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Up Lit


Are you looking for a book that is uplifting and celebrates kindness? Here is a list of books that feature characters who are at an important point in their lives where they must trust in the universe. They take a chance, and believe in what their hearts say is right. Their faith in humanity is renewed, and their internal compass is reset to reveal true north.  The great thing about Up Lit is that readers can experience the same thing.

Waxman, Abbi.
The bookish life of Nina Hill

This charming story about a book-loving young woman named Nina, is a quick and cheery read. Her independent, though quite predictable, life is interrupted with news of her abset father's death. Follow Nina as she makes discoveries about her family and about her view of herself. I'm sure she will feel like an old friend by the time you're done reading!
Dawn (Staff) (Clemens Mill Library)

Palacio, R. J.

The book that inspired the Choose Kind movement, a major motion picture, and the critically acclaimed graphic novel White Bird. Wonder follows the life of Auggie Pullman and his family. Auggie was born with facial deformities, and up till now has been home schooled. Now he is starting grade five at a school with other children and is worried that they won't like him because he doesn't look like everyone else.  In this “meditation on kindness,” Auggie tries to blend in, but discovers that it’s “hard to blend in when you were born to stand out.”

Honeyman, Gail.
Eleanor Oliphant is completely fine

An office worker, crossword aficionado and closet alcoholic, Eleanor doesn't have a lot going on in her well-ordered life. She's a loveable oddball, sort of a cross between Audrey Flowers from Come Thou Tortoise and Rachel Watson from The Girl on the Train. Two things happen on one unusual day that let a tiny bit of light into Eleanor's world. She meets a man, and she helps a stranger, and these two things put Eleanor on a path of self-discovery. Funny, sad and utterly charming, this book reminds us to take a second look at the unusual people in life, because sometimes you'll find something extraordinary.

Zevin, Gabrielle.
The storied life of A.J. Fikry

When a valuable item is stolen from A.J. Fikry’s bookstore without any hope of getting it back, he decides to turn over a new leaf. When he goes out for a walk the next day, he leaves his door unlocked, thinking that he has nothing anyone would want to steal anyway. On this day, someone leaves him something that changes his life forever. This refreshing story is about a man who feels alone, but when he opens his door to the world, everything starts falling into place.

Donoghue, Emma

This is a story about an eighty-year-old man named Noah, and his newly found eleven-year-old grand- nephew, Michael. On the eve of a long-awaited trip to his hometown of Nice, France, Noah learns that he has become the last available living relative of Michael. Noah agrees to be his temporary guardian, and they end up taking the trip to France together, with life-changing results.

Backman, Fredrik
A man called Ove

A cantankerous yet loveable man finds his private world turned on its head when an energetic and chatty young family moves in next door.

Pooley, Clare.
The authenticity project

When Julian Jessop leaves a little green notebook in Monica’s café, she has no idea what is in store for her. She will come to discover that Julian has written his truest words in this little book and encourages anyone who finds it to do the same. He calls it The Authenticity Project, because at 79 years old, all he really wants is to be honest. Monica is inspired to tell her truths too, and soon this book passes through many hands and many lives, until finally it brings together a café full of friends, sharing meals, wine and dreams. Sometimes, the book finds people who didn’t even know they needed to be found. I enjoyed this delightful book about how one lonely man reaches out to the world with an open heart and finds so many others who want to do the same.

Kinsella, Sophie.
Twenties girl

Sadie, the ghost of a 105-year-old woman enlists the help of her niece, Lara, to find her heirloom necklace before she is laid to rest. Lara agrees, and the two set out on a journey that leads them to uncovering family mysteries, secrets, and the true story of who Sadie really is. Along the way, Sadie and Lara go from being relatives who barely know each other, to being sparring twenty-year-olds, before becoming the best of friends. Sadie teaches Lara a little about love, relationships, and how to twirl your beaded necklace with aplomb. This is a funny, heart-warming story about friendship, family, and unfinished business.

O'Leary, Beth.
The flatshare

Tiffy and Leon share a flat, but they have never met. They work opposite hours and are never in the flat at the same time. The two share a bed, but different sides and not at the same time. Tiffy leaves Leon homemade oat bars and Leon leaves Tiffy Mushroom Stroganoff. They get to know each other through notes that they leave stuck to every surface. Over time, their notes become long letters, as they confess their problems and struggles, such as Tiffy’s abusive ex-boyfriend who is still trying to control her life and Leon’s brother who is in prison for a crime he didn't commit. The two become each other’s beacon of hope. This is a funny, romantic story, but it also has a bit of a dark underbelly that gives the story some unexpected depth. Tiffy and Leon are both warm and charming and lovely, and would be perfect for each other, if only their paths would cross. Fans of Jojo Moyes will enjoy this writer.

Joyce, Rachel.
The unlikely pilgrimage of Harold Fry

A book about a man who takes a very long walk might sound simple, and it is, but it’s also a journey inside the heart. As Harold walks to see his sick friend, he thinks of all the mistakes he has made in life, things he should have done differently. As he walks and thinks, his wife at home is also thinking—of what happened to the girl she was, and the way she and Harold used to laugh till they collapsed in a fit of hiccups. While Harold is away, she reflects on her life and wonders if perhaps it is not too late. This book is about really looking at your life, and it is somewhat contagious for the reader; it reminds us to wake up and come out of our deep sleep of patterns and ingrained behaviours, look around, and take it in.

Pearce, A. J
Dear Mrs. Bird

Emmy Lake works as an operator for the Auxiliary Fire Services but dreams of becoming a war correspondent. When she answers a job ad for what she thinks is at The London Evening Chronicle, she accidentally applies to work as a typist for Woman’s Friend magazine (same building). Her job is to weed out any letters from readers that venture into topics that are deemed unpleasant before handing them to the columnist Henrietta Bird. However, Emmy finds herself wanting to help these women with unpleasant problems and secretly answer these letters herself. This is a heartwarming story about friendship at a time when women were called upon to help keep the world turning with courage and kindness. If you loved the book The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society, you will love this one, too.

Patrick, Phaedra.
The curious charms of Arthur Pepper

Arthur is a widower who leads a quiet life. He spends a lot of time missing his wife, Miriam. One day, while looking through Miriam's clothes, a charm bracelet falls out of one of her shoes. Arthur does not remember ever seeing this bracelet before. One of the charms on the bracelet is a bejeweled elephant with a phone number etched on it. He calls the number and finds out that his wife once lived in India, but Arthur never knew this. This starts a quest to get to the bottom of things. He sets out on a journey to find out the meaning of each of these curious charms, to learn more about the woman he loved, and discovers more about himself in the process.

Simonson, Helen.
Major Pettigrew's last stand

Major Ernest Pettigrew is an older, retired gentleman, living in the English countryside. He leads a quiet, solitary life, and values traditions, duty, honour, and a good cup of tea. His life is changed when he meets the local shopkeeper, Mrs. Jasmina Ali, and falls in love.

Simsion, Graeme C.
The Rosie project

Don Tillman is a University professor of genetics who has created a questionnaire in order to find the perfect woman. Shortly after creating his questionnaire he meets Rosie--a firecracker of a girl who turns his neatly ordered world upside down. Rosie is trying to find her biological father, and Don, an expert in the field of genetics, decides to help her. The project starts to consume him, he can think of nothing else. Surely it’s not that he wants to see more of Rosie, as she is not the girl for him, she would fail his questionnaire!

Haruf, Kent.

This is the story of a prairie community near Colorado and several decent, troubled people who live there. The central story is of the McPheron brothers, honest, hardworking cattle farmers who take in a pregnant teen. Harold and Raymond care for Victoria as if she is their own daughter, and give her a sense of self-worth that she’s never had before. People in this town are struggling, but they aren’t struggling alone, and the sense of caring for each other is what helps them carry on.

Trout, Nick.
The patron saint of lost dogs

If you love animals, and you are looking for a book that will lift your spirits, give this one a try. Cyrus Mills is a veterinarian who returns to his home town after the death of his father, who was the town’s beloved veterinarian for many years. Now Cyrus must try to make a place for himself in this small town. There are mysterious ailments, eccentric pet owners, and a woman at the town’s diner who has one brown eye and one blue. All of this fascinates Cyrus as he tries to run his father’s clinic, and make peace with the memory of the man he never really knew. Written by veterinarian Nick Trout, who also wrote Tell Me Where it Hurts and The Wonder of Lost Causes.

Davidson, Craig
Precious cargo

Craig Davidson was a struggling writer looking for a job when he found an ad in his mailbox inviting him to be a school bus driver. He took the job, but at the time he had no idea of the impact it would have on his life. This is the heartwarming story of the year he spent driving a school bus for kids who taught him many things, including optimism, self-respect, and the power of friendship.