What To Read When You Need A Little Bit Of Positivity In Your Day

by Charlotte Ahlin
Hannah Burton for Bustle

Life can get very negative. Whether it's personal life drama, job woes, the daily news, or just reading too many tragic novels about beloved pets dying, we all feel down from time to time. And we all need the occasional dose of positivity (or sometimes we need a steady drip of positivity in an I.V.). I can't promise that these books will heal political strife in America, or make you forget about your ex, or pay off your debts to the I.R.S., but I can promise that they'll brighten your day. Here are a few lovely books I to read when I need a dose of positivity in my life.

I don't know about all the other book nerds out there, but whatever I'm reading affects my daily mood. When I'm reading a romance, I find myself staring longingly at hot people on the subway much more often. When I'm reading nonfiction, I do a whole lot more Wikipedia research. And when I'm reading something funny, or cheerful, or just plain positive, everything in life seems to be ever so slightly brighter. So if you need a short break from all the negativity in the world, here are a few books that always make me smile:


'Anne of Green Gables' by L.M. Montgomery

Anne Shirley is one of the most delightful characters in literature. She's a big hearted, occasionally awkward, redheaded orphan who runs around her charming Canadian town, making friends and getting into scrapes and wearing puffed sleeves. Anne of Green Gables is sure to remind you of all the warm and lovely things already in your life.

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'Why Not Me?' by Mindy Kaling

Why Not Me?, Mindy Kaling's second memoir, is just as funny as her first, with an extra dose of confidence. Kaling muses on celebrity, dating, and comedy, all with her signature, upbeat wit. Even when she's dealing with breakups or loss, Kaling manages to stay positive (or at the very least, hilarious).

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'The Alchemist' by Paulo Coelho

Some people love The Alchemist for being a simple, beautifully told story about following dreams. Other people hate The Alchemist for being a simple, beautifully told story about following dreams (when did dreams become so uncool?). But if you're looking for a genuine, snark-free ode to the power of the human heart, this book is utter perfection.

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'The Emergency Poet' by Deborah Alma

In need of some emergency poetry? Deborah Alma is an emergency poet, ready to heal all of your stress, sadness, and anxiety with this brilliant anthology of emergency poems. The poems are arranged by "ailment," but any one of them is sure to lift your mood. So take a deep breath, read a few poems, and don't let the unending vortex of stress get you down.

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'The Misadventures of Awkward Black Girl' by Issa Rae

You may recognize Issa Rae from her HBO show, Insecure. But before she was hilarious and insecure on television, she was hilarious and insecure on the internet, and in this wonderfully real book of essays. The Misadventures of Awkward Black Girl is the perfect book to read if you're suffering from excessive feelings of awkwardness, and you need to hang out with a friend who just gets it.

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'A Walk in the Woods' by Bill Bryson

Many people turn to nature when they need to calm down or cheer up. But why bother with bugs and sunburns when you could read Bill Bryson instead? A Walk in the Woods chronicles Bryson's adventures on the Appalachian Trial, and it's stuffed with charming anecdotes, fascinating facts, and a whole lot of wilderness fun.

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'Good Omens' by Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman

Yes, this book about the apocalypse is the exact dose of positivity that you need. Good Omens is the story of one anxious angel and one pretty cool demon who have accidentally misplaced the Anti-Christ. Whoops. What follows is off-the-wall hilarity, and maybe even a little bit of hope for humanity, as our divine and demonic heroes try to untangle the end of the world.

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'The Princess Bride' by William Goldman

True love! Sword fights! Puns! The Princess Bride is equal parts mushy romance and swashbuckling adventure. It's a loving send up of all things fantasy, and it's physically impossible to read it without at least cracking a smile. If you like brave princesses, dashing pirates, and happy endings, drop everything and read this book.

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The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin

What makes people happy? That's the mystery that Gretchen Rubin tries to untangle in The Happiness Project, a memoir of the year she spent trying to figure out this whole "happiness" thing. Whether or not Rubin's findings make you deliriously happy yourself, this book is sure to inspire you to inject a bit more positive thinking into your life (and maybe sing more in the mornings).

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'The Essential Calvin & Hobbes' by Bill Watterson

Calvin & Hobbes is probably as close to perfect as any piece of art can be. It tackles the great philosophical questions of the ages. It's tremendously funny. It's as if all the joy and frustration and scraped knees of childhood could be boiled down into one delightful friendship between a boy and his tiger. Calvin & Hobbes will always give you that extra dose of positivity, as well as some excellent advice on snowman building and carboard-box-based time travel.

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