Books to give you hope

The desire to read optimistic books is maybe an indication of the times we live in. Hope is more powerful than happy – it’s purposeful. People work to make hope happen – and that generates a broad collection of books for a wide range of reading tastes all united by a confident optimism.

Hope can be bubbly – enthusiastic and effervescent. The characters who populate some of these stories are infectious in their positivity. We not talking Pollyanna ray of sunshine – the books collected here are more subtle and three dimensional in their pursuit of hope.

Other writers here convey that they know that life isn’t a bed of roses, but they stay sanguine, they keep faith and move forwards. You can trust that the ending will have something positive and leave you feeling cheered.

Hopeful books offer a sense of perspective. They allow us to take stock, assess where we are and where we might go next on our journeys – physical, emotional, spiritual. There is a buoyancy that keeps those in peril bobbing above the waves - confident they will see the shore again. So if you are looking for the literary equivalent of ‘chicken soup for the soul’ – pause here, browse and be of good cheer.

Search for books by Mood & Emotion

Ada's Rules

Alice Randall

Fish Change Direction in Cold Weather

Pierre Szalowski

The Shanghai Union of Industrial Mystics

Nury Vittachi

The Offing

Benjamin Myers

Before the Coffee Gets Cold

Toshikazu Kawaguchi

Things My Mother Told Me

Tanya Attapattu

Pride, Prejudice and Jasmin Field

Melissa Nathan

The Dawning

Karin Kallmaker

The Marriage Bureau for Rich People

Farahad Zama

Hotel Bosphorus

Esmahan Aykol

The Year of the Ladybird

Graham Joyce

Half Blood Blues

Esi Edugyan

Dona Nicanora's Hat Shop

Kirstan Hawkins

Tell No One

Harlan Coben


Chris Keil

The Girl Who Was Saturday Night

Heather O'Neill

A Woman of Africa

Nick Roddy

Landing Gear

Kate Pullinger

The Funnies

J.Robert Lennon

A Madness of Angels

Kate Griffin

The Altogether Unexpected Disappearance of Atticus Craftsman

Mamen Sanchez

Various Pets Alive and Dead

Marina Lewycka

Ten Steps to Happiness

Daisy Waugh

A Handful of Manhood

Gaby Hauptmann

The Yellow Eyes of Crocodiles

Katherine Pancol

The Understudy

David Nicholls

Sound Archive

Nerys Williams

Ella Minnow Pea

Mark Dunn

Always You, Edina

V G Lee

A Guide to the Birds of East Africa

Nicholas Drayson


Eshkol Nevo

The Wine of Angels

Phil Rickman

The Page Turner

David Leavitt

Man's World

Rupert Smith

Spencer's List

Lissa Evans

On the Floor

Aifric Campbell

The Funny Side: 101 Humorous Poems

Wendy Cope

A Ghost's Story

Lorna Gibb

Three Bags Full

Leonie Swann

Loving Sabotage

Amelie Nothomb

Losing It

Ranjit Bolt

The Red Notebook

Antoine Laurain

Winona's Web

Priscilla Cogan

Marilyn and Me

Shanta Everington


Gina Apostol

My Secret Lover

Imogen Parker

I Do Not Come to You By Chance

Adaobi Tricia Nwaubani

Only in America

Dominic Holland

Parzival and the Stone from Heaven

Lindsay Clarke

Coastal Treasure

Mark Alan Griffis