21 Uplifting Page-Turners to Add to Your Must-Read List

The benefits of reading are varied and diverse; it’s a habit that can instil a deeper sense of compassion; it can expand and broaden both your vocabulary and your horizons, and it too is cited by many as the ultimate form of escapism, and an instant mood-lifter (so long as the book you’re reading is a heartening one). And while there’s a time and a place for tear-jerkers or misery memoirs; sometimes an uplifting read is the exact sort of literary prescription the doctor ordered.

Whether you want to hunker down with a nostalgic classic that will lighten your mood, or a hopeful novel that will ease your Monday blues, here are 21 of the best uplifting reads to self-isolate with.

1. Tuesdays with Morrie by Mitch Albom

A poignant and powerful memoir by American author Mitch Albom, Tuesdays with Morrie is the story about a series of visits Albom made to his former sociology professor in which a beautiful bond between the two characters is formed. A magical and moving memoir about friendship, compassion about love and about life, Tuesdays with Morrie is a short but important book that everyone should read.

2. Phosphorescence by Julia Baird 

A book whose publication amidst Covid-19 couldn’t be more pertinent, Phosphorescence by Julia Baird is a book of awe and wonder that is the perfect remedy to the current climate. A soothing exploration about finding the small things that keep one afloat in times of hardship, it’s a beautiful book both inside and out.

3. Everything I Know About Love by Dolly Alderton 

A hilarious, heart-warming, and hopeful memoir about love, friendship, heartache and anxiety, Everything I Know About Love by journalist Dolly Alderton is an account of the trials and triumphs of her twenties. Written with Alderton’s signature wit and relatability, it’s a captivating tale about growing up, growing older and navigating all kinds of love along the way.

4. Chicken Soup for the Soul by Jack Candfield

One of the world’s most beloved books, Chicken Soup for the Soul is a collection of stories curated by two of America’s best-loved motivational speakers, Jack Canfield and Mark Victor Hansen. A selection of tales that have touched the hearts of people everywhere, Chicken Soup for the Soul is rich with wit and wisdom and hope and empowerment, designed to lift readers through life's dark moments. 

5. Bridget Jones’s Diary by Helen Fielding

One of literature’s most popular characters, Bridget Jones’s Diary is a laugh-out-loud daily chronicle of Bridget's permanent, doomed quest for self-improvement. It’s the perfect antidote for anyone feeling anxious amid the current corona-chaos.

6. Falling by Jane Green

My go-to author when I’m in need of an uplifting read, Jane Green’s books are the absolute ultimate in comfort reading. A lyrical love-story set in a suburban seaside town on the outskirts of New York, Falling is a cosy and cheering read, and a true hug of a book.

7. The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry 

A short, sweet, and spiritual tale that is one of the most translated novellas in the world, The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry is a wise and enchanting fable about kindness, compassion, and some of life’s greatest lessons. 

8. Saltwater by Jessica Andrews

A coming-of-age debut set between England and Ireland, Saltwater is a story with stunning prose and a beautiful sense of place that explores the complex nature of mother-daughter relationships.

9. The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari by Robin Sharma

The kind of book that you want to both savour and speed through, The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari tells the story of high-flying lawyer, Julian Mantle, who, after suffering from a heart attack in the middle of court, goes on a spiritual quest to the Himalayas. A profound and powerful read that’s as beautiful as it is stirring, it’s essential reading for anyone in need of some inspiration.

10. Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen 

A much-loved classic that is beloved by readers around the world, Pride and Prejudice is a novel that has more than stood the test of time; and is one of the most popular books in the English language. A romantic and witty read, rich in intrigue and delight, Austen’s best-loved book should be mandatory reading for all.

11. A Room with a View by E. M. Forster

Set between Italy and England, A Room with a View is a timeless classic that touches upon themes of passion, romance, society and forbidden love, told with Forster’s spellbinding wit and humour.

12. How to Fail by Elizabeth Day     

Part memoir, part manifesto, How to Fail covers everything from relationships and careers, to friendships and families. Full of inspiring anecdotes and advice, and written with Day’s signature wit and warmth, How to Fail is a life-affirming must-read for absolutely everyone. 

13. Such a Fun Age by Kiley Reid 

Chosen by Reese Witherspoon as her first book club pick of 2020, Such a Fun Age by American author Kiley Reid is a compulsive and unputdownable story about diversity, transactional relationships and the real meaning of family. Rich with a riveting writing style and an adept approach to the sensitive matters, it’s a brilliant read from an impressive new voice. 

14. More Myself by Alicia Keys

Fans of Alicia Keys will love this intimate and raw account from one of the music industry’s most celebrated artists, as she chronicles her journey to self-discovery and acceptance. A remarkable book about an extraordinary woman, More Myself will inspire and galvanize readers everywhere. 

15. White Teeth by Zadie Smith         

A beautifully written book that blossoms as the plot progresses, White Teeth boasts clever and often hilarious dialogue, quirky characters, creative family histories, rich and convincing place descriptions and much, much more. A must-read. 

16. The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion

One of Australia’s best-loved writers, Graeme Simsion is author of the hugely popular Rosie Project series, which won him almost immediate international acclaim and a legion of loyal fans. A moving and hilarious novel for anyone who has ever tenaciously gone after life or love in the face of overwhelming challenges, The Rosie Project manages to be poignant, full of charm and laugh-out-loud funny.

17. Heartburn by Nora Ephron 

Cited by many as a hilarious take about the breakup of the perfect marriage, Heartburn—by much-loved screenwriter and journalist Nora Ephron—shouldn’t be uplifting, but it absolutely is. Ephron’s only novel (much to the dismay of many of her fans), in Heartburn, she manages to take a story about heartbreak and turn it into something full of life and jest.

18. Good Dog by Kate Lever

A love-letter to canine companions far and wide, Good Dog by Kate Lever is a book about the redemptive – and healing – nature of dogs. Celebratory, joyous and moving, this is a book for anyone who has ever loved a dog - and known their love in return. 

19. Exciting Times by Naoise Dolan 

Touted by critics as the new Sally Rooney, Exciting Times is Irish author Naoise Dolan’s excellent debut. Set in Hong Kong, it tells the tale of Irish expat Ava, as she navigates her way around a love triangle with a male banker and a female lawyer. Raw, relatable and brilliantly funny, it’s page-turning fiction at its very best.

20. Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore by Robin Sloan

A book for book-lovers, Mr Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore is a literary thriller set in San Francisco that is charming and captivating in equal measure. A love letter to books, bookstores and bibliophiles, it offers readers the perfect blend of secrets, mystery and adventure.

21. Fleishman is in Trouble by Taffy Brodesser-Akner 

A sparkling debut that took the literary world by storm, Fleishman is in Trouble by Taffy Brodesser-Akner is a page-turning and witty read set in New York. A novel that explores the nature and anatomy of an American marriage, family, divorce, identity, and privilege, it’s easy to see why the book instantly became a bestseller.

Love reading? This is what's next on your list, according to your star sign. 

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