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10 Books That Make Us Happy for International Day of Happiness

Saturday 20th March is the International Day of Happiness, which began in 2013 when the United Nations recognised the importance of happiness and well-being for everyone around the world. A number of different surveys have confirmed that reading makes you happier and at LoveReading we most definitely agree! Soaking up the feeling of contentment that comes from reading a book you love is just wonderful. While we realise that each person’s gleeful reading place is very much their own and can span many different genres, we have gathered together a joyful and eclectic mix of ten books for you. If you are in need of a pick-me-up, then we can recommend choosing one of these, and we hope they make you as happy as they have us.

All Good Things

All Good Things

Author: Stephen Ellcock Format: Hardback Release Date: 17/10/2019

I must confess that I exclaimed with delight when I saw All Good Things for the first time. It is fabulously described as “a treasury of images to uplift the spirits and reawaken wonder”. The size is perfect, the cover divinely enticing, and it just beckoned me in. I simply sank into the pages of the most beautiful images of art from around the world and through time. You may already have heard of, or indeed follow Stephen Ellcock on social media. Over the last ten years he has shared his images with the world. And we have taken them to our heart. Here he “explores our world and the human response to it one realm at a time”, and so we visit various realms from ‘The Face of the Water’, through to ‘The Human Realm’ and ‘Gods and Monsters’. The images and their explanations sit patiently, just waiting for you to turn the page. I have quite fallen in love with this book, it is gorgeous. September Publishing has created a little masterpiece, and it has been chosen as a LoveReading Star Book and one of my picks of the month. All Good Things is a treasure of a treasury and would make the most perfect gift (but make sure you keep a copy for yourself!). Explore our '80+ Books That Deliver a Hug' listicle for more feel-good or uplifting books.

Star Books
Where We Belong

Where We Belong

Author: Anstey Harris Format: Paperback Release Date: 27/05/2021

Oh, this is almost too gorgeous for words, thoughtful and full of emotion, it’s a simply wonderful story that connected to my heart and soul. Cate Morris has no option other than to leave everything she knows and move to Hatters with her son Leo, will they be welcomed with open arms? Anstey Harris writes with beautiful eloquence, her debut novel The Truths of Triumphs of Grace Atherton was one of my picks of the month and a LoveReading Star Book, and I’ll let you into a not so secret secret, Where we Belong is too. I was completely charmed by the first sentence, settled in with joy and then the end of chapter one caused me to take a deep breath. This is emotionally intelligent writing and perfectly timed reveals of information lay in wait. Hatters Museum of the Wide Wide World is just lovely, do I want to go there? Yes I most certainly do, so was captivated to learn that it is based on a real location. Where We Belong bewitched me with its secrets and beauty, Anstey Harris really is the most wonderful storyteller and I salute her. Explore our '80+ Books That Deliver a Hug' listicle for more feel-good or uplifting books.

Star Books
Barn Club

Barn Club

Author: Robert Somerville Format: Hardback Release Date: 11/03/2021

Our March 2021 Book Club Recommendation Click here to see our Reading Group Questions. This is such a welcoming and warming read with community spirit, traditional craft, and the environment at its heart. Author Robert J Somerville was commissioned to build an elm barn by hand in Hertfordshire. Over the course of a year volunteers gathered together to help build the barn, and this is the story. There are so many positive elements to this read. A community of volunteers come together to: “teach, practice and celebrate skilled rural craftsmanship”. And while Dutch elm disease has decimated our Elm population, there is hope for the trees survival. As Robert Somerville says: “Elm is a species that suffered a major pandemic, but its incredible determination to survive prevails. Elm is proving itself to be a tree with an enduring life force, and, to my mind, is an appropriate icon for getting closer to nature, the resurgence in making things by hand and for bringing old skills back to life”. The book contains a myriad of interesting illustrations and photos as well as the story from concept to raising of the barn. At a time when community really matters, when our environment needs love and nurturing, Barn Club echoes with all that is good. It is a wonderful read that lightened my spirits and made me smile.   

Star Books
The Lost Spells

The Lost Spells

Author: Robert Macfarlane, Jackie Morris Format: Hardback Release Date: 01/10/2020

A seriously beautiful, absolute treasure of a book which is just as magical and bewitching as its big sister The Lost Words. Read, chant, feel each spell-poem by Robert Macfarlane and sink into the artwork by Jackie Morris, each giving life to the other. I was haunting my postbox waiting for this to arrive, suitable for any age it would be the perfect present for any lover of our natural world. It isn’t in the slightest bit fluffy (as the barn owl declares), instead you’ll find the most vibrantly real and alive book awaits you. Jackie Morris and Robert Macfarlane make the most wonderful combination of words and pictures together, each part without the other would be lost, together they just create magic. The fox, both city and countryside dweller is the perfect start, the jackdaw leapt into my heart and was conjured in front of me, while the last spell sent a shiver skittering down my arms. This is a book to tell your friends about, I’ve read the poems to family and friends and I will be thrilled when I see it on their bookshelves. Yes, of course I adored it, once again I have lost my heart to a creation of the team behind The Lost Words. It just had to be one of my picks of the month, and a LoveReading star book too, it really is that gorgeous.

Star Books
Nala's World

Nala's World

Author: Dean Nicholson Format: Hardback Release Date: 29/09/2020

If you need a slice of pick-me-up then stop right here. Dean Nicholson is famous on social media as 1bike1world. His original aim to cycle solo around the world changed when he rescued abandoned kitten Nala and she joined him on his travels. The book charts his and Nala’s story and contains some squeezably lovely photos too. It seems as though Dean is still in shock at how quickly people took to his story (their instagram page at the time of writing sits at 810k followers). Dean comes across as completely down to earth and appreciative of the small things in life, the things that actually matter and mean the world. He has seen the very best of people, while also bearing witness to the sorrowful treatment of animals by some. Dean has raised a huge amount for charity since Nala came into his life. She is one photogenic cat, and her utter trust and love for Dean shines through. A hugely glorious bundle of feel-good, Nala’s World comes with beaming smiles of recommendation from me. Chosen as a LoveReading Star Book, this would make a perfect gift for a loved one (don’t forget to buy a copy for yourself too!). Explore our '80+ Books That Deliver a Hug' listicle for more feel-good or uplifting books.

Star Books
The Lido

The Lido

Author: Libby Page Format: Paperback Release Date: 04/04/2019

April 2018 Debut of the Month Ahh, this is just so, so lovely… a debut that made me smile, weep, and smile some more. Rosemary is 86, she has lived in Brixton all her life, watching as Brixton has changed a building at a time, from fruit and veg shops to trendy bars. 26 year old journalist Kate is surrounded by people, yet feels completely and utterly alone, when the local lido is threatened by closure, an alliance and unexpected friendship is formed. Libby Page has a lovely quick-witted, gently quirky writing style, surprising me with observations and unexpected detail (adored the fox!). I loved travelling through memories, getting to know Rosemary and Kate, and seeing the small snapshots of the lives they touch. While it is a truly beautiful read, part of the beauty is in the emotion I felt, pain and heartache is embraced, hugged, soothed. ‘The Lido’ is a deliciously warm and entertaining slice of wonderful, and I absolutely adored it.

Star Books
Lion

Lion

Author: Mark Adlington Format: Hardback Release Date: 07/12/2020

Click to read our Q&A with Mark Adlington A book to fall totally and irretrievably in love with, Lion is full of the most gorgeous paintings, drawings, and sketches, and is absolutely stunning. The lion, an apex predator, is surely one of the most beautiful sights you can see. When I was 19 I found myself in Kenya, eyes wide, mouth open as I watched a lioness and three cubs at a water hole. It is something that is as clear to me now as it was then, so, when I saw this book was going to be published, I was first in the LoveReading queue. Here we journey together with Mark Adlington as he studies lions in East and Southern Africa. The foreword by the winner of the Prince William Award for Conservation in Africa and Co-Founder and Director of Operations at the Big Life Foundation, Richard Bonham, is effusive in its praise of Mark Adlington. It comes with a warning, that lions do not make good neighbours, and “where humans and wildlife compete, wildlife will surely lose”. However all is not: “doom and gloom… in the Amboseli ecosystem, by 2003 there were only 25 lions left… today, things have changed and the population has clawed itself back to over 200”. Mark has painted the progeny of the lions this programme has saved, and they appear in this dazzlingly impressive book. Mark describes meeting Richard and his wife Tara as a miracle: “I found myself invited to stay ‘in the most beautiful part of Kenya’ by a total stranger on the strength of a little sketch of a lion cub posted on instagram”. Mark also allows us access to his sketchbook musings (oh, the tortoise!), and finishes by saying that a world without the lion is unimaginable. What then follows is page after page of the most beautiful artwork, and this is where my mouth dropped open. Each piece is so full of character and movement, so vibrantly alive, that it brought tears to my eyes. The art is allowed to shine, no page numbers or captions to distract, you can simply sink into the beauty of the lion. So, Lion is a book to take pride of place on your bookshelves, a book to return to and open with wonder, to sit with eyes wide and heart open, to adore. Undoubtedly one of my personal books of the year, Lion just had to join our LoveReading Star Books and is of course one of my Liz Picks of the Month. 

Star Books
Friends: A Poem for Every Day of the Year

Friends: A Poem for Every Day of the Year

Author: Jane McMorland Hunter Format: Hardback Release Date: 26/09/2019

Here you can discover a truly lovely collection of poems celebrating friendship. With 365 on offer, you can read one a day for a year, or splurge out and just read until sated. Can I say how visually gorgeous this book is, both inside and out! Friends sits so well alongside its sister A Nature Poem for Every Day of the Year, and here is where I admit to stroking the cover when I first picked it up (stroking beautiful books is absolutely, in fact more than fine in my opinion). Edited by Jane McMorland Hunter, each poem focuses on the special nature of friendship and each month is preceded by a lovely illustration by Tatiana Boyko. In her introduction she examines the different types of friendship, from marriage, to a connection with or between animals. Also contained within are some extracts from essays, novels, plays, and diaries. I found some of my favourite poets, including Christina Rossetti, William Blake, and Edward Lear, there really is the most huge variety on offer here! Friends A Poem For Every Day Of The Year called out to me, it made me smile, it is a book I will treasure, and dip into again and again. It really would make the most perfect present (alongside its sister) and I can highly recommend it.

The Fox and the Star

The Fox and the Star

Author: Coralie Bickford-Smith Format: Hardback Release Date: 27/08/2015

One of our Books of the Year 2015. November 2015 Debut of the Month. Oh, this is such a charming and gloriously delightful short tale, about friendship, facing your fears and looking beyond the obvious. The Fox and the Star is a visually stunning story book and would make a perfect present (for others of any age, or yourself!). As soon as you touch the cover, you know that you are holding something special, it reminds me of the Arts and Crafts period, where love and attention was bestowed on every individual piece. The paper is lusciously thick and beautiful, the illustrations are fabulous, mostly black, grey and blue with occasional vibrant splashes of rich orangey red and yellow. Each time you look there is something different to catch your eye, from a scurrying beetle to a hidden rabbit. The striking illustrations wrap around, through and under the text, becoming at one with the words. Coralie Bickford-Smith, an award-winning designer, encourages the story to become a living tangible thing, making this is a book for your forever shelf, it is quite simply, a book to love and cherish. PS: Make sure you see the short video clip in the synopsis as it reveals a tantalising glimpse of the beauty of this book.  Explore our '80+ Books That Deliver a Hug' listicle for more feel-good or uplifting books.

Debut Books of the Month
Making it Up as I Go Along

Making it Up as I Go Along

Author: Marian Keyes Format: Paperback Release Date: 06/10/2016

‘Making It Up As I Go Along’ was just as I imagined it would be, warm, honest, lovely, funny and highly entertaining. This is a collection of articles written by Marian Keyes, some previously published, some not, from health and beauty, to things she loves, to people she has met. The Lexicon at the beginning of the book is an extremely informative and chuckle inducing read and you can learn the meaning of various words including ‘agin’ and ‘craythur’. As Marian herself says, this is a book you can start wherever takes your fancy and you can dip in and out along the way. You know you really love a book when you insist on reading the good bits out loud to whoever happens to be closest to you at that time, my husband has consequently heard almost as much as I’ve read. I now feel as though I know Marian, enough indeed, to know that even though tempted, I wouldn't want to stow away in one of her suitcases when she travels to far flung places with ‘Himself’, and thats because her luggage so often goes walkabout/missing at airports. Oh, and I probably wouldn't want to go shoe shopping with her either! Click here to read some of Marian's hilariously candid and heartfelt observations on modern life… Explore our '80+ Books That Deliver a Hug' listicle for more feel-good or uplifting books.

eBooks of the Month

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