When the world feels upside-down, beautifully written books can help right it, even if just for a couple of moments. You likely already have a few favorite comforting titles you return to often, but these additional feel-good books of poetry, prose, and pictures make for excellent reads to lift your spirits.
Want to feel even better? Purchase your book from an independent bookstore, and know you’re giving back to a community business that needs your support right now. Check IndieBound, a community of local independent bookstores, for a store locator. Many shops have direct-to-home shipping options, so you don’t even have to step outside.
For the Glass-Half-Empty Friend: ‘The Book of Delights’ by Ross Gay
Poet Ross Gay spent a year writing essays every day about the things around him that brought distinct joy: bees, a crossing guard’s mannerisms, pick-up basketball games, and more. Every page will curl your lip slightly higher in a grin with his heartwarming accounts.
Buy It: The Book of Delights, $23.95
For Your Relative in a Rut: ‘100 Ways to Happy Chic Your Life’ by Jonathan Adler
Even if retro styles aren’t your preference, Jonathan Adler’s hard-won design advice (don’t take yourself too seriously, especially when decorating!) and awe-inspiring room designs might just encourage you to kickstart the home project you’ve been flirting with. This cheery book teems with pattern inspiration, craft ideas, and (most of all) encouragement to create the spaces you adore.
Buy It: 100 Ways to Happy Chic Your Life, $24.95
For the ‘Hamilton’ Fanatic: ‘Gmorning, Gnight!’ by Lin-Manuel Miranda
He’s a Tony award-winning playwright, composer, and performer, but Lin-Manuel Miranda is also a master of quippy truisms that hit deep. Once relegated to Twitter, Miranda’s daily greetings are captured in this sweet book, Gmorning, Gnight!, accompanied by delicate linework illustrations by artist Jonny Sun. But don’t take our word for it; here’s a snippet:
“Good Morning / Don’t wait on anyone to make your favorite thing / Make your own favorite thing / Go”
Buy It: Gmorning, Gnight!, $22
For Your Second-Guessing Self: ‘It’s OK to Feel Things Deeply’ by Carissa Potter
If it seems like the world is coming for your wellbeing, consider this sweet book by Carissa Potter a tiny bit of armor. Every page offers an acknowledgment that difficult times are, indeed, as hard as they feel, but that you do have the resources to battle back.
Buy It: It’s OK to Feel Things Deeply, $12.95
For the Family Chef: ‘Alone in the Kitchen with an Eggplant’ edited by Jenni Ferrari-Adler
Overwhelmed by feeling like the short-order cook for your family? This collection of essays by notable writers, including Nora Ephron, Amanda Hesser, Haruki Murakami, and Ann Patchett, recalls the unmistakable pleasure of listening to your own appetite and feeding it well, by yourself.
Buy It: Alone in the Kitchen with an Eggplant, $15
For the Disheartened Student: ‘Escargot for It!’ by Sabrina Moyle
Yes, it’s a self-help guide from the perspective of a mollusk. But this silly, charming collection of essays, poems, and quotes is uplifting and unexpected. It’s a sweet book to share with teens, grads, or anyone else who feels like life is moving in slow-motion right now. (Read: All of us.)
Buy It: Escargot for It!, $16.95
For the Seed-Catalog Dreamer: ‘Gardenista’ by Michelle Slatalla
Part lookbook, part how-to, all eye candy, this hefty outdoor guide will help you create the leafy lounge space of your dreams. No backyard to speak of? You can happily live vicariously through the featured (enviable!) outdoor rooms.
Buy It: Gardenista, $40
For a Poetic Pal: ‘The Sun and Her Flowers’ by Rupi Kaur
An unforgettable collection of attainable poetry about growth and healing, Rupi Kaur’s book (her second) overflows with insightful observations:
“what is the greatest lesson a woman should learn / that since day one / she’s already had everything she needs within herself / it’s the world that convinced her she did not”
The Sun and Her Flowers is divided into five chapters that are brimming with lessons on love and loss.
Buy It: The Sun and Her Flowers, $16.99