Inspirational books to fill you with feels over the holidays

Are you feeling like you need a pinch more holiday cheer in your life? Well then I got you, sister.

Some people get in that especially festive mood thanks to all that Christmas food or all those Christmas carols, but I prefer to welcome in the holidays with an inspirational read that makes me feel all the warm and fuzzies. There’s nothing like a book that makes your heart swell to the bursting point to put the “happy” in your “happy holidays.”

If you too like to commemorate this most joyous of seasons by nourishing your reader’s soul — book in hand, blanket cozily wrapped around you — these are a few reads guaranteed to bring the FEELS while you’re home and celebrating.

The Giver by Lois Lowry

The Giver is a classic for a reason. The short novel is about a 12-year-old boy who lives in a seemingly perfect world. However, he soon learns that the conformity required for everyone to be content may cost more than it’s worth. A perfect read if your holidays feel in need of a little technicolor burst.

Wild by Cheryl Strayed

Don’t have time for a trip to the movie theater? This memoir, turned Reese Witherspoon movie, is about one woman’s decision to hike the Pacific Crest Trail across the United States — alone. After her mother’s death and the destruction of her marriage, the story tells of her beautiful and lonely healing process. A read to make you oh-so-thankful for the company of even the most frustrating of family members.

A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle

Nothing makes me feel more at home than reading my favorite stories from childhood. A Wrinkle In Time will bring back that childlike confidence; that feeling that you can do literally anything — encapsulated in this story of Meg and Charles who adventure through space and time to save their mother. Bonus: It’s a perfect book to bond with younger relatives.

The Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein

Have you ever wondered what life looks like from the perspective of a dog? Enzo is a dog who has educated himself by watching TV and observing his human family. As he nears the end of his life, Enzo reflects on all he has experienced from the POV of a dog’s shining optimism. The story is funny and touching, and perfect to remind you to take advantage of this family time (including cuddling up with any and all family pets!).

Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance by Robert Pirsig

On the surface, this tells the story of a father-son motorcycle trip one summer. But as the father-son relationship deepens, the story reflects more on fundamental questions of how to live. Don’t be hesitant because of the title — the craft of motorcycle maintenance is a whole lot more touching and inspiring than it may sound.

Bossypants by Tina Fey

Sometimes there’s nothing more inspirational than a sense of humor, and there’s no one better than Tina Fey to keep you laughing. The book is half memoir and half (sometimes serious) advice, and  100% hilarious. Tina shares her twisted road to success, and will inspire you to fight for your dreams, and laugh at any bumps along the way.

Let It Snow

This story collection from John Green, Maureen Johnson, and Lauren Myracle is perfect for a little festive spirit. The three short stories overlap in one small town, and all take place during the holidays. The perfect easy read for when your heart needs a little romantic pick me up.

The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupery

A beloved classic and the type of book that honestly really does make you feel like anything is possible. When the narrator finds himself stranded in the Sahara, he meets the Little Prince, and slowly begins to learn his mystical history. Bring on that childhood sense of wonder.

The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky

A story of teenage misfits capable of warming even the Grinch’s heart. This book is told via a series of letters from the narrator to an unnamed “friend.” As he enters high school and meets a group of strange and wonderful pals, he becomes strong enough to face family problems that have haunted him his entire life. The book manages to make the well worn intricacies of high school youth feel entirely new.

Les Miserables by Victor Hugo

A dramatic classic that (there’s no way to lie about it) is pretty depressing at times! But the overall message is one of optimism. The extravagant story traces extremely different lives in Paris in 1832, and shows how one individual has an influence that goes far beyond what we can imagine. “Even the darkest night will end and the sun will rise.” Go on and inspire us, Les Miserables. 

The Book Thief by Markus Zusak

A story that shows how books can feed the soul, even in the most depressing of circumstances. In Nazi Germany, Liesel survives by stealing books and sharing them with the Jewish man hidden in her family’s basement. The story is narrated by Death itself, and so is of course heartbreaking at times. But ultimately this book is comforting in its insistence in the power of humanity to love and grow under even the absolute worst of circumstances.

Images via Amazon

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