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

The Offing

Benjamin Myers

The Shanghai Union of Industrial Mystics

Nury Vittachi

The Girl Who Was Saturday Night

Heather O'Neill

Ella Minnow Pea

Mark Dunn

Landing Gear

Kate Pullinger

Half Blood Blues

Esi Edugyan

Before the Coffee Gets Cold

Toshikazu Kawaguchi

The Understudy

David Nicholls

Things My Mother Told Me

Tanya Attapattu

The Altogether Unexpected Disappearance of Atticus Craftsman

Mamen Sanchez

A Madness of Angels

Kate Griffin

The Wine of Angels

Phil Rickman

Man's World

Rupert Smith

Pride, Prejudice and Jasmin Field

Melissa Nathan

Loving Sabotage

Amelie Nothomb

The Dawning

Karin Kallmaker

Dona Nicanora's Hat Shop

Kirstan Hawkins

A Guide to the Birds of East Africa

Nicholas Drayson

A Handful of Manhood

Gaby Hauptmann

Spencer's List

Lissa Evans

Always You, Edina

V G Lee

On the Floor

Aifric Campbell

The Red Notebook

Antoine Laurain

The Page Turner

David Leavitt

Sound Archive

Nerys Williams

Tell No One

Harlan Coben


Chris Keil

The Year of the Ladybird

Graham Joyce

The Marriage Bureau for Rich People

Farahad Zama

Three Bags Full

Leonie Swann

Hotel Bosphorus

Esmahan Aykol

A Woman of Africa

Nick Roddy

The Funnies

J.Robert Lennon

Losing It

Ranjit Bolt

The Yellow Eyes of Crocodiles

Katherine Pancol

Ada's Rules

Alice Randall

Fish Change Direction in Cold Weather

Pierre Szalowski

A Ghost's Story

Lorna Gibb

Winona's Web

Priscilla Cogan

Ten Steps to Happiness

Daisy Waugh


Eshkol Nevo

The Funny Side: 101 Humorous Poems

Wendy Cope

Various Pets Alive and Dead

Marina Lewycka

This is Life

Dan Rhodes


Gina Apostol

My Father's Wives

Jose Eduardo Agualusa

Upstairs in the Tent

Cynthia Rogerson

Marilyn and Me

Shanta Everington

Old Baggage

Lissa Evans

Waltzing the Cat

Pam Houston