A Dose of Delight: Top 10 Feel-Good Books of All Time

Life is a special gift from God. Every moment on this earth ought to be celebrated. More often than not, we take life for granted. In our quest to build a better future, we tend to neglect the present moment. The daily humdrum of our regular life gives us little time to spend on ourselves. We forget that to lead a truly meaningful life, it is very important to feel good in the moment. However, feeling good is not always a piece of cake. A long day of hard work might exhaust us and make us feel that there is very little in life that can make us happy. So, it is up to us to look up things that will keep reminding us about the beauty of humanity.

Reading is one of the most effective ways to make us happy. We can always get lost in the pages of an engaging book and find ourselves entranced in a world eons away from reality. We can traverse across time and space and live a hundred different lives in only a matter of hours.

Let us have a look at ten spectacular books that have been making millions of people happy over the years.

The Original Enemies-to-Lovers Classic

Book: Pride and Prejudice

Author: Jane Austen


When Pride and Prejudice came out in 1813, little did Jane Austen know that her novel would reign supreme for centuries to come.  It is a classic that everyone around the world is familiar with. With countless retellings both in print and on screen, it has proved to be one of the most enduring literary pieces. Austen takes us on a regency romp and transports us to the world of the Bennets, Darcys, and Bingleys. The vivacious Elizabeth Bennet and the brooding Mr. Fitzwilliam Darcy’s dynamic love story and the sweet romance between the gentle Jane Bennet and the upbeat Mr. Charles Bingley always manage to make the heart flutter no matter how many times we read the book. Add to that the social politics of the day, and we have a winner. Indeed, every time I find myself in the pages of Austen’s book, “I am the happiest creature in the world.”

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A Heart-Touching Coming-of-Age Tale

Book: Anne of Green Gables

Author: L.M. Montgomery

Montgomery Anne of Green Gables

Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery is an optimistic novel that always manages to lift your spirits. The 1908 classic follows the precocious orphan, Anne Shirley, as she is mistakenly sent to live with the middle-aged siblings, Matthew and Marilla Cuthbert. Originally intending to adopt a boy, the Curthberts’ lives are changed with the arrival of eleven-year-old Anne. The beloved classic masterfully depicts a child’s dreams, expectations, vulnerability, and a longing to find a place for oneself. The popularity of the coming-of-age tale led to many translations, sequels, theatre adaptations, animations, movies, and TV series. In fact, Netflix recently came up with a beautiful on-screen rendition of the story.

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A Romp in Childhood

Book: The Adventures of Tom Sawyer

Author: Mark Twain

Tom Sawyer 1876 frontispiece

Mark Twain was a master storyteller. He knew the way to a child’s heart. His books describing boyhood trysts never get old. The Adventures of Tom Sawyer is one such timeless classic. Published in 1876, it follows orphaned troublemaker, Tom, and his friends as they raise hell in their quaint Southern hometown. The hilarious adventures undertaken by the boys are still fresh in the mind for most of us. The book reminds us of a time when things were a lot less complicated. Though it did not do that well upon its initial release, the book went on to reach cult status. Tom starred in many of Twain’s later books, including The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. It is indeed a treat to read Mark Twain’s various books that always remind us of the complex simplicity of childhood.

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Family, Survival & Love

Book: Little Women

Author: Louisa May Alcott

Houghton AC85.Aℓ194L.1869 pt.2aa - Little Women, title

Little Women by Louisa May Alcott is a heart-warming tale of love, sisterhood, and growing up. The March family is adrift when their father leaves to fight in the Civil War. Left alone, the women do everything in their power to survive. Though radically different, the March sisters are united through their love for each other. Jo’s aspiration to be an author, Meg’s often selfless love, Beth’s sweetness, and Amy’s vivaciousness endear them to readers of all ages. The bond of the five sisters in the face of hardship reminds us of the value of family. This is one book that would make a great read for the whole family. If by some chance, you are not in the mood to read, you can always catch up with the March family by watching any of the numerous film or television adaptations.

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Fun with Furry Friends

Book: The Wind in the Willows

Author: Kenneth Grahame

Kenneth Grahame’s The Wind in the Willows is a beloved children’s book that never grows old. The illustrated tale of Mole, Mr. Toad, Badger, and Ratty takes you on a nostalgic trip down memory lane and reminds you of all your childhood shenanigans. Penned in 1908, the endearing classic was based on the bedtime stories that Grahame narrated to his son. Though it was not that well-received after its first publication, it has now become one of the stalwarts of British children’s literature.

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A Fun Misadventure on the River

Book: Three Men in a Boat

Author: Jerome K. Jerome

Jerome K. Jerome’s Three Men in a Boat was one of my assigned readings back in school. I had no notion about how much I was going to enjoy this feel-good novel for years to come when I first started reading it. The 1889 river romp makes for a great escape during a monotonous weekend. It follows J, George, and Harris as they decide to take a two-week boating trip up the Thames. They could never anticipate the troubles that awaited them. With two-ropes, unreliable weather forecasts, pineapple chunks, and the shenanigans of J’s dog, Montmorency, they are indeed in for the jaunt of a lifetime. One of the most special aspects of this book is its sense of humor. Even though the story was penned in the 1800s, the jokes still have the ability to make you double over with laughter. Fun fact, if you are in London or thinking to visit the city anytime soon, you can easily recreate J and his friends’ river adventure as most of the route remains unchanged.

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It’s Never Too Late to Change

Book: The Secret Garden

Author: Frances Hodgson Burnett

Houghton AC85 B9345 911s - Secret Garden, 1911 - cover

Being a child is as hard as raising one. Even when parents do their best to fulfill the material demands of the kids, they sometimes tend to overlook their psychological needs. We often find children belonging to the upper class to be snooty and spoiled. They appear unhappy though they seem to have everything. Frances Hodgson Burnett’s 1911 novel, The Secret Garden, shows the importance of love and kindness in a child’s life. The feisty spoiled girl, Mary Lennox, and the sickly unwanted boy, Colin Craven, transform into nurturing and kind children, all thanks to a secret garden. This childhood classic is a sweet novel that delivers some power-packed lessons.

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Wonders, Wands & Wizards

Book: Alice in Wonderland

Author: Lewis Carroll

Alice's Adventures in Wonderland cover (1865)

Lewis Carroll created a masterpiece with Alice in Wonderland. The 1865 children’s tale is one of the best examples of nonsense literature. It follows young Alice as she falls through a rabbit hole and finds herself in a fantasy world filled with magical creatures. John Tenniel’s wood-engraved illustrations add a mystical vibe to the book. With 174 translations and countless film and television adaptations, Alice’s journey continues to delight children and adults alike to this day. 

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Time for Some Mystery

Book: The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes

Author: Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

Adventures of sherlock holmes

Well, who doesn’t enjoy a good mystery? Putting on our detective hats and going out on intriguing missions with our beloved detective is bound to be one of the best ways to unwind. Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes gives us the perfect opportunity to don our sleuthing hats. First published in 1892, the collection of twelve short stories follows Holmes and Watson as they unravel some tough cases. These stories are some of the earliest tales of our favorite detective duo.

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Opposites Attract

Book: North and South

Author: Elizabeth Gaskell

North and South

Set during Britain’s Industrial Period, Elizabeth Gaskell’s 1854 novel, North and South, follows posh society girl, Margaret Hale, as she is uprooted from the tranquil setting of her southern hometown, Helston, and compelled to live in the northern manufacturing town, Milton. The crass factory-smoke-filled atmosphere of their new home does not suit the tastes of Margaret and her mother. Moreover, she clashes with the self-made industrialist, John Thornton, as soon as she meets him. With time, Margaret begins to sympathize with the working class members. Her involvement with the mill-workers’ strike brings her closer to John. This Victorian tale is a must-read for anyone who likes a good romance set in the background of social justice. The BBC rendition of this classic piece of literature is sure to appeal to fans of the genre. Both the book and the television series lead to a feeling of delightful contentment.

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With the dark shadow of the pandemic still looming, we all need a little something to make ourselves feel better. Books are the ideal way to lift our spirits. They are our best friends after all. Even if for a little while, books can help us escape reality and live in a world of giddiness and happiness. Hence, here I am with a list of some amazing feel-good books of all time.

Note: All images used in this post are in the public domain.

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