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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.

dreamymum Tue 13-May-08 22:00:35

oregonian 'a tree grows in brooklyn' was the first novel i ever read and i think it has a huge influence on my entire life, it is one of my favourite books for that reason

Elasticwoman Tue 13-May-08 22:00:58

Quite enjoying something by Sandi Toksvig, can't remember what it's called. How's that for damning with faint praise?

eddiejo Tue 13-May-08 22:01:26

'How to be a slummy mummy' made me laugh out loud! Bit close to the mark for me.

harpomarx Tue 13-May-08 22:28:45

'I know why the caged bird sings' by Maya Angelou.

brilliant writing, full of strong characters.

wurlywoo Fri 16-May-08 22:09:48

I dont know whether this would be your thing but the Celestine Prophecy is definately life affirming if it isnt a bit too far fetched for you.

I have a sixth sense so appreciated it no end, if you want to know more let me know, it's very good.

expatinscotland Fri 16-May-08 22:11:26

My Dream of You, by Nuala O'Faolain (1940-2008, RIP)

frauster Fri 16-May-08 22:18:15

Agree with Jean-Dominique Bauby - The Diving Bell & The Butterfly. Amazing and definitely non-gooey

I also loved Haruki Murakami's "Underground" - a very sensitive documentary novel about the Tokyo sarin gas attacks. Some real fortitude there.

NumptyMum Fri 16-May-08 22:22:26

"Enchanted April" by Elizabeth von Arnim (the BBC had a drama based on it a few years back starring Josie Lawrence). Written in the 1920s it is about the lives of 4 women who end up on holiday in Italy and how that holiday and their interactions gently encourage them all to open up to new possibilities.

Evenstar Sat 14-Jun-08 23:19:15

I have just finished East of the Mountains by David Guterson can't really say much about the plot without spoiling it but life affirming in many ways. Miss Garnet's Angel by Sally Vickers showing that even an old person can rediscover their pleasure in life. Biography I would recommend I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou.

Kitsilano Sat 14-Jun-08 23:26:22

Great thread! I love Any Human Heart by William Boyd

ScottishMummy Sat 14-Jun-08 23:44:54

The_Grass_is_Singing the grass is singing poignant beautifully written

ScottishMummy Sat 14-Jun-08 23:47:49

the grass is singing poignant beautifully written

BBBee Sat 14-Jun-08 23:49:26

metamorphosis - really short book - you can read it on a train journey. WOnderful way of making you look at the ordinary everyday from the totally bizarre.

but it very much a taste thing - my friend hated it.

wondering1 Tue 15-Jan-13 10:02:54


DuchessofMalfi Tue 15-Jan-13 10:31:35

It's a children's book, but I think it's so positive and uplifting, life-affirming - The Railway Children by E Nesbit. Good things can come out of disaster, and never give up hope that it will get better one day. I think I need to read it again soon smile

CreamolaFoamFan Tue 15-Jan-13 10:38:56

Lots of my favourites on here - I tend towards the slightly gloomy, so like to counteract it with something a bit more cheerful: PG Wodehouse, Austen, Heyer, Joan Aiken, another Cold Comfort Farm fan as well. Oh, and the Railway Children - just thinking about the very end of that book makes me well up a tiny bit.

I've read a couple of Barbara Kingsolver books and enjoyed those very much - The Bean Trees is very sad in bits, but life-affirming and funny on the whole.
I also like The Shipping News - also quite darkly funny, but I like the overall story of someone who just doesn't fit their life, and finding a new one.

harrietspy Tue 15-Jan-13 10:41:02

My list is mainly children's books that I've encountered as an adult:

Holes, by Louis Sachar. A beautifully constructed story almost like a fairy tale.
The Tillerman Saga, by Cynthia Voigt. (I think Homecoming is the first).
The Changeover, by Margaret Mahy.

caffinequeen Tue 15-Jan-13 20:04:24

The Five People You Meet in Heaven (Mitch someone?) is a good life affirming read.

Join Me (Danny Wallace) to remind you of the good people out there (extra feel good points for any random acts of kindness you carry out).

And The To Do List (Mike Gayle) which is a funny read but quite motivating at the same time (in a practical rather than a spiritual way).

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