With Covid-19, the state of American politics, and protests surrounding racial injustices, 2020 was a roller coaster of a year for everyone. For university students, online classes and Zoom meetings only added to the stresses of the year.
But not all is lost.
With vaccines now being distributed, classes possibly returning to campus in the fall, and world politics coming to a more restful place, 2021 seems to hold a brighter future. To help bask in this hopefulness and the beauty of warmer weather, here are five feel-good books to get your hands on this spring.
Swedish author Fredrik Backman kicks off our list with the heartwarming and doleful novel, A Man Called Ove.Published in 2012, the story follows the titular Ove, a bitter, ill-tempered old man who lives on his own and wants nothing to do with his neighbours. While his bitter exterior repels any intimate relationships with others, his new neighbours take an unexpected liking to him.
Backman creates a character who, over the course of the book, comes to terms with the sorrow that gave rise to his crankiness. A Man Called Ove is an enthralling story about hope, resilience, and the value of warm relationships—perfect if you’re seeking a feel-good book.
Next on our list is a novel that expresses both sorrow and joy. In Jojo Moyes’ Me Before You, Louisa Clark finds herself unemployed after someone closes her bakery. Anxious to get a job so she can keep her family afloat, Lou takes the role of a caretaker for Will Traynor. Will once lived a life full of speed and adrenaline, but after a devastating accident, he’s now wheelchair bound.
As the pair start their working relationship, a deeper relationship begins to form. Soon, Lou discovers Will’s plans to end his life and she out to show him that, even amid his misfortunes, his life is still worth living.
In Me Before You, Moyes illustrates an enchanting love story, where two unlikely people find love in an unlikely circumstance. The first book in a trilogy, Me Before You is a beautiful story about love, sacrifice, and life’s fragile beauty.
Another novel centred on loss, This Too Shall Pass by Milena Busquets focuses on Blanca, a 40-year-old woman who just lost the most important person in her life: her mother. To help come to terms with her new reality, Blanca contacts her friends and family and moves back to Cadaqués, Spain. Over the course of the novel, Blanca spends her summer in Cadaqués, where she searches for closure and a meaningful life.
Blanca’s story is a raw illustration of the emotions that one experiences when faced with the loss of a parent. Busquets writes her story to highlight the importance of reaching out to others when it seems like our lives have turned upside down, and the hope that emerges from it.
In Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, the reader grows with Ifemelu, a young Nigerian woman who immigrates to America for a better chance at a university education. Growing up in Nigeria and then arriving to America, Ifemelu must quickly adapt to American customs and establish a new life for herself. We find Ifemelu constantly navigating between her Nigerian and American identities.
Adichie is a Nigerian writer who has written many books on the Nigerian experience. Through her enchanting prose, and her own experiences as a Nigerian woman, Adichie absorbs readers into the inspiring world of Americanah, illuminating the vitality of blank.
For our historical fiction lovers, we end our list with Paulette Jiles’ News of the World. Written in 2016, the book takes us back to the aftermath of the American Civil War. Captain Jefferson Kyle Kidd travels across Northern Texas to read the news to paying audiences. One day, when he arrives in Wichita Falls, he receives an offer to deliver an orphan to her relatives in San Antonio, in exchange for $50.
Over the expanse of the 400-mile journey, the unlikely pair form an invaluable bond with one another. The captain faces a dilemma once he arrives in San Antonio and must decide whether to deliver the girl to her relatives, who see her as an unwanted burden, or venture off, become a criminal himself, and raise the young girl.
Reportedly based on a true story, News of the World is a charming Western tale that draws out the difficult decisions and moral dilemmas that one faces, and the hope that comes with finding one’s proper path.
Although this list isn’t expansive, it’s an excellent starting point for anyone who seeks some cheerful reading this spring. With exam time soon approaching, it’s important to find contentment and tranquility—whether that be through a feel-good book or a day of sleep.