Sometimes, after a long day, I find myself staring out the window, feeling grumpy and uninspired. The only thing that can get me out of this funk is a book that reminds me that not everything is doom and gloom. We all need an escape from the real world to remind us of the goodness all around us, and I have just the five books to help. Five books that will light a fire to warm your heart and fill your soul more than a hot stew on a cold night. Five books to remind you that most people are caring, thoughtful beings with immeasurable passion and goodness, and to show you that we are all much more alike than we think. Here’s a list of five books that warmed my soul—I hope they warm yours too.
The Little Paris Bookshop by Nina George
The Little Paris Bookshop has everything you could possibly look for in a book. A romantic setting in Paris, right on the river Seine, a story of love and healing, a journey of self-discovery, and a slightly mysterious tone that keeps you intrigued until the very end. Plus, it’s a book about the power of books!
Jean Perdu is a literary apothecary, prescribing books as medicine to those who need his literary guidance. He has lost his one true love and this story is about his coming to terms with not only this fact but also his journey towards finding his place in the world, geographically and spiritually. He meets others along the way who are wrestling with their own demons, and it is through these friends that he is able to look at himself and his actions in a new light, with clarity and objectivity. It is a story of romantic and platonic love, of overcoming grief and allowing sorrow to wash over you and create space to heal. It is a profoundly human story that will bring hope into your world and fill you with a yearning for a literary life on the river.
Tracks: A Woman’s Solo Trek Across 1700 Miles of Australian Outback by Robyn Davidson
Get ready to get inspired. Tracks is a true story about Davidson’s adventure across the Australian outback with only her dog and a few stubborn camels for company. I was fascinated not only by her powerful storytelling but also by her cultural observations about the locals’ relationships with Aboriginals and society’s view of women towards the end of the 21st century.
Davidson’s writing style makes it easy to connect with her, which means it is extremely difficult not to be inspired by her story. Her bravery, gumption, and sheer determination make this the perfect book to read when you need something to give you that extra push to start making your dreams a reality.
The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry by Rachel Joyce
A story that truly speaks to the strength of the human spirit and our ability to persevere when all the signs are telling us we should quit, The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry filled me with a sense of kinship with the human race, and a deep appreciation for the inherent kindness of people. It reminded me how important it is that we don’t take our loved ones for granted, and to take matters into our own hands if we are unhappy with the situation we’re in. It jolted me out of a state of complacency, and helped me notice and understand all the little gifts that I might normally ignore, such as the birds singing in the trees, or the sound of a babbling brook. It is a tale of a man whose unexpected, unbelievable journey from one end of the country to another becomes a journey into himself, his memories, and his relationships with the ones he loves.
The Alchemist by Paolo Coelho
A modern classic that you may well have crossed paths with before, The Alchemist is a fable about a young Spanish shepherd who literally and figuratively follows his dreams in search of treasure and the promise of riches. He receives many omens and sometimes mixed signals from the universe, confusing and frustrating him on the way. He encounters obstacles and powerful magic that hinder and help him on his journey, and he learns that sometimes looking inside yourself is where you can find the greatest treasure of all. This is a heartfelt, didactic story that reminds us that material wealth is not always what makes us rich.
Yes Man by Danny Wallace
This is a story you may already be familiar with. Yes Man became a heartwarming and hilarious film starring Jim Carrey in 2008. I watched the film without knowing that the book even existed, and I absolutely loved it. So, naturally, when I found out the movie was based on the book by Danny Wallace, I had to read it.
Danny’s honest voice and comedic perspective had me laughing almost the entire way through. It reminded me how important it is to truly live your life. It’s so easy to just let life happen. Our days are packed full of work and chores, and we are so busy looking down at the next item on our “to do” list that we forget to look up and remember who we are and what our place is in this world. This book reminded me that sometimes it’s okay to get out of the daily grind and jump head first into a new and exciting opportunity. It reminded me to keep an open mind and to take a chance, even if that chance is slightly terrifying or takes me completely out of my comfort zone. So if you’re looking for a bit of inspiration in your life or a book that will just make you smile, say yes to Yes Man.
So, when life gets you down and you need a bit of a pick-me-up, or if you’re looking to gain a little perspective on life, give one of these novels a chance to brighten your day.
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