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One of my top mood-boosting books is definitely Laurie Colwin's Happy All the Time - my mother, brother and I know whole passages off by heart and can spend ages swapping cult sentences, while the rest of the family look on in slight bemusement...


Of the 27 in the list, I've only read Cider With Rosie and A Spot of Bother, and partially of Notes from A Small Island. I don't recall A Spot of Bother being very much of a mood-booster, though.
Other mood-boosting books for me would be those by P.G. Wodehouse and Barbara Pym's Some Tame Gazelle. Can't fail to put a smile on my face when reading them. :)


Little Women, I Capture the Castle and good old Pride and Prej! Yes, what's with those new Mitford covers. The colours are a little too strident for me!

Sharon Moreland

It seems a rather strange list for mood-boosting. I find Rushdie unreadable (my fault, not his); I like Prodigal Summer very much. But I wouldn't call it mood-boosting. If I had to call it, I'd use the reviewers phrase "life-affirming". Silly phrase, but I can't find any better right now. Sharon Moreland


I find any book that makes me laugh or engrosses mood-boosting. I prefer Sharon's expression 'life-affirming'. Under this label, I'd choose Camus' The Stranger and Paolo Coelho's Veronika Decides to Die.


I've read seven of those and, like Michelle, I certainly wouldn't recommend A Spot of Bother as a mood lifter. It deals with a man who seems to be going mad; hardly what anyone with mental health problems needs!
I agree that funny books are best, also favourites like Elizabeth Goudge and O Douglas. Happy endings are the thing.


I'm glad someone has mentioned Elizabeth Goudge as I find her books very comforting in my darker moments - her all-encompassing faith wouldn't suit everyone, but it returns me to the dark, warm safety of vicarage teas (rather like the Pym books, though Barbara's view is rather more acerbic). I Capture the Castle is also a favourite and I regularly give thanks for the work colleague who introduced me to it.


Please add:
'Bridget Jones's Diary' by Helen Fielding



'Me Talk Pretty One Day' by David Sedaris is about a funny a book as it's possible to read, definitely not for the tube! And funny is definitely life-affirming.


Anything with an engrossing story is mood-boosting to me, but I particularly like 'The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society'. So heart warming - it makes me smile every time I think of it.


Ooh, I have lots of comfort reads for when life is just all too much. Barbara Pym's Excellent Women & A Glass of Blessings, Cold Comfort Farm, Persuasion, Dorothy L Sayers's Gaudy Night, any of the Jeeves & Wooster books, the Provincial Lady & Winifred Watson's Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day. I've also recently discovered O Douglas who is also very good.

Dark Puss

I've read Notes from a Small Island, A Winter Book and Tales of the City. I have no idea why those might be thought especially mood-boosting although I certainly enjoyed all three of them. As you know I don't subscribe to "comfort reading" but I don't think mood-boosting is the same thing. I view comfort as one of the many moods I might experience. To have my mood lifted I certainly don't require humour though I agree that it maybe a good, if safe, bet. Probably if you push me I'd chose something written by Colette.

Rosie H

Anything by Alcott works for me. Also a couple of fantasy novels - Tam Lin by Pamela Dean, and Year of the Griffin by Diana Wynne Jones.

Barbara MacLeod

What a wonderful post! I have read through the above posts and am delighted to find further suggestions!

I had read only a couple on that library brochure list, e.g. The Morville Hours by Katherine Swift which the Cornflower Book Group read a couple of years ago. Moving on, I took home from the library Alan Bennett's The Uncommon Reader and thought it was an absolute delight! A suggestion from a Colonial: With the Queen's Diamond Jubilee coming up this would make a lovely present for, perhaps, an older person who has memories or an interest in the Queen.

Lastly, anyone from either Canada or the US who lives, or has lived, in the UK, would smile knowingly when reading Dark Puss's suggestion Notes from a Small Island by Bill Bryson. Cultural differences? He absolutely nails it!


Definitely agree with Major Pettigrew's Last Stand, Cider with Rosie, The Pursuit of Love and Notes from a Small Island and I am another member of the group wondering why A Spot of Bother is on the list as it didn't do anything to lift my spirits when I tried to read it a few years ago!
I would also add Roger Deakin's Notes from Walnut Tree Farm, R.C Shepherd's The Fortnight in September, Bella Pollen's The Summer of the Bear and my favourite adult comfort read, Susan Hill's The Magic Apple Tree.


Yes, I'd agree with Wodehouse and Pym!


Lovely books, all.


'Life-affirming' is a good label, Sharon.


I must get on to Elizabeth Goudge - I've heard nothing but good about her books.


I loved that one, too.


I've not read O. Douglas, but the others are a good bunch.


The Morville Hours was a great pleasure to read, and The Uncommon Reader a treat!


The Magic Apple Tree: another for my wish list ...


I think it is out of print at the moment but there are used copies out there. I did look for another copy a year or so ago as mine is showing its age and use but the only ones I could afford weren't in much better condition than mine!

Susie Vereker

Belated comment: people often find Alexander McCall Smith mood-boosting.

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