As an eclectic reader, I dip into a variety of genres. I don’t read horror, but I do read a bit of science fiction along with a number of historical fiction novels, general fiction, and young adult books. I also like to read books for children. Children’s literature was one of my favorite college classes. I even had the opportunity to teach children’s literature several times at MO State in Springfield years ago. This blog, however, will focus on uplifting, Up Lit, books I have read and recommend.
The first book in today’s blog that I recommend is Anxious People by Fredrik Backman. I admit when I first started reading, the lack of pronouns annoyed me. Then as I continued reading, I recognized Backman’s ploy in keeping readers in suspense about the would-be bank robber by avoiding pronouns to identify the robber. The story is sad, funny, complicated, and ultimately uplifting.
Clare Pooley has written two books that I have enjoyed: The Authenticity Project and Iona Iverson’s Rules for Commuting. While the stories have quite different plots, they both focus on disparate characters brought together by unusual circumstances. I truly enjoy stories that feature found families. I consider both of those stories to fall into that category.
Another found family story is The House in the Cerulean Sea by TJ Klune. Six magical children live in a home with Arthur Parnassus as the home’s director. Linus Baker, who works for the Department in Charge of Magical Youth, is sent to the home to determine if Arthur is doing a good job with the children there. Arthur may not always do things by the book, but he is an excellent father figure for the children in the home.
Matt Cain also captured my heart and attention with The Secret Life of Albert Entwistle. Albert, approaching 65, has been a postman since he left school. He lives alone in the house where he grew up. His father was a policeman. After his father’s death, Albert stays on to care for his ailing mother until her death. Now, he has a cat as his only companion. In December, shortly before Albert is to turn 65, he experiences two things that cause him to turn his life upside down in a good way. This story continues to make me smile as I remember it.
The Messy Lives of Book People by Phaedra Patrick is another Up Lit story. When Essie Starling, famous and wealthy writer, disappears, Essie’s attorney tells Liv Green, Essie’s cleaner, that Essie wants Liv to complete the 20th novel in Essie’s Georgia Rory stories. Now, Liv is no ordinary cleaner. She loves reading and has entertained the idea of becoming a writer herself, but she has simply not had the opportunity. Now, the opportunity has presented itself to her.
For those uncertain about what Up Lit is, here is a definition from Fictionophile: “Up Lit is described as a trend for books with an emphasis on empathy, books that are uplifting and life-affirming, and which explore themes of family bonds and the human spirit. These types of novels focus on kinder, gentler human connections, but have an element that preserves realism. They do not shy away from dark themes or real-life issues; they just preserve an element of hope.” And isn’t that something readers need, a preservation of hope? Some other characteristics of Up Lit include “quirky, and offbeat and sometimes curmudgeonly, characters.” They also focus on relationships, both platonic and romantic, life lessons, and uplifting, optimistic vibes.