Books, like songs, each have their own tone. They have the ability to evoke certain emotions or associations. And just like I choose the music I want to listen to based on my mood, I often choose the book I want to read next the same way. Since I read so many different genres, there are lots of directions my reading could take me. Today’s book chat is a collection of book suggestions to match your mood. The majority of these I’ve read. A few I haven’t, but trust the sources that recommended them to me.
Books to Make You Laugh
Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? Mindy Kaling. If you like Mindy Kaling in The Office and The Mindy Project then you will like this book. I personally want to be Mindy’s best friend.
Bossypants. Tina Fey. I actually didn’t like this quite as much as Kaling’s book, but I’m in the minority. It is still really funny. I’ve heard it’s even better if you get the audiobook because Fey reads it herself. For fans of Mean Girls and 30 Rock and SNL.
Carry On, Warrior: The Power of Embracing Your Messy, Beautiful Life. Glennon Melton. This book from the author of the Momastery blog is not marketed as humor. It’s part memoir and part about parenting and part life reflections. But it made me laugh so hard I think I peed on myself. Several times. I read parts of it out loud to my mom and I thought we were going to die from lack of oxygen we were laughing so hard. I think it’s partly because I share Melton’s sense of humor, but I thoroughly enjoyed laughing my way through this one.
Books to Make You Cry
The Fault in Our Stars. John Green. Teenagers with cancer ponder the mysteries of the universe. Some of my favorite characters, but if you don’t cry buckets there’s probably something wrong with you.
Me Before You. JoJo Moyes. A directionless young girl takes a job as a caretaker for a young, handsome man who was hit by a car and is now a quadriplegic. I think you can see how this is fodder for all the feels.
Books to Creep You Out
I am easily scared and don’t like to read scary books, so bear that in mind.
Gone Girl. Gillian Flynn. Part mystery, part psychological thriller, all sensationalized. I wasn’t the biggest fan of this, but it definitely ranks as a creepy book.
Tana French mysteries. Of all the mysteries I read, these are the scariest and most suspenseful to me (but in a good way). My favorite is The Likeness.
The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. Stieg Larsen. I don’t recommend this book because I found it too disturbing due to graphic violence towards women, but I had to finish it because I couldn’t stand not to know what happened. Only read it if you aren’t as easily disturbed as I am.
Books to Make You Think
Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World that Can’t Stop Talking. Susan Cain. I wrote a whole post about this book, but it’s fascinating and hugely helpful in understanding my personality and how I’m wired. I recommend this to introverts and extroverts alike and I promise you will learn something about yourself through this book.
Thinking, Fast and Slow. Daniel Kahneman. A tour of the mind that explains the differences and capabilities of our brains’ two systems – the one that is fast, intuitive, and emotional and the other which is slower and more logical. Fascinating insight into how we as human being think.
Daring Greatly: How the Courage to Be Vulnerable Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent, and Lead. Brene Brown. I’ve written a whole post on this book but I think it is powerful and life-changing if you let it be.
Books to Let You Not Think
The most delicious of marshmallow fluffy books. I’ve done a full post on these books here, but just to quickly list a few go-to authors of mine:
Emily Giffin (except for her most recent which was awful). Rom-commy loveliness, though some of them are a little more nuanced and heavier than just boy meets girl.
Sophie Kinsella (especially her Shopaholic series). They might be predictable, but they sure are fun.
Books to Let You Escape (Books with atmosphere)
Kate Morton’s Books – Old houses full of family secrets are a recipe for some delicious, transporting stories.
The Night Circus. Erin Morgenstern. Seriously gorgeous. While I was reading this book I felt like I couldn’t do regular life because my imagination was so completely full of The Circus there wasn’t room for anything else.
Brandon Sanderson’s Books – Sanderson’s capacity for world-building continually boggles my mind. I haven’t read all of his books, but everything I’ve read has been amazing. Especially The Stormlight Archive and the Mistborn books.
Patrick Rothfuss’ Books – Rothfuss is also a great world-builder and storyteller whose beautiful writing paints such vivid pictures you won’t want to walk away.
Outlander series. Diana Gabaldon. Even though I’m not the biggest fan of this series, I admit that they do take you away to another time and place. Actually, many different times and places.
Books to Motivate and Inspire You
Tolstoy and the Purple Chair: My Year of Magical Reading. Nina Sankovitch. I wrote more about this here. After the death of her sister Sankovitch sets out on a year of reading one book every day for 365 days and finds a way to slow down and heal. This will motivate you to read more.
Born to Run: A Hidden Tribe, Superathletes, and the Greatest Race the World has Never Seen. Christopher McDougall In Mexico there is a tribe called the Tarahumara who are known for being incredible distance runners who run up to 50 miles through their native deserts barefoot. When McDougall is sidelined from running by recurring foot injuries, he sets out to discover the secret of the Tarahumara. Don’t read if you don’t want to be compelled to run.
The Nesting Place: It Doesn’t Have to be Perfect to be Beautiful. Myquillyn SmithA great read for those who love decorating and feel like they can’t because of their budget, their space, or because they feel guilty for putting time and money into making a beautiful home.
The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing. Marie Kondo. Need help decluttering and getting organized? I’m told this book will change your life.
Books to Challenge You
The Omnivore’s Dilemma: A Natural History of Four Meals. Michael Pollan. Pollan’s detailed trace of 4 meals through their entire production chain from the ground to your table will make you seriously consider the ethics behind what you eat and challenge you to be a mindful consumer.
Interrupted: When God Wrecks Your Comfortable Christianity. Jen Hatmaker. I feel like the title of this is sort of self-explanatory. This book is a kick in the pants for Christians who are more concerned with feeling and believing the gospel than they are with doing it. (You know, me.)
Books to Make You Hungry
Delancey: A Man, A Woman, A Restaurant, A Marriage. Molly Wizenberg. The story of Wizenberg and her husband and their quest to open the perfect brick-oven pizzeria.
My Life in France. Julia Child. Child is the master. This book will endear her to you and make you want to cook.
Bread and Wine: A Love Letter to Life Around the Table by Shauna Niequist. One of my faves. Such a great reflection on food’s role in our lives and the importance of hospitality and nourishing our bodies and our souls with people we love around a table.
Books to Give You Wanderlust
I have to be careful about when I read these. Cause my wanderlust is always crazy-high anyway. Sometimes these books inspire me and sometimes they make me feel discontent with my life. Just my own personal struggle.
Home Sweet Anywhere: How We Sold Our House, Created a New Life, and Saw the World. Lynne Martin. I think the title pretty much explains it.
Paris Letters Janice MacLeod. When Janice finds herself completely burned out she figures out how to cut back, save money, and buy herself two years of freedom in Europe.
Packing Light: Thoughts on Living Life with Less Baggage. Allison Vesterfelt. From the author. “Like many twenty-somethings, I tried desperately to discover the life of my dreams after college, but instead of finding it, I just kept accumulating baggage. Just when I had given up all hope of finding the “life I’d always dreamed about,” I decided to take a trip to all fifty states…because when you go on a trip, you can’t take your baggage.”
Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert. If you are one of the 4 people on the planet who hasn’t read this and you want to find yourself compelled to leave your life and globe trot then go ahead and give this a go.
Books to Make You Bored
Just kidding. Life’s too short to read dumb books.
What are your favorite books to match a mood? Did I miss your mood? Leave me a comment with your suggestions or let me know what kind of book you’re looking for and I’ll make some suggestions!