Most Uplifting Books and Authors

The Bluestocking

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And no, I do not mean self-help books e.g. "Chicken Soup For The Soul" type thingies that peddle The Cult Of Happiness.

I'm talking about fiction that is genuinely uplifting. Something you read that puts you in a good mood (or a better one if you've had a lousy day).

I find that YA is particularly good at this (even if we're still riding the Dystopian trend at the moment):

Harry Potter is one - in the end, good ultimately wins and the kids go on to live quiet but fulfilling lives.

Anne of Green Gables is another - "The sun will go on rising and setting even if I fail trigonometry"

To Kill A Mockingbird - It veers on depressing but the grit and determination of Atticus and Scout keeps things optimistic because they don't quit having Hope (and fighting for justice).

Non-YA books/authors with a positive bent:

Anything by Jasper Fforde - Fforde has a healthy sense of the absurd. Plus, the satire isn't as biting as Terry Pratchett's satire and there isn't a sense of cynicism in his stories.

Any of Georgette Heyer's period romances/comedy-of-manners - There is something very droll in her style and humour.

Anything by Jane Austen - Not all her characters have happy endings but her protagonists generally do.

The Outlander series - Claire and Jamie battle everything life throws in their way together. You rarely come across books where a married couple are the main protagonists, and Gabaldon does this very well.
 
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Juliana

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Rick Riordan's Percy Jackson books are both fun AND funny, and definitely leave a warm glow.

Books that make me smile are good. The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy or Goldman's The Princess Bride are sure things in that department.

Non-SFF, I agree with your choice of Jane Austen, Bluestocking. Another 'warm glow' author...
 

j d worthington

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A nice contrast to the other thread (which has also got a good discussion going). I can think of any number of examples, both within the sff genres and out, from several of Henry James' works to Robert A. Heinlein and Joanna Russ or Andre Norton or....

But, as I'm in the midst of reading the rather lengthy set, for the moment I'll simply bring in a writer not much read these days (more's the pity, as I think he deserves a good deal more attention): James Branch Cabell (1879-1958), an author often noted as the "writer of some of this century's finest ironical fantasies (to quote The Encyclopedia of Fantasy). Even though several of the books in the long "Biography of the Life of Manuel" are dramatic, even tragic at points, and for all that much of the thrust of it deals with the foibles and faults of human nature, ultimately there is, with each of them, a feeling that, despite all this, there is a nobility to the human animal who so often "plays the ape to his dreams", and thereby makes him/herself "not as he is, but as he should be". While unsparingly conscious of just how flawed we are, nonetheless there is a deep love and faith in humanity which runs throughout his work which is often quite moving. Or, to use a very apt quote (which he uses in different forms at different times in the course of the 18-volume work, perhaps most notably in Beyond Life): "What is man that his welfare be considered? An ape who chatters of kinship with the archangels while he very filthily digs for groundnuts. And yet I perceive that this same man is a maimed God. He is condemned under penalty to measure eternity with an hourglass and infinity with a yardstick and what is more, he very nearly does it." (Though it is usually phrased "he often very nearly does it".)

As I've said elsewhere, I find him to be, along with Edgar Pangborn, one of the most humane writers I've ever read.....
 

Jo Zebedee

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Books to make me smile.

Number one, Waiting for Godot, Beckett. I really enjoy it. I snort with laughter in it. The exchanges are so clever and I rather like the idea of just passing time chatting. So, that one definitely.

Not remotely sff, but some women writers are very funny - My Life on a plate by India Knight is funny and anything by Marian Keyes will make me cry and laugh, both, and will leave me, in the end, uplifted. Rachel's Holiday in particular.

Douglas Adams always cheers. And ocean at the end of the lane is an uplifter.
 

Randy M.

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James Thurber's My Life and Hard Times -- Thurber became a crotchety, grumbling old man who didn't seem to care much for the way the world was going. When he wrote this, though, he was able to look on his personal past with a great deal of affection for the eccentrics who populated it and conveyed that affection with great humor. His children's book, The Wonderful O is also uplifting and amusing.

In spite of being based on murder and mayhem, most of Agatha Christie's Hercule Poirot, and Tommy and Tuppence stories are amusing and leave one feeling all wrongs have been righted and the status quo is status quo again. Could say much the same about Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's Sherlock Holmes stories.


Randy M.
 

Juliana

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And plays... Noël Coward, and Shakespeare's comedies. Always good for a smile! (Which reminds me I've been meaning to watch Joss Whedon's Much Ado About Nothing).
 

Rodders

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Douglas Adams was a very uplifting writer. Even now i'll quote from THHGTTG and laugh.
 

AndrewT

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For me nothing compared with Tolkien in terms of being uplifting.
Also good: Watership Down, many of Louis L'Amour's books, Victor Hugo Les Miserables
 

Heather Myst

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Michael J. Sullivan's Riyria series fits the bill for me. It is a fast paced tale of redemption.
 

kythe

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Isaac Asimov's Foundation and Robot series are the most uplifting books I've read in a long time. They portray a very positive and hopeful view of humanity's future.
 

BAYLOR

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Silverlock by John Myers Myers , puts a smile on my face. :)
 

Teresa Edgerton

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Anything by P. G. Wodehouse. If you're down, he'll cheer you up; if you're already content he'll bring a broader smile.
I agree! And not just smiles; I've had some uncontrollable fits of the giggles reading Wodehouse.
 

J-Sun

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I don't find much fiction uplifting outside of SF.

Isaac Asimov's Foundation and Robot series are the most uplifting books I've read in a long time. They portray a very positive and hopeful view of humanity's future.
If you allow for little hiccups like the collapse of a galactic empire. :) But I agree. The fall is followed by another rise.

I find a lot of classic SF to be positive - I won't say "uplifting" always, because that's a high bar. But much of early Heinlein is, especially the juveniles and Double Star. Hal Clement brings a clear, positive view. Doc Smith's exuberant good guys have the arrow pointing up. Edgar Rice Burroughs has heroes heroizing. I often find Ted Sturgeon's humanity and ideas uplifting.

James H. Schmitz often portrays good people doing good things. Arthur C. Clarke often has the big (sometimes oddly mystic) vistas of transcendence. If I'm recalling Harry Harrison's Stainless Steel Rat books correctly, they're not just funny (which automatically helps elevate the mood) but they're substantially positive within their atmospheres of cynicism.

Akin to Asimov in that you have to overlook a little nuclear war that blows up Earth, I find Charles Sheffield's Between the Strokes of Night to be very uplifting. Like much older SF, hard SF is often uplifting. On a slightly smaller scale, there's also Robert L. Forward's Dragon's Egg. Kind of like Harrison's positive cynicism, though not funny, are Allen Steele's Near Space books and stories which aren't oblivious to a lot of what is and will be negative in the world and worlds but is still a very positive outlook.

Jack McDevitt's Alex Benedict books aren't "uplifting" but I find them strangely "comfortable". They put me in a good mood, generally (though not when Chase has her skimmer sabotaged for the sixth time in seven novels or whatever. ;)) Probably the newest thing to seem to ring really uplifting positive notes are Jack Campbell's Lost Fleet/Lost Stars books.

Though, obviously, the most "uplifting" books would be stuff like Cordwainer Smith's Instrumentality stories and David Brin's books that begin with Sundiver. :D
 

Parson

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After reading through this thread I'm not sure of the accepted definition of "uplifting." If I use it, I mean something that points you out of the daily morose. But as I read through this I see it equated to humor. I would see humor as more of a diversion, and something which is truly uplifting is life changing. --- If we use my understanding of life changing, I would say Flowers for Algernon, The Giver, and Speaker for the Dead. --- Of course that's only if we limit the idea of books to novels. (Otherwise my list begins with the Bible.)
 

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