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Classic Literature

The Ultimate List of Feel Good Classic Books to Read

Find an escape from the present moment and get lost in these comforting classics.

Last Updated on May 25, 2024 by BiblioLifestyle

ComfortingClassic Books to Read

Being a bookworm, I’m often asked for book recommendations.  So, I compiled a list of my all-time favorite comforting classic books to read.  These feel good classic books are the ones I find myself rereading, especially during stressful times, as I find them incredibly soothing.  Sometimes, after reading a ton of buzzy new releases or when I feel a reading slump coming on, picking up feel good classic books is almost an instant remedy and often just what I need.  I find so much comfort in revisiting familiar pages and returning to places I love.  Plus, with every reread, I always discover something new!

This list of comforting classic books is filled with personal favorites of mine. They all have settings that are easy to get lost in. I can always go back to these books and feel better after reading them. So, if you’re looking for an excellent read to get lost in, these feel-good classic books are the perfect choice for you!

What is comforting literature?

Comforting literature, often referred to as “feel-good” or “comfort reads,” are books that evoke warmth, solace, and a sense of well-being.  These books often feature uplifting narratives, relatable characters, and picturesque settings that offer an escape from the hustle and bustle of everyday life.  They’re the literary equivalent of a cozy blanket on a chilly evening – familiar, soothing, and instantly uplifting.  Feel good classic books that are great examples of such literature include timeless novels like “Little Women” or “Anne of Green Gables.”  These comforting classics have a unique way of transporting readers into their comforting landscapes and heartwarming stories, making them perfect reads when you’re seeking a mental retreat.

What should I read for comfort?

For comfort, I recommend diving into the feel good classic books on my list.  Each of these books is filled with heartwarming narratives, memorable characters, and settings that are easy to get lost in.  You can start with “Emma” by Jane Austen, a timeless classic that offers both wit and warmth.  If you’re in the mood for a heartwarming children’s story, pick up “Charlotte’s Web” by E.B. White or “A Little Princess” by Frances Hodgson Burnett.  For something more nostalgic, try “Anne of Green Gables” by L.M. Montgomery or “The Wonderful Wizard of Oz” by L. Frank Baum.  And if you’re looking for a holiday read, I highly recommend “A Christmas Carol” by Charles Dickens – a timeless feel good classic book that never fails to bring joy and comfort. So pick any book from this list, curl up, and let yourself be transported to a world of warmth and comfort.

What is the one classic book everyone should read?

Though I selected a different Austen for my lits, the one comforting book that everyone should read is “Pride and Prejudice” by Jane Austen.  This timeless classic serves as a beacon of comfort through its engaging narrative, sharp wit, and memorable characters.  It encapsulates the essence of early 19th-century English society while brilliantly exploring themes of love, marriage, and social class.  Its protagonist, Elizabeth Bennet, is a delightful character whose depth and spirit continue to resonate with readers across generations.  The charm and warmth of this classic novel provide a soothing escape, making it a must-read for anyone in search of a comforting literary experience.

15 Feel Good Classic Books That Are Absolutely Comforting

These comforting classic books are a blend of nostalgia and comfort, certain to lift your spirits:

  1. Emma by Jane Austen
  2. Charlotte’s Web by E.B. White
  3. Mrs Palfrey at the Claremont by Elizabeth Taylor
  4. Little Women by Louisa May Alcott
  5. A Room with A View by E.M. Forster
  6. A Little Princess by Frances Hodgson Burnett
  7. Middlemarch by George Eliot
  8. Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery
  9. Cranford by Elizabeth Gaskell
  10. Heidi by Johanna Spyri
  11. The Enchanted April by Elizabeth von Arnim
  12. Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll
  13. 84, Charing Cross Road by Helene Hanff
  14. The Wonderful Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum
  15. A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens
Emma by Jane Austen

Emma by Jane Austen

Truthfully, I find all the Austen novels comforting and think of them as feel-good classic books. My favorite editions are the Canterbury Classics and the Penguin Clothbounds. But for this list, the Austen novel I’m recommending is Emma!

“Emma” by Jane Austen is a classic novel that explores themes of love, friendship, and self-discovery. Set in the early 19th century, the story centers around Emma Woodhouse, a young woman of considerable social status in her small English town. Emma is clever, rich, and beautiful but also rather spoiled and self-deluded. She loves to engage in matchmaking without considering the potential consequences. One by one, her schemes unravel, leading to comic and romantic misadventures. Throughout the story, Emma matures as she learns from her mistakes and begins acknowledging the feelings of those around her. The novel is both a delightful comedy of manners and a compelling exploration of a young woman’s journey toward self-awareness and emotional maturity.

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To learn more about Jane Austen, check out Discover Jane Austen’s Timeless Literary Life & Legacy.

Looking to read more Jane Austen Books? 3 Must-Read Jane Austen Books: The Ultimate List.

Charlotte’s Web by E.B. White

Charlotte’s Web by E.B. White

Nothing says comfort more than children’s literature! “Charlotte’s Web” by E.B. White is a charming and profound feel good classic book that has warmed readers’ hearts for decades. The story revolves around a delightful pig named Wilbur and his unlikely friendship with a clever and caring spider named Charlotte. When Wilbur’s life is in danger, Charlotte weaves miraculous webs with words that praise Wilbur, capturing the attention of the community and ultimately saving his life. The novel beautifully explores themes of friendship, sacrifice, and the wonder of life, serving as a treasured tale that resonates with both children and adults. It is an uplifting and comforting classic, offering an enchanting escape into a world where love and kindness triumph.

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Mrs Palfrey at the Claremont by Elizabeth Taylor

Mrs Palfrey at the Claremont by Elizabeth Taylor

“Mrs Palfrey at the Claremont” by Elizabeth Taylor is a heartfelt novel that explores themes of loneliness, aging, and friendship. The story centers around Mrs. Palfrey, a widow who moves into the Claremont Hotel to live among other elderly residents. Feeling isolated and forgotten, her life takes an unexpected turn when she meets Ludo, a young writer. They form an unlikely friendship, with Ludo even posing as Mrs. Palfrey’s grandson to give her a sense of familial connection. The novel beautifully captures the nuances of human relationships and the poignant realities of aging. This comforting and feel good classic book is a testament to the power of companionship, demonstrating that meaningful connections can be formed at any stage of life.

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Little Women by Louisa May Alcott

Little Women by Louisa May Alcott

“Little Women” by Louisa May Alcott is a classic comfort read that tells the heartwarming story of the March sisters – Meg, Jo, Beth, and Amy. Set during the Civil War in America, the novel explores their journey from childhood to womanhood. Amidst the backdrop of societal expectations and economic hardships, the sisters navigate the complexities of love, loss, and personal growth. Alcott beautifully portrays the distinct personalities of the sisters, their familial bond, and their individual aspirations. Jo, the tomboyish writer; Meg, the elegant eldest; Beth, the shy peacemaker; and Amy, the artistic youngest – each contribute to the tapestry of life at the March household. The novel is a charming blend of domesticity, creativity, ambition, and resilience, making “Little Women” a timeless tale of growing up.

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A Room with A View by E.M. Forster

A Room with A View by E.M. Forster

“A Room with A View” by E.M. Forster is a classic novel that beautifully interweaves themes of love, societal norms, and personal growth. Set in the backdrop of early 20th-century England and Italy, the story follows Lucy Honeychurch, a young woman grappling with the constraints of Edwardian societal expectations. During her trip to Italy, Lucy experiences a sense of freedom and passion that starkly contrasts with her life back in England. Amidst the enchanting landscapes of Florence, she encounters George Emerson, who challenges her conventional outlook. Back in England, Lucy finds herself engaged to the socially acceptable but emotionally hollow Cecil Vyse. The novel explores Lucy’s struggle between conforming to society’s expectations and embracing her true desires. With its vivid portrayal of characters and exploration of societal constraints, “A Room with A View” offers a comforting journey towards self-discovery and authenticity.

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A Little Princess by Frances Hodgson Burnett

A Little Princess by Frances Hodgson Burnett

Another children’s classic on my list is “A Little Princess” by Frances Hodgson Burnett!  This is a heartwarming classic that tells the story of Sara Crewe, a young, imaginative girl whose life drastically changes from wealth to poverty. Sara starts her journey as a student in a fancy boarding school, admired for her intelligence and imagination. Her life takes a tragic turn when her beloved father dies, leaving her impoverished. Suddenly, she finds herself demoted from a privileged student to a scullery maid. Despite her adversities, Sara remains kind, generous, and resilient, choosing to believe that she is still a princess, irrespective of outward circumstances. The novel beautifully illustrates themes of resilience, kindness, and the power of imagination. It serves as a comforting classic, reminding readers of the inherent worth that persists despite external conditions.

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Middlemarch by George Eliot

Middlemarch by George Eliot

“Middlemarch” by George Eliot is a deeply empathetic classic novel acclaimed for its realism and insightful portrayal of rural life in the early 19th-century England. The narrative revolves around the lives and dealings of the citizens of Middlemarch, a fictional town, with a spotlight on Dorothea Brooke, an idealistic young woman, and Tertius Lydgate, an ambitious doctor. Dorothea’s struggle with a loveless marriage and Lydgate’s aspirations stifled by societal expectations form the crux of the novel. Eliot’s exploration of themes such as societal norms, marriage, ambition, and the status of women masterfully weaves a tapestry of human folly and resilience. This comforting classic offers a profound reflection on life, making it an engrossing read.

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Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery

Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery

“Anne of Green Gables” by L.M. Montgomery is a cherished classic that tells the story of Anne Shirley, a bright and imaginative orphan girl who is mistakenly sent to live with Marilla and Matthew Cuthbert, a brother and sister duo who had intended to adopt a boy to help with their farm in the small town of Avonlea on Prince Edward Island. Despite the initial misunderstanding, Anne’s charm and vivacious spirit quickly win the Cuthberts over. The book follows Anne’s life in Green Gables, her shenanigans, her friendships, particularly her bond with her best friend Diana, and her rivalry with the handsome but teasing Gilbert Blythe. Anne’s misadventures and her imaginative spirit bring much-needed color and life to the Cuthberts’ lives and the entire Avonlea community. This feel-good classic is a journey into a world of imagination, friendship, and the simple joys of life.

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Cranford by Elizabeth Gaskell

Cranford by Elizabeth Gaskell

“Cranford” by Elizabeth Gaskell is a delightful classic set in a small, rural town of Cranford in 19th-century England. The narrative, led by the charming and observant Miss Mary Smith, paints a vivid portrait of the lives, relationships, and charming eccentricities of the primarily female population of Cranford. Gaskell’s narrative, devoid of a central plot, progresses through a series of interconnected vignettes, offering a humorous and affectionate exploration of humanity. From the formidable Miss Jenkyns and her penchant for propriety to the lovable Miss Matty and her endearing innocence, the characters in Cranford are drawn with affection, humor, and a keen understanding of human nature. This comforting classic is a celebration of resilience, friendship, and community, making it a perfect feel-good read.

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Heidi by Johanna Spyri

Heidi by Johanna Spyri

“Heidi” by Johanna Spyri is a heartwarming classic that transports readers to the breathtaking landscapes of the Swiss Alps. The story revolves around a cheerful and vivacious orphan girl, Heidi, who is sent to live with her gruff but caring grandfather in his secluded mountain cabin. Heidi quickly falls in love with the simple, nature-filled life in the mountains, making friends with the shepherd boy, Peter, and charming everyone with her free-spirited, compassionate nature. However, her life takes a turn when she is sent to Frankfurt to act as a companion to the sickly Clara Sesemann. The stark contrast between the confinements of the city and her beloved mountains becomes a source of great distress for Heidi. Yet, even in adversity, Heidi’s infectious optimism and love for life bring warmth to those around her. This comforting classic is an enchanting read that celebrates resilience, friendship, and the healing power of nature, making it a perfect feel-good classic book for any bookshelf.

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Enchanted April by Elizabeth von Arnim

The Enchanted April by Elizabeth von Arnim

“The Enchanted April” by Elizabeth von Arnim is a charming classic that invites readers into the world of four distinctly different women on a recuperative holiday in Italy. These women, initially strangers to each other, respond to an advertisement to rent a medieval castle in Italy for the month of April, seeking an escape from their dreary lives in rain-soaked England. As they spend their days amidst the blossoming gardens, beautiful scenery, and warm sunshine, the enchanting atmosphere of the Italian countryside works its magic, bringing about transformation and renewal. The women rediscover joy, romance, and meaningful connections in their lives, healing past wounds and giving them a fresh perspective. This feel-good classic is a celebration of friendship, self-discovery, and the invigorating power of change, making it a comforting read.

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Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll

Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll

Lose yourself in Alice’s story as she tumbles down the rabbit hole, swims through her own pool of tears, and finds herself in a rather curious place called Wonderland. There, she’ll encounter the frantic White Rabbit, have a frustrating conversation with an eccentric caterpillar, and play croquet with the hot-headed Queen of Hearts.

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84, Charing Cross Road by Helene Hanff

84, Charing Cross Road by Helene Hanff

“84, Charing Cross Road” by Helene Hanff is a charming classic that chronicles the two-decade-long correspondence between the author, residing in New York City, and the staff of a used-book store in London. The correspondence, initiated by Hanff’s quest for out-of-print books, unfolds into a heartwarming exchange of letters that goes beyond the mere discussion of books. The letters, filled with humorous banter, poignant moments, and insightful discussions, offer an intimate glimpse into the lives of the correspondents, fostering a deep, albeit long-distance, friendship. Despite the physical distance and the vast Atlantic between them, their shared love for books bridges the gap, leading to an unlikely but enduring bond. This feel-good classic is a testament to the power of friendship, the love for literature, and the ability of letters to connect people across continents, making it a comforting read.

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The Wonderful Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum

The Wonderful Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum

“The Wonderful Wizard of Oz” by L. Frank Baum is an enchanting classic that takes readers on an extraordinary journey through a fantastical land. The story follows Dorothy, a young girl from Kansas, who, along with her dog Toto, is swept away by a cyclone to the magical land of Oz. Stranded in this unfamiliar world, Dorothy embarks on a quest to meet the elusive Wizard of Oz, who, she believes, can help her return home. Along her journey on the yellow brick road, she befriends a Scarecrow longing for intelligence, a Tin Woodman yearning for a heart, and a Cowardly Lion in search of courage. Together, they face numerous adventures, confronting wicked witches and strange creatures, only to realize that they had the power to achieve their desires all along. This comforting classic is a captivating tale of friendship, courage, and self-discovery, making it a feel-good read that continues to charm generations of readers.

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A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens

A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens

“A Christmas Carol” by Charles Dickens is a timeless classic that encapsulates the spirit of Christmas in its rawest and purest form. The story follows Ebenezer Scrooge, a miserly old man who despises Christmas and everything it stands for. However, his life takes a dramatic turn when he is visited on Christmas Eve by the ghost of his deceased business partner, Jacob Marley, and the Ghosts of Christmas Past, Present, and Yet to Come. These spectral visits take Scrooge on a transformative journey through his past, present, and future, forcing him to confront the consequences of his bitterness and miserliness. Ultimately, Scrooge is led to a profound realization about the importance of compassion, generosity, and goodwill towards all, triggering a radical change in his attitude towards life and Christmas. This comforting classic highlights the power of redemption, empathy, and the joy of giving, making it a feel-good read that resonates with readers, especially during the holiday season.

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Looking to read more Charles Dickens books? Check out 6 Must-Read Charles Dickens Books: Where To Start.

More About Comforting Classic Books

What is the most loved book ever?

One of the most beloved, uplifting, and comforting classic books of all time is arguably “Pride and Prejudice” by Jane Austen.  This timeless novel has enchanted readers for centuries with its compelling portrayal of love, society, and personal growth. Through the spirited and independent protagonist Elizabeth Bennet, readers are immersed in a world of wit, romance, and social commentary.  With its memorable characters, sparkling dialogue, and enduring themes, “Pride and Prejudice” continues to resonate with readers of every generation, offering both entertainment and valuable insights into human relationships.

What are some feel-good classic novels?

Some feel-good classic novels that are also on my list include “Anne of Green Gables” by L.M. Montgomery, “A Little Princess” by Frances Hodgson Burnett, and “Little Women” by Louisa May Alcott.  These books have stood the test of time and continue to bring joy and comfort to readers with their heartwarming stories and lovable characters.  Other feel-good classic novels that are not on the list but worth mentioning are “To Kill a Mockingbird” by Harper Lee, “The Secret Garden” by Frances Hodgson Burnett, and “Pippi Longstocking” by Astrid Lindgren.  Each of these books offers a unique and heartwarming reading experience, making them perfect choices for anyone seeking comfort in literature.  So why not pick one up, pour yourself a cup of tea, and get lost in their comforting and feel good stories? You won’t regret it.

What do you think about this list of feel good classic books to read?

Have you read any books from this list?  What are your favorite comforting classic books to read?  What feel good classic books would you add to the list?

MORE READING:

Comforting and Feel Good Classic Books

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