Bibliotherapy...uplifting reads

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The art of racing in the rain by Garth Stein
Enzo knows he is different from other dogs: a philosopher with a nearly human soul (and an obsession with opposable thumbs), he has educated himself by watching television extensively, and by listening very closely to the words of his master, Denny Swift, an up-and-coming race car driver.
Through Denny, Enzo has gained tremendous insight into the human condition, and he sees that life, like racing, isn't simply about going fast. Using the techniques needed on the race track, one can successfully navigate all of life's ordeals.
On the eve of his death, Enzo takes stock of his life, recalling all that he and his family have been through: the sacrifices Denny has made to succeed professionally; the unexpected loss of Eve, Denny's wife; the three-year battle over their daughter, Zoë, whose maternal grandparents pulled every string to gain custody. In the end, despite what he sees as his own limitations, Enzo comes through heroically to preserve the Swift family, holding in his heart the dream that Denny will become a racing champion with Zoë at his side. Having learned what it takes to be a compassionate and successful person, the wise canine can barely wait until his next lifetime, when he is sure he will return as a man.

The chaperone by Laura Moriarty
On a summer's day in 1922, Cora Carlisle boards a train from Wichita, Kansas, to New York City, charged with the care of a stunningly beautiful young girl with a jet-black bob and wisdom way beyond her fifteen years.
The girl is Louise Brooks and, for her, New York offers a chance of stardom beneath the bright lights of Broadway. For Cora, whose formative years were spent at The New York Home for Friendless Girls, the trip offers the opportunity to discover the truth about her past. It will also, although she doesn't realise it yet, offer her the chance for a very different future.
Set in a time of illicit thrills and daring glamour, a time when prohibition reigns and speakeasies thrive behind closed doors, The Chaperone tells Cora's story as she finally discovers who she is and - more importantly - who she wants to be.

Seven letters from Paris by Samantha Vérant
In the best romantic tradition of Almost French, a woman falls madly in love with a Frenchman in Paris, but with a twist. It takes her twenty years to find him again …
Samantha's life is falling apart - she's lost her job, her marriage is on the rocks and she's walking dogs to keep the wolf from the door.
When she stumbles across seven love letters from the handsome Frenchman she fell head over heels for in Paris when she was 19, she can't help but wonder, what if?
One carefully worded, very belated email apology, it's clear that sometimes love does give you a second chance.
Jetting off to France to reconnect with a man you knew for just one day is crazy - but it's the kind of crazy Samantha's been waiting for her whole life.
Truth may be stranger than fiction but sometimes it's better than your wildest dreams.

A hundred pieces of me by Lucy Dillon
Gina is ready for a fresh start. She's gone through cancer, and a separation, and now it's time to focus on what makes her happy right here, right now. Moving into a new flat in Longhampton, she decides to clear some space for herself physically as well as mentally: giving away her possessions bar one hundred special items. But what means the most to her? What sums up who she really is? In order to work it out, she will have to come to terms with her past, saying goodbye to certain memories and people, before she can move on. Over the course of a year, Gina will find a sense of happiness and acceptance she has never felt before, and what it means to finally live life to the full. This is a story about letting go that will stay in your heart forever.


Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell
This is a sweet, moving novel about two misfits finding love in the most unexpected of places. Meet Eleanor. She's just moved to a new town, is struggling to make friends and is finding it even harder living under the same roof as her dysfunctional family. When she first meets Park, she thinks he's obnoxious. Meet Park. He's liked by everyone but has never felt liked he fitted in. He loves his family but feels like they don't understand him. When he first meets Eleanor, he thinks she is weird. It is hate at first sight. But as they suffer each other's company in silence on the bus rides from and to home every day, Eleanor and Park realise that first impressions can be deceiving.


The girl who saved the King of Sweden by Jonas Jonasson
On June 14th, 2007, the King and Prime Minister of Sweden went missing from a gala banquet at the Royal Castle. Later it was said that both had fallen ill: the truth is different. The real story starts much earlier, in 1961, with the birth of Nombeko Mayeki in a shack in Soweto. Nombeko was fated to grow up fast and die early in her poverty-stricken township. But Nombeko takes a different path. She finds work as a housecleaner and eventually makes her way up to the position of chief advisor, at the helm of one of the world's most secret projects.
Here is where the story merges with, then diverges from reality. South Africa developed six nuclear missiles in the 1980s, then voluntarily dismantled them in 1994. This is a story about the seventh missile . . . the one that was never supposed to have existed. Nombeko Mayeki knows too much about it, and now she's on the run from both the South African justice and the most terrifying secret service in the world. She ends up in Sweden, which has transformed into a nuclear nation, and the fate of the world now lies in Nombeko's hands.

The One Plus One by JoJo Moyes
One single mom. One chaotic family. One quirky stranger. One irresistible love story from the New York Times bestselling author of Me Before You American audiences have fallen in love with Jojo Moyes. Ever since she debuted Stateside she has captivated readers and reviewers alike, and hit the New York Times bestseller list with the word-of-mouth sensation Me Before You. Now, with One Plus One, she's written another contemporary opposites-attract love story. Suppose your life sucks. A lot. Your husband has done a vanishing act, your teenage stepson is being bullied, and your math whiz daughter has a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity that you can't afford to pay for. That's Jess's life in a nutshell-until an unexpected knight in shining armor offers to rescue them. Only Jess's knight turns out to be Geeky Ed, the obnoxious tech millionaire whose vacation home she happens to clean. But Ed has big problems of his own, and driving the dysfunctional family to the Math Olympiad feels like his first unselfish act in ages. maybe ever. One Plus One is Jojo Moyes at her astounding best. You'll laugh, you'll weep, and when you flip the last page, you'll want to start all over again.

Chocolat by Joanne Harris
Try me...Test me...Taste me. When an exotic stranger, Vianne Rocher, arrives in the French village of Lansquenet and opens a chocolate boutique directly opposite the church, Father Reynaud identifies her as a serious danger to his flock - especially as it is the beginning of Lent, the traditional season of self-denial. War is declared as the priest denounces the newcomer's wares as instruments of murder. Suddenly Vianne's shop-cum-cafe means that there is somewhere for secrets to be whispered, grievances to be aired, dreams to be tested. But Vianne's plans for an Easter Chocolate Festival divide the whole community in a conflict that escalates into a 'Church not Chocolate' battle. As mouths water in anticipation, can the solemnity of the Church compare with the pagan passion of a chocolate clair? For the first time here is a novel in which chocolate enjoys its true importance, emerging as a moral issue, as an agent of transformation - as well as a pleasure bordering on obsession.

The storied life of A.J Fikry by Gabrielle Zevin
On the faded Island Books sign hanging over the porch of the Victorian cottage is the motto “No Man Is an Island; Every Book Is a World.” A. J. Fikry, the irascible owner, is about to discover just what that truly means.
A. J. Fikry’s life is not at all what he expected it to be. His wife has died, his bookstore is experiencing the worst sales in its history, and now his prized possession, a rare collection of Poe poems, has been stolen. Slowly but surely, he is isolating himself from all the people of Alice Island—from Lambiase, the well-intentioned police officer who’s always felt kindly toward Fikry; from Ismay, his sister-in-law who is hell-bent on saving him from his dreary self; from Amelia, the lovely and idealistic (if eccentric) Knightley Press sales rep who keeps on taking the ferry over to Alice Island, refusing to be deterred by A.J.’s bad attitude. Even the books in his store have stopped holding pleasure for him. These days, A.J. can only see them as a sign of a world that is changing too rapidly.
And then a mysterious package appears at the bookstore. It’s a small package, but large in weight. It’s that unexpected arrival that gives A. J. Fikry the opportunity to make his life over, the ability to see everything anew. It doesn’t take long for the locals to notice the change overcoming A.J.; or for that determined sales rep, Amelia, to see her curmudgeonly client in a new light; or for the wisdom of all those books to become again the lifeblood of A.J.’s world; or for everything to twist again into a version of his life that he didn’t see coming.

A man called Ove by Fredrik Backman
There is something about Ove. At first sight, he is almost certainly the grumpiest man you will ever meet. He thinks himself surrounded by idiots - neighbours who can't reverse a trailer properly, joggers, shop assistants who talk in code, and the perpetrators of the vicious coup d'etat that ousted him as Chairman of the Residents' Association. He will persist in making his daily inspection rounds of the local streets. But isn't it rare, these days, to find such old-fashioned clarity of belief and deed? Such unswerving conviction about what the world should be, and a lifelong dedication to making it just so? In the end, you will see, there is something about Ove that is quite irresistible...

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