10 Books for When You’re Stressed

Ask any of my friends or me how we are, and the three answers you’ll get the most are “good”, “tired”, or “stressed”. It must be all the schoolwork and holiday stuff hitting at once, but this time of year can definitely get overwhelming for me.  Being a bit of a nerd, I’ll admit that reading is definitely one of my favorite ways to unwind (no surprise if you’ve been reading most of my blog posts).

Here are some of my favorite books that I’ve read and re-read that are really good for distracting me from all the stress …sort of like the literary equivalent of comfort food. (:

1) The Little House on the Prairie series by Laura Ingalls Wilder

I’ll never be to old to re-read these cozy children’s books, telling of a pioneer family in the late 1800s.  I can’t possibly choose a favorite of the series, but I do love the way the focus of the books shift as Laura grows up.

2) Run For Your Life by Marilyn Levy

One of those “underdog-who-makes-it” stories, Run For Your Life is about Kisha, an inner city girl living in Oakland, CA whose life is changed when a man named Darrell comes to her neighborhood attempts to start a track team.

3) When You Reach Me by Rebecca Stead

This book is what happens when sci-fi meets a school story in New York City.  It’s on a middle school level, so it goes fast.  The way all the subplots tie up in the end leaves me happy every time, but my favorite part will always be the characters, especially Miranda and Sal.

4) The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank

This the actual diary of Anne Frank, a Jewish girl in hiding with her family during the Holocaust. I love reading about how normal she seems in extraordinary circumstances.  You read about family arguments, boy drama, doing hair, studying – the mundane mixed with Anne Frank’s inspiring spirit.

5) An Abundance of Katherines by John Green

John Green books are popular, but this is his most underrated novel by far.  It’s completely nerdy and completely hilarious. What are the odds of a guy getting dumped by a different Katherine 19 times?

6) Hope Was Here by Joan Bauer

Speaking of comfort food…  A novel full of good food and waitress-ing tips and family themes.  Warning though: do not read on an empty stomach. (You can read my full review here.)

7) Wonder by R. J. Palacio


Wonder is also children’s book that I’ve enjoyed reading. It’s a good length, fairly long.  It’s not simplistic in that it portrays a kid with a facial abnormality from all points of view (August, the kid, himself, his sister, mom, sister’s friends, students at his school). The end is super warm-and-fuzzy, which is a style I tend to appreciate more the more stressed I am. (:

8) The Harry Potter books by J. K. Rowling

Even if you’ve already read these, you can always re-read them. Even for the third time.  It seems every time I do re-read them I’ll find another funny snippet or insight that I missed before!

9)Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet by Jamie Ford

It’s a love story set in America in the 1940s between a Chinese immigrant boy and a Japanese girl trying to overcome prejudices.  Perhaps the most aptly titled book ever, Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet will make you feel all the emotions, both bitter and sweet, in a way that’s so much deeper than The Fault in Our Stars for example (sorry! Only comparison I could think of…don’t hate me!).

10) Out of the Dust by Karen Hesse

If you’ve never read a novel in free verse, you should.  Out of the Dust shows the gravity of the Dust Bowl by telling the story of Billie Jo through a sort of poetry-prose hybrid.  It’s beautiful to read.


Does anyone else feel this way around December?  If you’ve read these books or have some on your de-stress list, please share!



Filed under books

2 responses to “10 Books for When You’re Stressed

  1. A Little Princess and Little Women are great classics that I enjoy listening too to fall asleep or just chill! 😉


  2. Madeleine L’Engle’s “A Wrinkle in Time” is one of my favorites. It’s pretty deep and philosophical but still sweet and an easy read 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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