Top Ten Tuesday: Feel Good Reads

For That Artsy Reader Girl’s Top Ten Tuesday:


March 24: Genre Freebie (pick a genre and build a list around it! i.e., best/worst romances, non-fiction for travelers, memoirs for foodies, classics that feel timeless, romance novel kisses, science fiction that feels too real for comfort, women’s fiction for newbies, etc.)

I think we’re all at least a little stressed, anxious and need of feel good reads right now.

419ewleob1l-_ac_us218_1. Anything Jane Austen: Austen is an author whose complexity is often overlooked for a number of reasons: she’s a woman, she employs the marriage plot in her works and she’s funny. But those are also the reasons that her work makes for feel good reading. It’s hard to go wrong here. Her inclusion on this list probably won’t help her get the recognition that she deserves as an author of complexity and depth. But it will help you feel a bit better.


51dxbewzuil-_ac_us218_2. The Anne series by LM Montgomery– Bad things happen in these books. People get sick and die. But the heroine sees the world with optimism even through the bad times, and when we read about it through her eyes, we can’t help but see it the same way.



91eu73x8il._ac_uy218_ml3_3. Gravity is the Thing by Jaclyn Moriarty -20 years ago tragedy struck Abi’s family and she got a  book called The Guidebook in the mail. She always linked the two events in her mind, so when she gets invited to a retreat by the writers of The Guidebook, she goes, half expecting answers. What she finds is not what she expects but it is something that will change her life nevertheless. This book is about love, loss, hope, believing in the impossible, the self help industry, and more. It’ll make you laugh and cry, possibly at the same time.

81gw6tyoeul._ac_uy218_ml3_4. The Bookish Life of Nina Hill by Abbi Waxman–  Nina Hill is a compelling character because she feels like someone you might really know. She has a full life that she likes, but when it’s turned upside down, she realizes how much more the world has to offer.  She’s deeply flawed and those flaws aren’t magically gone by the end of the book, but we know that Nina can live with them and thrive.


71hpnqntwul._ac_uy218_ml3_5. Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell – This is a coming of age story about an introvert who ventures outside her comfort zone for the first time in many ways. It’s also a celebration of loving a fictional story to the point of geekery.




913a0g0ghvl._ac_uy218_ml3_-16. The Enchanted April by Elizabeth Von Arnim– This book is about four strangers who are in a rut in their own ways. They all buy into a month long getaway at an Italian castle, and that getaway changes them all in different ways. This book is gentle, but lovely. As the characters start to feel better you start to feel it as well.



91qjazuvljl._ac_uy218_ml3_7. Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman– Eleanor Oliphant has issues. She tends to say exactly what’s on her mind no matter what that might be. She avoids social interactions whenever possible and her life is kept to a careful timetable. When she meets Raymond, an IT guy from her office, she’s initially disgusted: he’s unhygienic. He’s a smoker. But when they save the life of another lonely fellow on the street, Eleanor finds herself drawn into a friendship with two other people. I made some assumptions about Eleanor when I first started reading that turned out to be wrong, when I read her story and got to know her. Similarly, Eleanor’s assumptions turn out to be wrong much of the time.

51xnngtdkl._ac_uy218_ml3_8. Love, Rosie by Cecilia Ahern– Rosie and Alex are best friends who are meant to be together. But just as it seems that things are happening right, they go very wrong. The book is a series of letters, emails, and notes over the course of years and Rosie and Alex come together and apart and together time and time again. This books is frustrating at times, but it’s a reminder that things endure beyond the frustration.


91paeh4pugl._ac_uy218_ml3_9. Garden Spells by Sarah Addison Allen – The Waverly’s have always had mysterious gifts that make them outsiders in their hometown of Bascom, North Carolina. Claire has embraced those gifts as a caterer, preparing her dishes with what people need. But her sister Sydney left town as soon as she could. When she returns, with her daughter, she confronts everything that she left behind. This book is brimming with bits of magic. It never overtakes the narrative, but it grows around the edges and creeps inward.



What are your favorite feel good (or feel better) books?

11 thoughts on “Top Ten Tuesday: Feel Good Reads

  1. Great list! I agree that Austen has more depth to her than most people realize or acknowledge. I really noticed it when I read Northanger Abbey for the first time: since that was the first book she wrote, but not the first book of hers that I read, I really noticed her growth and how her other books are more nuanced and deep than I had originally thought.

    For myself, I re-read old favorites as comfort / feel good reads. The books themselves don’t always seem like feel good books, but they work for me because I know I like them and I know what I’m getting from them.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Even Northanger Abbey (which is considered her “beginner’s effort”) has more going on than most people realize. I read this book called Jane Austen: The Secret Radical that had a really interesting analysis of that book. It argued that familiarity with the books Austen was satirizing in Northanger helps the reader appreciate the complexity even more.

      I think there’s a lot to be said for knowing what you’re getting from a book. That’s why I find certain genres, like mysteries comforting. You know something bad will happen but you also know that someone will figure everything out by the end of the book.


      • You know, that’s a really good point. I knew as I was reading it that I was missing a ton of stuff because I didn’t know the stuff going on when that book was set, and I hadn’t read any of the books mentioned in it.

        I mean, they call them “cozy mysteries” for a reason… 😉 Though, there are lots of non-cozy mysteries too. But agreed, a book meeting my expectations, whatever those expectations are, is a very comforting thing. The weirdest example I can think of: Mira Grant’s Rolling in the Deep. It’s a horror novella, but you know going into it that everyone dies. And so I was able to enjoy it for what it was and I found it a lot more “comfortable” a read than some books where I get super attached to characters and then am in agony for them not knowing if they will survive the book.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Yes.

        And yeah, haha! But it is true of non-cozy’s too. And non mysteries. I was just think of Isobelle Carmody’s Obernewtyn series, which my friend read before me. She didn’t spoil anything but she told me “don’t get too attached to anyone.” Which helped what might have been an angsty experience about four books in.

        Liked by 1 person

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