11 Books to Get You Through a Tough Day

Posted on June 2, 2016 by

When you’re having a rough day, no matter what caused your sour mood, sometimes all you can do is curl up with a book and forget the world for a little while. We have just the books to wash your cares away! The following books are full of uplifting wisdom, whimsical stories, and just enough heart to get you through your tough times.


Tiny Beautiful Things by Cheryl Strayed

Tiny Beautiful Things by Cheryl StrayedIt’s difficult to imagine a single human being who wouldn’t get something valuable out of this book. Strayed (as Rumpus columnist Sugar) answers pleas for advice from all different kinds of people, and she does so with a compassionate, artful touch that makes readers feel like there’s always someone on their side.



Yes Please by Amy Poehler

Yes Please by Amy PoehlerComedy powerhouse Amy Poehler knows how to crack a joke, and she really knows how to make others smile when they need it most. While Yes Please is technically a memoir, it’s really more like the literary equivalent of a comforting pat on the back. Poehler is honest, funny, and wildly inspiring, and you’ll finish this book having received lots of heartfelt (and hilarious) advice, all of which is sure to cheer you up.



Year of Yes by Shonda Rhimes

Year of Yes by Shonda RhimesLike Yes Please, Year of Yes is a great big encouragement to reach for the life you want. Rhimes, the creator of popular television dramas Grey’s Anatomy and Scandal, clearly knows a thing or two about success. Here, she details the year she stopped saying “no” and the ways that change transformed her life. If you’re having a bad day because you feel like you’re stuck in a rut, pick up this book immediately.


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Gratitude by Oliver Sacks

Gratitude by Oliver SacksSacks wrote the essays in Gratitude near the end of his life as he battled with cancer. That may sound terribly sad, but this book — and all of Sack’s work about life and illness and death — is instead a gracious acceptance and beautiful willingness to see the best of life even when the worst parts are really, horribly bad.


Your Illustrated Guide to Becoming One with the Universe by Yumi Sakugawa

 Your Illustrated Guide to Becoming One With the Universe by Yumi SakugawaSo many of our bad days are caused by us being unwilling to just let things go. That’s what this gorgeously illustrated book is here to help you do. That balance is found by reconnecting with the universe — and reminding ourselves of our own places within it.


2 A.M. at the Cat’s Pajamas by Marie-Helene Bertino

 2 A.M. at the Cat's Pajamas by Marie-Helene BertinoSometimes when you’re in a bad mood, you just need a little whimsy from a story you can hide in. Bertino’s book is a rich portrayal of her three main characters — a friendless nine-year-old girl, her teacher, and the owner of a jazz club in town — bumbling through Philadelphia. The real treat of the book, though, is the language and the slight mystical element that will let you forget all your troubles, at least for a little while.


 Where’d You Go, Bernadette by Maria Semple

  Where'd You Go, Bernadette by Maria SempleIf laughter is what you seek to cure your woes, look no further than Semple’s whip-smart novel about young Bee and her eccentric mother (the titular Bernadette) who goes missing. This book’s humor comes from its richly imagined characters, and the format — pieced together with documents Bee is using in her search for her mother — makes for a unique and joyous reading experience.


The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho

The Alchemist by Paulo CoelhoThis allegorical novel is one of the best selling books in history and has been published in over 80 languages. What makes it worthwhile for this list, though, is the way it encourages readers to seek, locate, and take ownership of their own destinies. If you’re struggling because you’re feeling stuck and unsure of your life’s trajectory, pick this up to help you gain the courage to make changes.


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

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie BarrowsThis novel, written as a series of letters, is stuffed with the charming characters who live in Guernsey — an island in the English Channel — and all the romance of richly imagined historical fiction. Reading the book is like hopping in a time machine, and lovers of classic literature will be thrilled with the characters’ endless references. It’s an utterly lovely romp through a detailed world that’s hard not to love.


Bridget Jones’s Diary by Helen Fielding

Bridget Jones's Diary by Helen FieldingSure, you could grab your remote and watch the film version of Bridget Jones’s Diary. But if you really want a good laugh, like a slap-your-knee-earnestly guffaw, grab the book and follow Bridget along her hapless attempt to get her life together. You might see yourself in Bridget’s struggles, but at the very least, you’ll get joy out of the book’s humor.


Ready Player One by Ernest Cline

Ready Player One by Ernest ClineReady Player One is a gold mine of 1980s pop culture references, and that alone makes the book tons of fun. The well-crafted science fiction world where this book takes place is a fantastic place to hide from the world for a little while, and you’ll get completely lost in it while you follow Wade, who is trying to escape a bleak reality himself.

What’s your favorite book to read when you’re feeling down? Let us know in the comments!


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