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11 Feel-Good Books to Warm Your Spirits

By Stephanie Brown
Feel Good Books

These uplifting narratives will make you feel all warm and fuzzy inside.

Winter is just around the corner, and we know you’re on the lookout for the best feel-good books to keep you warm on the inside. That’s why we gathered our favorite uplifting fiction and nonfiction books to add to your sweater-weather TBR stack. So break out the flannel pajamas, pour yourself a mug of hot cocoa, and settle in for a heartwarming new read!

We Are the Brennans

By Tracey Lange

Tracey Lange’s acclaimed debut is proof that the best feel-good books don’t shy away from the messiness of life – they embrace it. We Are the Brennans follows Sunday Brennan as she returns to New York and her dysfunctional Irish Catholic family. After five lost years in Los Angeles, Sunday’s determined to pick up the pieces and patch things up with her loved ones. But as she tries to make amends and help her family’s struggling pub business, the entire Brennan clan must also reckon with charged family secrets and unresolved generational pain. Praised for its complex and engaging characters, Lange’s bestselling novel beautifully explores the enduring power of familial love in the face of secrets, betrayal, and regret.

The Nest

By Cynthia D’Aprix Sweeney

One of the runaway successes of 2016, Cynthia D’Aprix Sweeney’s The Nest is perfect for fans of heartwarming family dramas. When Leo Plumb’s reckless antics result in the draining of the Plumb family trust, his siblings panic over their now imperiled financial futures. While Leo desperately tries to remedy the mess he’s made, Jack, Bea, and Melody must confront their own past mistakes if they hope to find a path forward as a family. Resentments and estrangement give way to a newfound closeness and understanding as The Nest unfolds through each character’s evolving point of view.

Yinka, Where Is Your Huzband?

By Lizzie Damilola Blackburn

If you’re dreading the holidays because the family conversation at the dinner table means a barrage of questions about why you haven’t settled down yet, this feel-good book is for you. In Yinka, Where Is Your Huzband? Lizzie Damilola Blackburn introduces us to the eponymous Yinka, a successful, Oxford-educated British Nigerian woman who nevertheless endures relentless pressure from her mother and aunties to find a partner. When Yinka’s cousin gets engaged, Yinka embarks on Operation Find-a-Date, complete with spreadsheets, makeovers, and input from her closest friends. Blackburn’s acclaimed narrative lovingly explores the questions we all have about dating and romance, while also delivering a unique portrait of a modern-day woman struggling to balance competing cultural values.

The Little Paris Bookshop

By Nina George

In The Little Paris Bookshop, Nina George serves up an irresistibly charming tale about the power of books. The uplifting novel stars Monsieur Perdu, a self-styled literary apothecary who prescribes books to cure what ails his clients. Like all tragic figures, Perdu has a book to heal everything except his own heartbreak. When he finally opens the parting letter his beloved left him before she disappeared, Perdu embarks on a journey to write the end of his story.

The Bookish Life of Nina Hill

By Abbi Waxman

Another feel-good book about books, Abbi Waxman’s The Bookish Life of Nina Hill opens with a delicious twist: Introverted bookseller Nina Hill learns of an extended family of siblings, nieces, and nephews she never knew existed — loved ones who are all eager to meet her. The revelation flips Nina’s happily solitary existence on its head, disrupting her quiet routine of reading and competitive trivia nights and throwing her head first into something out of a gripping novel. If that weren’t enough drama, her trivia nemesis suddenly seems ready to upgrade their relationship from enemies to lovers. This wry and imaginative literary rom-com is sure to put a smile on your face.

What Alice Forgot

By Liane Moriarty

We love Liane Moriarty, and her eminently readable books are perfect for getting lost in lit on a cozy afternoon. If you haven’t yet picked one up, What Alice Forgot is a great place to start. The novel introduces us to Alice, a 39-year-old woman who wakes up one morning and can’t remember the last 10 years of her life. Together with our protagonist, we must piece together the predicament of Alice’s present by diving into her past: How did her marriage end up on the rocks? Why is her sister not speaking to her? And how did her life turn out so differently from what she’d hoped it would be 10 years ago? Like many of Moriarty’s books, What Alice Forgot is breezy on the surface while exploring the complexities of regret, aging, fertility, and the societal pressures women and mothers must endure.

Ayesha at Last

By Uzma Jalaluddin

For all of you Jane Austen fans, this present-day take on Pride and Prejudice is sure to lift your spirits. Uzma Jalaluddin’s feel-good fiction book follows Khalid and Ayesha as they’re forced to work on a conference together at their mosque in Toronto. The two can’t help but fall for each other, even as they debate and disagree on their approaches to their faith. Not simply a modern retelling of Pride and Prejudice, Ayesha at Last delivers a fresh spin on the classic tale that explores the complexities of South Asian identity, religion, and the evolution of tradition across generations.

The Book of Hope: A Survival Guide for Trying Times

By Jane Goodall and Douglas Abrams

It’s hard to maintain hope in the face of growing global instability, and yet Jane Goodall is resolutely hopeful in this powerful nature book about building a better world. In The Book of Hope, the latest installment in the Global Icons series, Goodall sits down with Douglas Adams and draws on her exemplary career as a naturalist and environmental advocate to reveal why she remains optimistic about our planet’s future — and why you should as well. If you’re feeling down about the current state of the world, pick up this inspiring narrative and join the fight.

When Harry Met Minnie

By Martha Teichner

Calling all animal lovers: You’re going to adore this instant New York Times bestseller. When Harry Met Minnie movingly explores the bonds we share with our loved ones, both human and canine. One morning, Martha Teichner is out walking her bull terrier Minnie when she bumps into an old friend with an unexpected request: Might Martha be willing to adopt a second bull terrier named Harry? It turns out that Harry’s current owner, Carol, is dying of cancer, and Carol needs to know that Harry will be looked after once she’s gone. Martha agrees to meet Harry and Carol, never anticipating the deep connection that would develop between the four of them. A heartwarming memoir of love, loss, and friendship, this story will make you laugh, cry, and hug your loved ones a little closer.

Joyful: The Surprising Power of Ordinary Things

By Ingrid Fetell Lee

Hoping to brighten your surroundings this winter? In Joyful, renowned designer and TED talk speaker Ingrid Fetell Lee delivers a how-to guide to enriching your life with the extraordinary beauty of everyday objects. The author draws on her aesthetic expertise as well as fascinating findings from the fields of neuroscience and psychology to reveal the ways in which our environment affects our mood. By unlocking the power of the everyday and making small changes to our surroundings, we learn how to infuse our days with joy and lead a life of more meaning and intention.

The Comfort Book

By Matt Haig

The final book on our list was an instant New York Times bestseller and one of The Washington Post’s best feel-good books of 2021. In The Comfort Book, acclaimed author Matt Haig presents a genre-defying blend of short stories, notes, and lists that together capture the fullness of the human experience and remind us to remain hopeful even when things look bleak. Rich with advice, wisdom, and reassurance, this is one inspirational book to keep around for those days when you’re in need of encouragement.

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Step into those slippers, pour your tea, and dive into your next great read.

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