandwich.
Suddenly, the store closes, leaving her feeling lost. Yet somehow, she finds the starter for her favourite sourdough in her hands, with all the responsibility of carrying its legacy. No spoilers, but Sourdough by Robin Sloan definitely doesn’t have a crumby ending.
Beloved Dog by Maira Kalman
What’s better than dogs? Well, nothing of course. But hand-drawn cartoons that capture the energy of dogs? A witty, expressive author giving each of her favourite dogs their own voices? I could flip through Beloved Dog by Maira Kalman for hours.
The Magic Strings of Frankie Pesto by Mitch Albom
I love a book that connect fiction with history, and if you do too, this is a great one to get into. It follows a young orphan from Spain who also happens to be an insanely talented guitar player. After traversing the Atlantic in the bottom of a boat, with nothing but his instrument, this feel good book follows the journey his talent takes him on – and even sprinkles in some real musicians! If you love rock‘n’roll, The Magic Strings of Frankie Pesto by Mitch Albom is one of the feel good books you need to read.
Pretend I’m Dead by Jen Beagin
Dark comedies are great in times like these. Slightly relatable, yet enough to tickle your ribs and make you laugh at your pain. About a 24 year old who seems to come in contact with every sort of person there is, the main character tries to find her way through adulthood and self-acceptance – while paying her bills along the way. Addicts, psychics, and a quaint small town are all on that path, and they truly do not disappoint. Pretend I’m Dead by Jen Beagin is not your typical feel good book, but sometimes it’s nice to try something new!
I Wanna Be Where You Are by Kristina Forest
If you’re into ballet and a strong female lead, this is a book you need to read (hey poetry! Didn’t see you there). It’s got an aspiring ballerina, a secret cross-country journey, and even a scruffy dog. You’ll be extra surprised to hear that an unlikely friendship unfolds along the way. If you’re looking to live vicariously at a time where we’re all stuck at home, check I Wanna Be Where You Are by Kristina Forest out!
The Great Pretenders by Laura Kalpakian
This isn’t one of those typical feel good books about Hollywood and stars. This one’s a little different. It’s all about Roxanne, a woman who, despite living in the 1950’s, is hellbent on making a career for herself. But not as a leading lady – as an agent.
And she does it well. Soon, though, she starts to bend the rules. She starts selling scripts for exiled writers under other frontrunner’s names. And finds herself in love with an African American – something more than frowned upon at the time. Her courage, determination, and sense of justice will keep you on the edge of your seat. The Great Pretenders by Laura Kalpakian is a great feel good read!
No One Can Pronounce My Name by Rakesh Satyal
A book about two separate Indian-American adults, living two separate lives, both trying to find light and joy in the midst of hard life changes. One by dressing in his sister’s saris, and one by writing paranormal love stories in secret. As if that’s not juicy enough on it’s own, the friendship that unfolds once their paths cross makes No One Can Pronounce My Name by Rakesh Satyal one book you need to read.
Hotel Pastis: A Novel of Provence by Peter Mayle
For those of us with a heavy case of wanderlust (hi!), this one will have you drooling. Leaving your white collar job? Moving across the world? And even a little reno and rehab to open a quaint hotel? I’m drooling just thinking about it.
When this former ad exec moves to the French countryside to do all the above, it naturally opens him up for a lot of new adventure. Love, jokes, and surprises all come as no surprise in this feel good book. Definitely add Hotel Pastis: A Novel of Provence by Peter Mayle to the list books you need to read.
Do you have any favourite feel good books I should add to my list? Don’t forget to do that bookstagram with some book Instagram captions. Happy reading!