8 Feel Good Books to Add to Your Summer Reading List

I was destined to be an English major. Of course, I also got French in my diploma, but if there is an area of ​​study that I identify with the most, it is the literary, always reading literature enthusiast. Maybe it’s the sense of possibility I’ve always felt when I enter a library, or the palpable warmth found on the shelves of my favorite bookstores. Whatever it is, having my head in one of my happy books is the best place to be.

I am lucky to be surrounded by countless people who share my love of reading (and its physical representation too – new book scent, anyone?). I have met my best friends at book clubs, attached to strangers over our mutual appreciation of the classics, and I’m more inspired every day by the recommendations shared by my Camille Styles family. Seriously – we have a Slack channel dedicated to reviewing and starting every editorial meeting reflecting on what we’ve read. We are so obsessed.

To bring you the literary goodness, we rounded up our Goodreads and rounded up the books we reach for and read (and read again) when we need one mood boost. While the list includes those you wouldn’t immediately call “happy books,” they inspire us all to love deeper, laugh harder, and live more fully each day. Now that I think about it, isn’t that happiness?

Selected image of Kristen Kilpatrick.

8 happy books to inspire personal growth

Great magic by Elizabeth Gilbert

Same author of Eat Pray Love and The signature of all things wrote his first non-fiction book about creative living. You can get a physical copy, but I recommend getting an audiobook for this one. I have listened to this book so many times over the past few years and anytime I need extra words of encouragement or wisdom. — Nihel, Social Media Manager

Gift from the sea by Anne Morrow Lindberg

Although this is not a book that will make you laugh out loud or smile at quirky, clever sentences, but is a beautiful work that is filled with resonant revelations about what it means as a woman to live a life that is authentic and true to you. If you read A separate room in college and immediately felt the need to push forward with strength and independence, consider this a softer manifesto—but a manifesto nonetheless.

Lindberg’s writing will inspire you to not only create space for yourself every day, but to obsessively write out half the book’s sentences and post the affirmations around your house. I speak from personal experience.

My favorite line (and perhaps the book’s most famous quote): “The sea does not reward those who are too anxious, too greedy, or too impatient. Digging for treasure shows not only impatience and greed, but a lack of faith. Patience, patience, patience, is what the sea teaches. Patience and faith. You had to lie empty, open, choiceless like a beach – and wait for a gift from the sea.” — Isabelle, Managing Editor

The mountain is you by Brianna Wiest

I can’t get enough of Brianna Wiest. I started reading one of her other incredibly popular (and for good reason) books, 101 essays that will change the way you think, and my life was forever changed. Her mastery recently blew me away The mountain is you, a book about why we can’t escape our most toxic habits and how we must step out of our own way to reach our potential. It’s a reference book for life – one you’ll want to start your day with and give to all your closest friends. — Edie, Wellness Contributor

Picture of Blue-green Thomsen

Group by Christie Tate

At first glance, you might think: hmmm, a summer feel-good read? But believe me when I tell you that this page turner got me inspired and hopeful that with enough persistence and a whole lot of hard work, we all really can live our best lives. While sometimes the paths we end up on may not have been what we always dreamed of, there is beauty to be found in the unexpected. – Anne, contributing editor

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer

For this one, I watched the movie first. (It’s on Netflix– you have to see!) In a rare case, I loved the movie and the book equally. Synopsis: A writer from London bonds with the colorful inhabitants of Guernsey when she learns about the book club they formed during the German occupation of World War II.

If you love tropes like “found family” and “small-town-hunk-makes-big-city-fiancée seem like a bore,” then this book is for you. It is told in the form of letters, which I found thoroughly creative and engaging. I thought it might take away some of the heart and detail of the story, but it was the exact opposite. It’s a quick read and although some of the plot lines are heavy, they are handled with such delicacy and care. I also loved the ending. —Brittany, Content Marketing Director

A short guide to a happy life by Anna Quindlen

This is one of my favorite books of all time. I keep it by my bed so I can pick it up and read a random chapter when I need something uplifting. I cry every time I read it, but in a good way that makes me want to hug everyone I love and never take them for granted. Bonus: You can read this book cover to cover in about an hour. — Camille, Editor-in-Chief

Picture of Julie Pointer Adams

Anything and Everything by Fannie Flagg

Why do you recommend it: You’ve probably heard her name attached to the famous made-for-another-feel-good movie, Fried Green Tomatoes at Whistle Stop Cafe. But trust me: Flagg has a lot more goodness coming. At the age of 77, she has 11 books under her belt (written between 1981 and 2020). Each book features relatable, lovable and quirky characters who find themselves overcoming many different challenges (often involving epic stories and travels). While you should definitely start your deep dive right away, I’d recommend taking it easy with my favorites: Standing in the rainbow and I still dream about you. — Isabelle, Managing Editor

The Tao of Pooh by Benjamin Hoff

If you want to know more about Taoism through witty and brilliant dialogue, look no further Plush Tao. This beautiful, digestible book shares practical life lessons that can help guide you to your own personal moral code. Think of this less as an introduction to religion and more as a guide to finding happiness, fulfillment, and purpose through identifying the things that matter—and letting go of the rest. — Brandy, Maternity contributor

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