Bookish,  Lists,  Recommendations

Feel Good Books : Recommendations


What do you read after a book that wrecks you? A Little Life – I’m looking at you. And this type of book doesn’t have to be rainbows and sunshine; just a different range of emotions or a unique quality to the book.

My criteria:

  • Rich characters that aren’t always up to something sinister or awful.
  • Originality. Have you ever read a book and wondered how an author even came up with the idea for the book?
  • Mystery without the gore and with great twists of the plot.
  • A story of an ordinary family that overcomes ordinary family issues.
  • A story of redemption. The ending may not be fairytale perfect but you feel good about where the characters ended up.

Here are five of my favorite feel good books… in no particular order:

  1. Rules of Civility by Amor Towles – Set in the late 1930’s, this is a coming of age story set in New York City. The characters are so diverse, interesting, and each have their struggles which make each interesting to follow. The writing in this book is excellent and the constant descriptions of martinis inspired me to try my first dirty martini. Now, that’s good descriptive writing!
  2. Behind Her Eyes by Sarah Pinborough – This book falls into the mystery category. The twists are unbelievable and I’m usually pretty good at figuring them out ahead of time. Adele, one of the main characters, made my Top 10 Villain list.
  3. Hag-Seed by Margaret Atwood – Atwood creates a story of redemption through the arts with a production of Shakespeare’s The Tempest in a prison. There’s also a touch of sweet revenge.
  4. The Art of Mending by Elizabeth Berg – I read this book once a year. It’s about a family that appears functional on the surface but is anything but. As the plot develops, it’s so enjoyable to watch distant siblings come together.
  5. The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Mark Haddon – This is one of the most original books I have read. A 15-year-old boy on the autism spectrum investigates the death of his neighbor’s dog Sherlock Holmes-style while navigating life, school, and the world that he sees very different at times.

What are some of your feel good book recommendations?


  • Nobbinmaug

    The first thing that comes to mind is Joseph Heller’s Catch-22. Heller’s wit gets me every time.

    Th absurdity of John Kennedy Toole’s Conferderacy Of Dunces can provide levity.

    I don’t mean to shamelessly self-promote, but Norman Normalson & The Normals. My first read through of the last chapter of my second book made me laugh so hard I cried. I had tears running down my face. I wrote it and put ot away for a while and came back to it fresh. I forgot the non-stop barrage of ridiculousness I put in that chapter. I with that were a zone I could pit myself in at will when I write. It’s not promoting, since it’s not published and not available.

  • Nobbinmaug

    I forgot, I’m currently reading Ready Player One. Somehow, it’s both dystopian and fun. There’s such an onslaught of pop culture references, every chapter’s like a season of Family Guy.

    • jj3nkinson

      I LOVED Ready Player One. All the pop culture references were so much fun. I liked the movie as well but of course, not as much as the book.

      • Cindy Geiger

        The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Mark Haddon I could not agree more. The Broadway play based on this book is also amazing.
        My book club all loved The Nightingale esp the feel good parts.

      • jj3nkinson

        We missed the play when it came through Dallas and I was so disappointed. I’m sure it was amazing. I have GOT to read the Nightingale soon!

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