Read a book described as feel-good, heartwarming, or hopeful.
June 1, 2021
Settle in with a nice cup of tea—and read something that makes you feel good! These books have all been described as described as feel-good, heartwarming, or hopeful.
This list is part of the 2021 Adult Summer Reading program.
The All-Girl Filling Station’s Last Reunion
Spanning decades, generations, and America in the 1940s and today, The All-Girl Filling Station’s Last Reunion is a fun-loving mystery about an Alabama woman today, and five women who in 1943 worked in a Phillips 66 gas station, during the WWII years.
Like Fannie Flagg’s classic Fried Green Tomatoes, this is a riveting, fun story of two families, set in present day America and during World War II, filled to the brim with Flagg’s trademark funny voice and storytelling magic.
Britt-Marie Was Here
Britt-Marie is a socially awkward, fussy busybody who is used to being organized. When she walks out on her cheating husband and gets a job as caretaker of the dilapidated recreation center in Borg, she is woefully unprepared for the changes. But as she takes on the task of leading the supremely untalented children’s soccer team to victory, she just might find a place she belongs.
Chronicles of a Radical Hag
When Haze Evans first appeared in the small-town newspaper, Granite Creek Gazette, she earned fans by writing a story about her bachelor uncle who brought a Queen of the Rodeo to Thanksgiving dinner. Now, fifty years later, when the beloved columnist suffers a massive stroke and falls into a coma, publisher Susan McGrath fills the void with Haze’s past columns and responses from readers.
As Haze’s story unfolds, Susan and her teenage son Sam—his summer job is reading the paper archives—discover secrets that have been locked in the files for decades, along with sad and surprising truths about Haze’s past.
Cottage by the Sea
Retreating to a Pacific Northwest haven after a tragedy, Annie bonds with a kindhearted local artist, her reclusive landlord and a troubled teen before an unexpected opportunity challenges her ambitions.
A Dog’s Way Home
W. Bruce Cameron
Lucas Ray is shocked when an adorable puppy jumps out of an abandoned building and into his arms. Though the apartment he shares with his mother, a disabled veteran, doesn’t allow dogs, Lucas can’t resist taking Bella home. Bella is inexplicably drawn to Lucas, even if she doesn’t understand the necessity of games like No Barks. As it becomes more difficult to hide her from the neighbors, Lucas begins to sneak Bella into the VA where he works. There, Bella brings joy and comfort where it is needed most.
After Bella is picked up by Animal Control because pit bulls are banned in Denver, Lucas has no choice but to send her to a foster home until he can figure out what to do. But Bella, distraught at the separation, doesn’t plan to wait. With four hundred miles of dangerous Colorado wilderness between her and her person, Bella sets off on a seemingly impossible and completely unforgettable adventure home.
Evvie Drake Starts Over
Young widow Evvie Drake and major league pitcher Dean Tenney, who has lost his game and needs a chance to reset his life, form an unlikely relationship when Dean moves into an apartment at the back of Evvie’s house.
A lonely handyman discovers new meaning in his life when he visits a dilapidated hotel in a war-torn country. He books a room at sparsely occupied Hotel Silence, which has definitely seen better days. Here, there’s no room service, the plumbing barely works, and the staff members seem distracted.
The House in the Cerulean Sea
Linus Baker leads a quiet, solitary life. At forty, he lives in a tiny house with a devious cat and his old records. As a Case Worker at the Department in Charge Of Magical Youth, he spends his days overseeing the well-being of children in government-sanctioned orphanages.
When Linus is unexpectedly summoned by Extremely Upper Management he’s given a curious and highly classified assignment: travel to Marsyas Island Orphanage, where six dangerous children reside: a gnome, a sprite, a wyvern, an unidentifiable green blob, a were-Pomeranian, and the Antichrist. Their caretaker is the charming and enigmatic Arthur Parnassus, who will do anything to keep his wards safe. As Arthur and Linus grow closer, long-held secrets are exposed, and Linus must make a choice: destroy a home or watch the world burn.
The Invisible Husband of Frick Island
Piper Parrish’s life on Frick Island is nearly perfect. Well, aside from one pesky detail: Her beloved husband, Tom, is dead. When Tom’s crab boat capsized and his body wasn’t recovered, Piper, rocked to the core, did a most peculiar thing: carried on as if her husband was not only still alive, but right there beside her, cooking him breakfast, walking him to the docks each morning, meeting him for their standard Friday night dinner date at the One-Eyed Crab. And what were the townspeople to do but go along with their beloved widowed Piper?
Anders Caldwell’s career is not going well. A young ambitious journalist, he’d rather hoped he’d be a national award-winning podcaster by now, rather than writing fluff pieces for a small town newspaper. But when he gets an assignment to travel to the remote Frick Island and cover their boring annual Cake Walk fundraiser, he stumbles upon a much more fascinating tale: an entire town pretending to see and interact with a man who does not actually exist.
The Keeper of Lost Things
Collecting things dropped or left behind by others and writing stories about them as a tribute to the fiancée who died the day he lost one of her keepsakes, a man bequeaths his estate to his unsuspecting assistant, who bonds with new neighbors while attempting to reunite the objects with their owners.
Last Bus to Wisdom
Rejected by his domineering great aunt during the summer of 1951, imaginative 11-year-old Donal travels back to his ailing grandmother’s home accompanied by his German great uncle while experiencing haphazard adventures along the way.
Long Way Gone
At the age of eighteen, musician and songwriter Cooper O’Connor took everything his father held dear and drove 1,200 miles from home to Nashville, his life riding on a six-string guitar and the bold wager that he had talent. But his wager soon proved foolish.
Five years after losing everything, he falls in love with Daley Cross, an angelic voice in need of a song. But just as he realizes his love for Daley, Cooper faces a tragedy that threatens his life as well as his career. With nowhere else to go, he returns to his remote home in the Colorado Mountains, searching for answers about his father and his faith. When Daley shows up on his street corner twenty years later, he wonders if it’s too late to tell her the truth about his past and if he is ready to face it.
Miracle at Augusta
After his unexpected PGA win catapults him to fame, Travis struggles with feelings of inadequacy in the face of personal setbacks before mentoring a promising teen outcast.
Natalie Tan’s Book of Luck and Fortune
At the news of her mother’s death, Natalie Tan returns home. The two women hadn’t spoken since Natalie left in anger seven years ago, when her mother refused to support her chosen career as a chef. Natalie is shocked to discover the vibrant neighborhood of San Francisco’s Chinatown that she remembers from her childhood is fading, with businesses failing and families moving out. She’s even more surprised to learn she has inherited her grandmother’s restaurant.
Unfortunately, Natalie has no desire to help them try to turn things around—she resents the local shopkeepers for leaving her alone to take care of her agoraphobic mother when she was growing up. But with the support of a surprising new friend and a budding romance, Natalie starts to realize that maybe her neighbors really have been there for her all along.
One Night Two Souls Went Walking
A young chaplain at a large medical center fears her “soul is broken,” though she hasn’t subscribed to any formal religion in years—she’s far too busy tending to the souls of her patients to do anything about her own. But strange things happen over the course of a single night shift, and interactions with patients in various states of consciousness and with various relationships to spirituality give her insight into her own life as they pinpoint our most human vulnerabilities and impulses.
There’s the former airport employee who never flew and, in his last moments of life, wants her to speak to him as if he’s in a plane that’s about to take off. The fifteen-year-old surfer who is the sole survivor of a rock-climbing accident and must now learn how to surf in his head. A frail elderly woman who has had a stroke and is unable to speak but does not want to be admitted. And the chaplain’s companions: a student researching out-of-body experiences, and a dog that may or may not be a ghost.
The Seaside Cafe
For three decades, the Seaside Café has served delicious meals to locals and island tourists alike. Kayana Johnson has moved home to help her brother run the café—and to nurse her wounds following a deep betrayal. Between cooking favorite recipes—creole chicken with buttermilk waffles, her grandmother’s famous mac and cheese—and spending time reading, Kayana is trying to embrace a life free of entanglements, while staying open to new connections.
After striking up conversation with two customers, Kayana suggests a summer book club. Each week, they’ll meet on the patio to talk about their favorite novels. But there are plot twists awaiting them in real life too. For schoolteacher Leah, this two-month sojourn is the first taste of freedom she’s had in her unhappy marriage. Cherie, filled with regret about her long-term affair with a married politician, discovers a powerful new passion. And Kayana finds a kindred spirit in a reclusive visitor who’s ready to make his true identity known, and fill this summer with new possibilities.
A Spool of Blue Thread
The changing needs of aging parents impact a family gathering during which Abby Whitshank relates how her husband and she fell in love during the summer of 1959 and shares decades of marriage impacted by children and long-held secrets.
A Street Cat Named Bob
And How He Saved My Life
When London street musician James Bowen found an injured cat curled up in the hallway of his apartment building, he had no idea how much his life was about to change.
The Sun Does Shine
Anthony Ray Hinton
In 1985, Anthony Ray Hinton was arrested and charged with two counts of capital murder in Alabama. Stunned, confused, and only twenty-nine years old, Hinton knew that it was a case of mistaken identity and believed that the truth would prove his innocence and ultimately set him free. But with no money and a different system of justice for a poor black man in the South, Hinton was sentenced to death by electrocution.
He spent his first three years on Death Row at Holman State Prison in agonizing silence—full of despair and anger toward all those who had sent an innocent man to his death. But as Hinton realized and accepted his fate, he resolved not only to survive, but find a way to live on Death Row. For the next twenty-seven years he was a beacon—transforming not only his own spirit, but those of his fellow inmates, fifty-four of whom were executed mere feet from his cell.
With the help of civil rights attorney and bestselling author of Just Mercy, Bryan Stevenson, Hinton won his release in 2015.
The Vineyard at Painted Moon
Mackenzie Dienes has a beautiful home, close friends and a successful career as an elite winemaker with her in-laws’ winery. Everything in her life is tied to her husband: his mother is the closest thing to a mom that she’s ever had, their home is on the family compound, his sister is her best friend.
So when she and her husband admit their marriage is over, her pain goes beyond heartbreak. She’s on the brink of losing her job, her home, her friends and, worst of all, her family. She can continue to work at the winery, be friends with her mother-in-law, hug her nieces and nephews—but as an employee, nothing more—or she can surrender every piece of her heart in order to build a legacy of her own. If she can dare to let go of the life she thought she wanted, she might discover something even more beautiful waiting for her beneath a painted moon.