Maybe you’re coming off a lonely weekend, a wearisome week at work, or even just a low month. If you’re feeling like you just want to crawl into a hole and wait for the world to go away, sometimes all you really need to crawl into is a really good book. Luckily, we have just the list to help bring a little light into your days.
From charming romance to unlikely heroes, our best inspirational books are the sprinkle of optimism that everyone’s year could use. Escape, soar, and smile with Literati’s favorite mood-boosting reads.
Klara and the Sun – Kazuo Ishiguro
Perfect for readers who say “thank you” to their smart devices, Klara and The Sun will wrap a warm blanket around your shoulders and coax you into a brighter outlook on life. Artificial life, that is.
Klara sees, hears, and moves like a human. But can this AI machine-friend feel like a human?
Kazuo Ishiguro’s thoughtful novel sees humanity through the eyes of our increasingly intimate technology. As the robot Klara cares for a young boy, this book explores our most defining human element—the ability to love.
There’s a reason Kelly McGonigal chose this delightful read for her Literati book club, The Joy Collective—it’s a book that’ll both break and warm your heart.
Why you’ll love Klara and the Sun:
- Feel good sci-fi
- Ishiguro’s simplistic, elegant prose
- Admirable humanity and love on display
A Most Beautiful Thing – Arshay Cooper
Image Source: https://www.amostbeautifulthing.com/book/
Feeling like you’re facing insurmountable odds lately? Take some cues (and inspiration) from Arshay Cooper’s A Most Beautiful Thing.
Arshay Cooper had never touched an oar before. That is, until a school flyer for “crew team” changed that fact—and transformed his entire life. Pick up this Stephen Curry book club pick to get swept up in the exciting, singular tale of America’s first all-black high school rowing team: a tale that will inspire you to face life’s obstacles head on.
Why you’ll love A Most Beautiful Thing:
- Up-close look at racial divides in sports
- How found family can be the keys to a whole new kind of joy
- Academic prejudices and oppression examined
The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society – Mary Ann Shaffer & Annie Barrows
Need a little love letter to help warm your heart? Consider warmth signed, sealed, and delivered in Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows’ The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society.
When a stranger sends Juliet a letter from the British channel islands, she begins a pen pal friendship with the quirky members of the Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society. Inspired by the society’s love of literature and their stories of the island’s five-year Nazi occupation, Juliet travels to Guernsey to meet her friends, find inspiration for her next book, and maybe even write her own love story.
Barrows and Shaffer’s novel is comprised of fictional letters from characters so vivid, loving, and funny you’ll wish you could invite them over for tea. This heartwarming book demonstrates the love of found family and the power of stories, even in the darkest hours.
Why you’ll love The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society:
- Little-known WWII history wrapped in charming tale
- Touching, intimate letters
- A cast of eccentric, odd-ball characters
The Last Lecture – Randy Pausch
If tomorrow was your last day—what would you say?
For Carnegie Mellon professor Randy Pausch, that question wasn’t too far a stretch of the imagination. Following his terminal cancer diagnosis, Pausch created his final lecture: “Really Achieving Your Childhood Dreams.” In The Last Lecture, he expands on his life-affirming message, proving to us that every moment we have is truly precious.
Head back to school for some lessons in life, aspirations, and love in this exceptional memoir that will stay with you even on the grayest of days.
Why you’ll love The Last Lecture:
- Pausch’s mix of laughs, smarts, and relatability
- Timeless lessons on the gift of life
- Confronted fears of death and passivity
The Midwife: A Memoir of Birth, Joy, and Hard Times—Jennifer Worth
Image Source: https://www.publishersweekly.com/978-0-14311-623-3
When the system fails, heroes must rise—and for London’s working-class women, that hero was Jennifer Worth.
Take a midnight bicycle ride with Worth across the East End, as she recalls her work as a mid-century midwife. From aiding teen sex workers to hardened matrons, Worth’s memoir is a historic battle cry for women’s health and appreciation for moms. Each story is a balm for the soul and will give you something to smile about.
Why you’ll love The Midwife:
- Fascinating look at London in the 50s
- Worth’s inspiring, tireless work for reproductive safety
- British history through human eyes
Elevate Your Spirits (and Book Pile) with Literati’s Luminaries
Down in the book dumps? Put aside the tear-jerkers and mystery novels—sometimes, the best medicine is the warm hug of a heartfelt story. These Literati mood-boosting favorites are sure to shake you from your slump.
Curious about other best books 2021 has in store? Take a look at Literati Book Clubs! With twelve select groups each led by a world leader or writer, you can choose a monthly book adventure that suits your literary style. And if you liked this list, we suggest signing up for Kelly McGonigal’s club, The Joy Collective, where you’ll find (science-