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16 of the most wholesome comfort reads for a hug from a book

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It’s always a good time to escape into a wholesome book and remind yourself of the best parts of life. But it can be easy to forget about all the heartwarming, comforting, and uplifting books in libraries and on bookshop shelves.

To offer a nudge in the right direction, I’ve been thinking of some of the most heartwarming books to help you step away from the anxieties of the world and enjoy some time for self-care, lighthearted writing, and uplifting stories.

Which of these wholesome books have you already read, and which ones can you add to your reading list?

Wholesome and heartwarming books for the best comfort reads

Recipe for a Kinder Life by Annie Smithers

Read Recipe for a Kinder Life for… a deeply nourishing book described by author and journalist Indira Naidoo as “like getting a big hug from your nanna”.

Part memoir, part meditation, and part guide to caring for the land, this wholesome and comforting book is full of practical advice and wisdom gleaned from a life dedicated to seasonal food, simplicity, and gentle living.

Darling by India Knight

Read Darling for… India Knight’s modern-day retelling of Nancy Mitford’s classic The Pursuit of Love. It’s a delightfully charming, funny, and witty comfort read (that’s perfect to enjoy in the bath).

I recently discovered this gem of a book and fell utterly, hopelessly in love with it. The novel isn’t without its tragedy (there’s one page you might want to rip out), but overall, I adored it.

Teenage Linda Radlett feels herself destined for greater things – and a love story that she absolutely won’t find in her family’s sprawling farmhouse in Norfolk.

She moves to London to become a model, but one day, feeling at her lowest, she spontaneously boards the Eurostar train to Paris where love and transformation await.

Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen

Read Pride and Prejudice for… the classic novel that’s beloved for a reason. Love stories don’t get more timeless than this.

Retreat into the pages of this classic feel-good book for the first time or the fiftieth and feel your heart defrost after a long winter. It’s a perfect comfort read.

Growing Goats and Girls: Living the Good Life on a Cornish Farm by Rosanne Hodin

Read Growing Goats and Girls for… a charming memoir of moving from bustling London to the picturesque Cornish countryside and taking up farming.

For escapism at its loveliest, pick up this delightful memoir – especially if you’ve always dreamed of buying a plot of land and buying a few goats.

This uplifting and heartwarming comfort read is a celebration of the simple things, new beginnings, and appreciating the comforts of nature and family life.

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows

Read The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society for… a wholesome and uplifting celebration of the written word and human connection. It’s a perfect comfort read.

Pick up this classic and remarkable tale of the island of Guernsey during the German occupation that’s written with warmth and humour as a series of letters.

The Boy, The Mole, The Fox and The Horse by Charlie Mackesy

Read The Boy, The Mole, The Fox and The Horse for… Charlie Mackesy’s comforting and beautifully illustrated modern classic about a curious boy, a greedy mole, a wary fox, and a wise horse.

“What do you want to be when you grow up?” asked the mole. “Kind,” said the boy.

In Charlie Mackesy’s delightfully wholesome comfort read, the characters find themselves together traversing uncertain ground while sharing their greatest fears and biggest discoveries about vulnerability, kindness, hope, friendship, and love.

I loved listening to the audiobook adaptation that’s read by the author and accompanied by music from Max Richter and Isobel Waller-Bridge as well as soothing wildlife sounds from rural England.

Farmhouse by Sophie Blackall

Read Farmhouse for… a wholesome picture book with cottagecore vibes to imagine a simpler, slower way of living in the countryside.

“Over a hill, at the end of a road, by a glittering stream that twists and turns stands a farmhouse…”

This stunning picture book from 2022 is one of the most beautiful children’s book gifts to treasure by Caldecott Medalist Sophie Blackall.

Readers young and grown can step inside the dollhouse-like interior of Farmhouse and savour the joyful daily life of the family that lives there, rendered in impeccable, cozy detail in this beautifully illustrated book.

Little Women by Louisa May Alcott

Read Little Women for… Louisa May Alcott’s wholesome story of four sisters: grown-up Meg, tomboyish Jo, timid Beth, and precocious Amy.

In this heartwarming book, the four March sisters couldn’t be more different. But with their father away at war, and their mother working to support the family, they have to rely on one another.

The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien

Read The Hobbit for… the classic story of adventure (and coziness) that Tolkien originally wrote for his children.

The Hobbit is the beloved tale of heading out on an adventure and not quite knowing what you’ll find, but finding the bravery to go anyway.

Read it to dive into Tolkien’s beautiful world of hobbits, Orcs, dwarves, and dragons, but also a wonderful dose of comfort and coziness, especially in The Shire.

How to Be a Good Creature: A Memoir in Thirteen Animals by Sy Montgomery

Read How to Be a Good Creature for… author Sy Montgomery’s wholesome memoir of her life with animals, complete with stunning illustrations and heartwarming life lessons.

In this welcome reminder of the beauty of life, Montgomery beautifully shares the bond she has grown with pigs, dogs, and even an octopus during her life so far – as well as the plethora of ways they have helped her to be a good creature, too.

The House in the Cerulean Sea by TJ Klune

Read The House in the Cerulean Sea for… one of the most hopeful and wholesome books of the last few years (and a particularly popular recommendation on the booksish corners of Reddit).

“It’ll leave you feeling all warm and fuzzy” wrote Reddit user cargogal20 about The House in the Cerulean Sea.

There’s no drama in this uplifting feel-good book (or modern fairytale) about forty-year-old Linus Baker and the orphanage of six uniquely talented children he’s put in charge of under a highly classified assignment.

The No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency by Alexander McCall Smith

Read No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency for… one of the best comfort reads to enjoy again and again.

If you’ve got a problem that no one else can help you with, then pay a visit to Precious Ramotswe, Botswana’s only – and finest – female private detective. This is the classic cozy mystery series (and with 24 books, it’ll keep you busy for a while).

Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery

Anne of Green Gables

Read Anne of Green Gables for… the classic story of everyone’s favourite red-headed orphan. You can’t help but fall in love with her and this delight of a book.

This is the beloved story of Anne finding her place in the world, as well as a celebration of new beginnings, second chances, and noticing the beauty of the world around us.

Dandelion Wine by Ray Bradbury

Read Dandelion Wine for… one of the best “hug in a book” choices for when the world is unpredictable and anxiety-inducing.

Ray Bradbury’s fictionalized memoir harks back to an idyllic small-town summer of 1928, told through the eyes of the colourful characters who inhabit it.

Legends and Lattes by Travis Baldree

Legends & Lattes book

Read Legends & Lattes for… a book where slice-of-life meets cozy fantasy about an Orc Warrior who opens a coffee shop.

If you’re looking for a quirky and charming bookLegends & Lattes is a fun, comfy and lighthearted read about following your dreams into new and unfamiliar places.

Genevieve Gornichec, author of The Witch’s Heart, writes: “Take a break from epic battles and saving the world. Legends & Lattes is a low-stakes fantasy that delivers exactly what’s advertised: a wholesome, cozy novel that feels like a warm hug. This is my new comfort read.”

The Travelling Cat Chronicles by Hiro Arikawa

Read The Travelling Cat Chronicles for… a gem of a book that works its way into your heart as a heartwarming and life-affirming celebration of how the smallest things can provide the greatest joy.

In The Travelling Cat Chronicles, author Hiro Arikawa gives voice to Nana the cat and his owner, Satoru, as they take to the road to visit three of Satoru’s longtime friends.

However, the plan turns out to be different than Nana was led to expect. Along the way – and as the seasons and scenery change as they make their way across Japan – they will learn the true meaning of love, courage, and gratitude.

More of the most wholesome books:

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