Gentle books to slow things down

Gentle is a positive emotion – not a passive one. When we look for a gentle read, we are often searching for a story full of compassion and humanity – a story that will reveal that there are good people in the world who choose to live their lives at a slower pace and value relationships that thrive on tenderness and kindness.

Gentle books are often charming and delightful in their settings, celebrating a quiet existence with pleasing descriptions and moderate language. Others are heart-warming, delighting in sympathetic characters who become almost friends. And then there are life’s misfits – often the central focus of these stories - who tread a different path, but with gentle courage, charm and perseverance. These have become our literary heroes – and you will meet many within the pages of this selection.

Search for books by Mood & Emotion

Another Gulmohar Tree

Aamer Hussein

Apocalypse for Beginners

Nicholas Dickner

The Bookish Life of Nina Hill

Abbi Waxman

The Shieling

David Constantine

Ugly Duckling

Amita Mukerjee


Julian Fellowes

Dona Nicanora's Hat Shop

Kirstan Hawkins

The Buffalo Thief

Yojana Sharma

Dressing Up for the Carnival

Carol Shields

The Sad Truth About Happiness

Anne Giardini

11 Emerald Street

Hugh O'Donnell

The End of the Alphabet

C S Richardson

Ada's Rules

Alice Randall

Fish Change Direction in Cold Weather

Pierre Szalowski

Heaven and Hell

Jon Kalman Stefansson

The Uncommon Reader

Alan Bennett

Three Bags Full

Leonie Swann

The Funnies

J.Robert Lennon

Brendel's Fantasy

Gunther Freitag

Some Things Matter: 63 Sonnets

James Nash

The Page Turner

David Leavitt


Lily Prior

The Opposite of Falling

Jennie Rooney

The Marriage Bureau for Rich People

Farahad Zama

Seating Arrangements

Maggie Shipstead

Of Things Gone Astray

Janina Matthewson

The Offing

Benjamin Myers


Kathleen Tessaro


Andrew Sean Greer

River, Cross My Heart

Breena Clarke

Faces on the Tip of My Tongue

Emmanuelle Pagano

Touchy Subjects

Emma Donoghue

The Hope Family Calendar

Mike Gayle

The Girls

Lori Lansens


Anita Brookner


Eleanor Bailey

Before the Coffee Gets Cold

Toshikazu Kawaguchi

The Short Day Dying

Peter Hobbs

Things My Mother Told Me

Tanya Attapattu

Footnotes to Sex

Mia Farlane

Perfect Tense

Michael Bracewell


Chris Keil

Taking Off Emily Dickinson's Clothes

Billy Collins

The Elegance of the Hedgehog

Muriel Barbery


Paul Harding

Pages for Her

Sylvia Brownrigg

Winona's Web

Priscilla Cogan

The School of Night

Alan Wall

The Dawning

Karin Kallmaker

Philosophy Made Simple

Robert Hellenga