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

Three Bags Full

Leonie Swann


Julian Fellowes

Apocalypse for Beginners

Nicholas Dickner


Paul Harding

The Hope Family Calendar

Mike Gayle

Another Gulmohar Tree

Aamer Hussein

Perfect Tense

Michael Bracewell

Ugly Duckling

Amita Mukerjee


Anita Brookner

Brendel's Fantasy

Gunther Freitag


Andrew Sean Greer

Footnotes to Sex

Mia Farlane

The Shieling

David Constantine

Some Things Matter: 63 Sonnets

James Nash


Chris Keil

Seating Arrangements

Maggie Shipstead

Dona Nicanora's Hat Shop

Kirstan Hawkins

The End of the Alphabet

C S Richardson

Philosophy Made Simple

Robert Hellenga

The Sad Truth About Happiness

Anne Giardini

The Offing

Benjamin Myers

Faces on the Tip of My Tongue

Emmanuelle Pagano


Eleanor Bailey

The Elegance of the Hedgehog

Muriel Barbery

Before the Coffee Gets Cold

Toshikazu Kawaguchi

Things My Mother Told Me

Tanya Attapattu

Winona's Web

Priscilla Cogan

Touchy Subjects

Emma Donoghue

The Girls

Lori Lansens

The Bookish Life of Nina Hill

Abbi Waxman

The Dawning

Karin Kallmaker

The Marriage Bureau for Rich People

Farahad Zama

River, Cross My Heart

Breena Clarke

Taking Off Emily Dickinson's Clothes

Billy Collins

11 Emerald Street

Hugh O'Donnell

Ada's Rules

Alice Randall

Fish Change Direction in Cold Weather

Pierre Szalowski

The Page Turner

David Leavitt

Of Things Gone Astray

Janina Matthewson

The Buffalo Thief

Yojana Sharma

The School of Night

Alan Wall

Pages for Her

Sylvia Brownrigg

The Opposite of Falling

Jennie Rooney

Heaven and Hell

Jon Kalman Stefansson

The Funnies

J.Robert Lennon


Kathleen Tessaro


Lily Prior

Dressing Up for the Carnival

Carol Shields

The Short Day Dying

Peter Hobbs

The Uncommon Reader

Alan Bennett