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Life-affirming novels: what do you recommend

(93 Posts)
BugBearisBugBear Fri 25-Apr-08 13:56:20

Sometimes, when I'm feeling despondent, it would be nice to have a really life-affirming novel to read.

Hope that doesn't make me sound suicidal - I'm very much NOT - but I'd like ideas of novels that make you feel glad to be alive.

oregonianabroad Fri 25-Apr-08 20:00:30

Cold Comfort Farm.
A Tree Grows in Brooklyn (bit teenagerish but I love it still)
Jane Eyre

Flame Fri 25-Apr-08 20:07:52

Danny Wallace!!!! Join Me & Yes Man - they leave me remembering that there are good people (albeit a tad unhinged) in the world, and restore my faith in random acts of kindness

WantThisWantThat Fri 25-Apr-08 20:08:24

The Life of Pi by Yann Martel. Wonderful story of boy surviving at sea with a bengal tiger. Can and should be read on many levels but you finish it thinking wow!

Fullmoonfiend Fri 25-Apr-08 20:16:18

Precious Bane - by Mary Webb, It's my favourite comfort-book and no-one else seems to have heard of it.
In the early 19th century, a young woman with a harelip falls foul of her family's ambition and the superstitions of the local community, but meets a man who may see her differently.

If you can't cope with dialect, it will grate but Mary Webb was a true lover of nature and writes beautifuly and the heroine's love for mankind, despite the troubles which befall her - shine through and through.

blinkingthreetimes Fri 25-Apr-08 20:17:43

The Book theif -----I loved it really really great book

janeite Fri 25-Apr-08 20:19:56

Oh yes, "Miss Pettigrew Lives For A Day" is just gorgeous!

I like (and am not at all religious) "The Five People You Meet In Heaven" and "Tuesdays With Morrie" as well.

But my favourite feel-good book ever has to be "Ballet Shoes" - lovely!

Doobydoo Fri 25-Apr-08 20:23:56

Jane Eyre. Ballet Shoes.White Boots.Cold Comfort Farm,and any Harry PotterblushThese are what I read for what I call my confort
Also Rebecca and My Cousin Rachel
I absolutely love Gone with the wind too and anything by Margaret Forster and a woman called Betty Macdonald[The egg and I and some others]
Some of these fit the OP some don't[got carried away sorry]
Also The Third Eye [that is a fab book]

seeker Fri 25-Apr-08 20:26:10

I re read Antonia Forest's Falconer's Lure to cheer myself up.
Also "I Capture the Castle", "Pride and Prejudice", all the Lord Peter Wimsey stories and "Rivals" by Jilly Cooper.

Doobydoo Fri 25-Apr-08 20:33:06

Love Rivalssmile

ElizabethBeresfordSW19 Fri 25-Apr-08 20:37:19

Trolleydolly71, I agree. I read that and thought, wow. I have made it from the primordial soup to here....

Fannie Flagg is a lovely read. I recently read one about Elner Slinfissle?. "I can't wait 'til I get to heaven". Everybody in the book was lovely. No baddies! But all so real, so quirky and so easy to read about. I don't think it has changed my life though.

I am about to read Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert. My friend SENT it to me months ago. It was out in USA first.

allgonebellyup Fri 25-Apr-08 20:37:25

A Catcher in the Rye

Also the Alchemist

shoshe Fri 25-Apr-08 20:44:33

cyanarasamba I love that book, I grew up in Malaya and Singapore, in the 60/70s and my parents had been there in the early 50's, we knew people who had lived through similar things.

BugBearisBugBear Fri 25-Apr-08 21:43:37

Ooh, am pleased to see so many replies grin.

Hadassah Fri 25-Apr-08 21:52:31

Microserfs by Douglas Coupland and, although they are not books as such, Calvin and Hobbes comic strip collections.

pofaced Fri 25-Apr-08 21:53:46

Emma- Jane Austen... bitchy bullies can change
Middlemarch - George Eliot... virtue can be rewarded
Letters to Constance - Mary Hocking... Mumsnet in the 50s/ 60s (out of print but available in libraries)
Behind the Scenes at the Museum - Kate Atkinson... makes you laugh
A Short History of Tractors in Ukrainian - Marina Lewycka... how family matters, despite everything (aka The Importance of Actually Caring)
Paul Scott: A Life - Hilary Spurling: just fantastically life affirming for the empathy and intelligence author displayed towrads not always likeable subject
Letters to Olga - Vaclav Havel: Love Story for East Europeans...

Join your local library and take out ten books each time and don't feel guilty about returning most of them unread!

Trolleydolly71 Fri 25-Apr-08 22:11:42

Message withdrawn

chefswife Fri 25-Apr-08 23:00:09

Life of Pi definitely. Read it 4 times. Fab.

Life affirming… The Secret by Ronda Byrne. This book has completely changed my life.

J-Pod by Douglas Coupland. Very funny… in that Canadian way… which translates well for British readers.

janeite Sat 26-Apr-08 14:48:05

Also "Life After God" by Douglas Coupland, although my favourite of his is "Miss Wyoming" for its sheer daftness.

UnquietDad Sat 26-Apr-08 14:50:32

Funnily enough, "Miss Wyoming" is the only Coupland I've just not got on with.

Try "A History of the World in 10 1/2 Chapters" by Julian Barnes. Not a conventional novel at all and it has some dark bits, but it makes you feel sort of intellectually refreshed.

ElizabethBeresfordSW19 Sat 26-Apr-08 16:10:45

Douglas Copeland. I had forgotten about him. He was really good. I think he was (and presumably still IS) my age so he wrote about people in their early 20s when I was that age and so on. That's why I liked him so much I think.

William Sutcliffe has another book out. Anybody like him? Not life-affirming, mind you. Are you experienced was so cynical, but so, so funny.

UnquietDad Sat 26-Apr-08 16:13:28

Sutcliffe: I liked "are you experienced" but "The love hexagon" was annoying - read as if it had been dashed-off in a few weeks and as if it was an adapted screenplay. Full of facelessly interchangeable London 20somethings all angsting about nothing in particular.

littlerach Sat 26-Apr-08 16:19:56

ElizaboethBeresford, eat, Pray Love is a really good book.

It really stayed with me for agesa fter I'd read it.

ElizabethBeresfordSW19 Sat 26-Apr-08 16:21:23

Love Hexagon wasn't his true style I thought. He was trying to do chiclit to make tons of money I suppose. Who can blame him for trying. But there is good shite and there is bad shite. I will happily admit to reading good shite....

I read the review of this new book and it sounds much better. THe three protags are women in their 60s who all have difficult relationships with their sons, or are slightly disappointed by them. Sounds interesting.

Actually, a man writing as a woman...hmmmm I said before I'm not keen on that. We'll see. I will buy the book though.

ElizabethBeresfordSW19 Sat 26-Apr-08 16:23:10

ps, just thought of another book by a geezer that I read recently and REALLY enjoyed "how to talk to a widower". Very good. Bit life-affirming I thinkl.

ElizabethBeresfordSW19 Sat 26-Apr-08 16:25:05

Littlerach, I must get on with reading that book! My friend will have expected me to have read it by the time I see her next. My life is apparently all up in the air with nowhere to land, just like the character from that book.

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