A while ago I wrote about light-hearted reads, books I read that made me feel happy and warm during anxious times (I guess we all have a need for cute reads during these past year), and today I wanted to write something similar but not exactly the same – books that I read during these past year and made me remember why I loved reading so much while also putting a smile on my face. I tend to read a lot of bleak fiction, dark fantasies and such, but I do enjoy reading happy stuff once in a while, and I have been gravitating towards these kind of books this past year, and they helped me re-discover my love for a genre I had been a bit disenchanted by lately (fantasy!) and I think it might make other readers also remember why they loved reading in the first place. Books have made a huge difference in my mental health for years now and have been my constant companions in so many different times in my life, so I am always happy to recommend books to other people in hopes that they’ll fall in love, too!
If you’d like to check out my posts about light, fun books:
The House in the Cerulean Sea by TJ Klune is a popular fantasy that has become everyone’s favorite heartwarming reads for a reason! It takes place in an orphanage for magical children, where Linus Baker is sent to inspect and write a report on the safety and health of the children and supervise the mysterious master of the orphanage, Mr. Parnassus. This is a whimsical, adorable story that made me laugh out loud! If you love found family tropes and enjoy middle grade books, I am so sure you will love this! This book makes you instantly happy.
The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet by Becky Chambers is a well-known cozy science fiction book of the Wayfarer series. This is another found family trope that I adored and I’m so glad there are three more books to the series (as of now, at least). It tells the story of a crew of misfits and their adventures in space!
Illusion by Paula Volsky is a seriously underhyped book! This charming story follows a young woman who is sent to the court to serve as maid of honor and witnesses first-hand as revolution sweeps over the country and changes the lives of everyone she knows. This is one of the best fantasy books I’ve ever read and has hilarious, witty banter PLUS it’s loosely based on the French revolution. Seriously a great read.
The Satapur Moonstone by Sujata Massey is the second book in the Perveen Mistry series, about a lawyer in 1920s India who gets the most interesting jobs due to her unique position as one of the few women lawyers in the country at the time – I really enjoyed the first book but this second for some reason I loved even more! I love whodunit books where you know the main character will not die because, well, the series is named after them, but I hardly ever really connect with the main character the way I connected with Perveen. I LOVE her. The writing is so great and immersive, you feel transported to Bombay and other places in those very interesting times. A quiet, cozy mystery series that deserves more hype.
The Lovely War by Julie Berry is another very popular book that came out not that long ago – if you haven’t picked it up yet, I really recommend it. It starts with Aphrodite getting caught cheating on her husband Hephaestus with the war god Ares – and then both being judged, and for her defense, Aphrodite tells the story of two couples in World War I to explain that Love and War are always inexorably gravitating towards each other. This is a surprisingly deep and well-researched book that will make you Feel things while also enjoying the gods’ banter and the sweet love stories.
Broken (in the best possible way) by Jenny Lawson is a book I was SO happy when I found out it was getting published this year! Furiously Happy was a book that made a huge impact in my life during a time when I was at my lowest, mental-health-wise. As this past year has been quite difficult, Broken made me laugh and feel seen in a way that few books are a capable of. It also has a feelgood kind of vibe to it because the author loves to make the point that being imperfect, weird and not being always fine is okay. This really helped me cope and brought a smile to my face. Also, I kind of love the audiobook narration, it really adds to the book!