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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.

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).

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.

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.

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

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


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.

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

the grass is singing poignant beautifully written

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

The_Grass_is_Singing the grass is singing poignant beautifully written

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

Great thread! I love Any Human Heart by William Boyd

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.

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.

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.

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

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

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.

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

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

brilliant writing, full of strong characters.

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.

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?

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

Eeek Tue 13-May-08 21:54:21

any of the romantic novels of Georgette Heyer. So fluffy and silly they cheer me up every time.

LadyG Tue 13-May-08 21:44:33

Anne Tyler fab. Also PG Wodehouse and your fave childhood books always good. Have recently reread Diana Wynne Jones Joan Aiken and Madeline L'Engle and really enjoyed them

CocodeBear Tue 13-May-08 17:19:42

Ah yes, I love Anne Tyler.

We had our honeymoon on the Amalfi coast [sigh]

Thanks for the latest recommendations. It's me, btw, the OPer, I mean smile

charliegal Sun 11-May-08 20:12:12

'the accidental tourist' anne tyler. Also 'back when we were grown ups', same author.

Greedygirl Sun 11-May-08 20:08:53

Couldn't have put it better myself Flame!

Flame Sun 11-May-08 20:04:17

Just put a space and what word you want to call the link before you do the closing ]]

Quattrocento Sun 11-May-08 20:03:51

Thanks GG

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