I’ve just realized how much time I spend looking for good, upbeat, contemporary fiction.
My friend said she doesn’t want to read depressing books and did I have any to recommend, so I browsed my yearly lists of books read for happy fiction. I was surprised at how many serious titles were on there and how few cheery.
Pilcher and Heyer
I am always game to check out older books, as you know, and I find most fiction between about 1950 and 2000–women’s fiction, romance, mainstream–usually cheerful and positive enough to enjoy. Rosamunde Pilcher, a U.K. author of women’s fiction, and Georgette Heyer, who wrote humorous Victorian romances, are two authors that never let me down.
I think I’ve read every one of Pilcher’s books, except some of her volumes of short stories. The first one I read was Under Gemini, and I was hooked with the location and the warm, intricate treatment of characters’ relationships. The Shell Seekers and September are my favorites, and they are nice and long. Click here to read my review of Winter Solstice.
I do like to keep in touch with the new books, too. There are so many books to choose from, where do you begin? It can be overwhelming. I browse the categories on GoodReads and Amazon. But I like to hold a book and flip through it, so I browse bookstores and sometimes take snap shots of shelves with my cell phone, then try to find them at the library (it amazes me how many new books are in the library system!). The library, too, has its “New and Notable” shelves and racks of recommended reading, so I check out a lot of those.
Sometimes the new books I read are considered “important”. I certainly want to expand my mind and experience the lives and cultures of many of the contemporary authors. HOWEVER. What is with all the dark, negative fiction these days? Books or movies, I don’t know what has made it so popular, but it’s not popular with me.
I can get an important impression or message from a book without reeling at all the explicit details and closing the book feeling like I’ve gone through the wringer. I do wish authors would go back to being more subtle!
Contemporary books that bring a smile
When I want to clear my head, to do a re-set, I look for something intelligent, sunny, optimistic, and relaxing to read. But finding that is a challenge. I do a lot of searching shelves and online for good humorous fiction. Here are some of the fiction books I’ve read lately that have brought a smile, and provided an enjoyable, relaxed read.
Falling for June by Ryan Winfield
Calling Invisible Women by Jeanne Ray
Fanny Bower Puts herself out There by Julia Ariss (ebook)
Lunatics by Dave Barry and Alan Zweibel
Harriet Beamer Takes the Bus by Joyce Magnin
The Rosie Project and The Rosie Effect by Graeme Simsion
Sassy Cinderella and the Valiant Vigilante by Sharon Dunn
What a Girl Wants by Kristin Billerbeck
The Promise of Jenny Jones by Maggie Osborne
While browsing my library’s humor and other sections, I ran across plenty of funny non-fiction. Here are some that I thoroughly enjoyed.
You Can Date Boys When You’re Forty by Dave Barry
I Remember Nothing by Norah Ephron
Reasons My Kid is Crying by Greg Pembrooke
Around the World in 80 Dates by Jennifer Cox
Surely you’re Joking, Mr. Feynman by Richard Feynman (Nobel prize-winning physicist)
Contemporary books that are uplifting
And here are some more books on my recent Books Read lists that are not necessarily humorous, but are uplifting, intelligent and calming. All are fascinating accounts or stories of neighbors, family, goodness, kindness, and life-changes, without the cringe-factor.
The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows
Until the Harvest by Sarah Loudin Thomas (here’s my review–the author left a comment!)
Suncatchers and By the Light of a Thousand Stars by Jamie Langston Turner
Dewey: the Small Town Library Cat who Touched the World by Vicki Myron
Poems for a Good and Happy Life compiled by Myrna Reid Grant
What have you found?
Most importantly, if you’ve FOUND good upbeat contemporary fiction or non-fiction, PLEASE do share! I am sure that many people will appreciate it!
Photo credits: Pixabay and unsplash at Pexel.com