The best books to keep you going when life's challenges are getting you down

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve always been a hopeless romantic. And a chronic glass-half-full individual. While working as a journalist in South Africa, I managed to stay away from sensitive subjects and gravitated toward films, restaurants, and travel. I also wrote interviews with people. Which led me to write an illustrated poetry book – mostly through observing people and imagining what makes them tick. My novel, Whisper of the Lotus, was based in Cambodia where I lived for four years and fell in love with the culture. I also wrote two children’s books (Ogden The Fish Who Couldn’t Swim Straight and Martha the Blue Sheep). Yes, they all had messages. Mostly about hope.

I wrote...

And The Clouds Parted: A collection of poetry

By Gabrielle Yetter,

Book cover of And The Clouds Parted: A collection of poetry

What is my book about?

And The Clouds Parted was born during lockdown on a Spring morning in 2020. I was on a bike ride with my husband and the world felt dark and foreboding. As I rode, the sun came out, the air warmed, and the clouds parted. It felt like a metaphor for the times and I was moved to write about hope at a time when there was little. From there, I began to watch the “invisible people” around us: the old man in the coffee shop, the edgy-looking woman on the street corner, the handicapped boy trying to cross the road. I wrote about them and how I imagined their lives to be, visualizing what went on in their hearts and heads. 

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The books I picked & why

Book cover of The Boy, the Mole, the Fox and the Horse

Gabrielle Yetter Why did I love this book?

If there were one book I had to take to a desert island, this would be it. Every word and image is so poignant and touching that I want to frame every page and hang them all around the house. As Mackesy said, “All four characters represent different parts of the same person,” and it’s interesting to relate to different characters according to your mood. Not only has the talented Mackesy drawn beautiful illustrations of his four characters (he was a cartoonist for the Spectator and a book illustrator), his words are the perfect complement to inspire on days when you need a lift. 

By Charlie Mackesy,

Why should I read it?

8 authors picked The Boy, the Mole, the Fox and the Horse as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A book for all ages, a book for all time.
Adapted into a short animated film, coming this Christmas.

Enter the world of Charlie's four unlikely friends, discover their story and their most important life lessons.

The boy, the mole, the fox and the horse have been shared millions of times online. They've also been recreated by children in schools and hung on hospital walls. They sometimes even appear on lamp posts and on cafe and bookshop windows. Here, you will find them together in this book of Charlie's most-loved drawings, adventuring into the Wild and exploring the thoughts and…

Book cover of Shantaram

Gabrielle Yetter Why did I love this book?

Talk about inspirational. Not only is Shantaram exquisite for its intensity, human connection, and transformation, but the story behind the book is just as stunning. While doing time in an Australian prison for armed robbery, Roberts had the manuscript destroyed by a guard when he was 400 pages into writing it. So what did he do? He began again. And it was destroyed once more. And he began a third time, completing the daunting task of writing a 933-page novel. 

As a writer, I know how it feels to lose even one page of something I’ve been working on, so the idea of losing an entire manuscript is enough to give me eternal nightmares.

Shantaram is a story of survival at all odds. And while there are some intense, gritty scenes, the overarching theme is to never give up. It’s an incredible adventure story, and a tale about why the universe sends us on the path we travel.

By Gregory David Roberts,

Why should I read it?

7 authors picked Shantaram as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Now a major television series from Apple TV+ starring Charlie Hunnam!

“It took me a long time and most of the world to learn what I know about love and fate and the choices we make, but the heart of it came to me in an instant, while I was chained to a wall and being tortured.”

An escaped convict with a false passport, Lin flees maximum security prison in Australia for the teeming streets of Bombay, where he can disappear. Accompanied by his guide and faithful friend, Prabaker, the two enter the city’s hidden society of beggars and gangsters,…

Book cover of The Little Prince

Gabrielle Yetter Why did I love this book?

One of my favourite of all time since first reading it in my French class at school. Le Petit Prince is such an enchanting story of innocence, beauty, and love that it touches me every time I read it. And I find new meaning every time. There are so many quotable lines and the illustrations are gorgeous enough to carry the story. It’s just one of those timeless treasures that stays with me forever. 

By Antoine de Saint-Exupery, Richard Howard (translator),

Why should I read it?

15 authors picked The Little Prince as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 13, 14, 15, and 16.

What is this book about?

Few stories are as widely read and as universally cherished by children and adults alike as 'The Little Prince'. Richard Howard's new translation of the beloved classic-published to commemorate the 100th anniversary of Antoine de Saint-Exupery's birth-beautifully reflects Saint-Exupery's unique and gifted style. Howard, an acclaimed poet and one of the preeminent translators of our time, has excelled in bringing the English text as close as possible to the French, in language, style, and most important, spirit. The artwork in this new edition has been restored to match in detail and in colour Saint-Exupery's original artwork. By combining the new…

Book cover of An Evil Cradling

Gabrielle Yetter Why did I love this book?

Sometimes when I’m feeling down, I want to read about people who have had things really bad so it makes me feel better about my own circumstances. And it doesn’t get much worse than Brian Keenan’s story. Abducted in 1985 by fundamentalist Shi’ite militiamen and imprisoned for four and a half years, Keenan describes in excruciating detail what he endured. It’s an incredible testament to the human spirit and how one can survive such suffering. It captivated me from page one as I held my breath, marvelled at this man’s fortitude, and wondered how on earth he managed to get through it all. While it’s a gruelling read, it’s also an amazing story of strength, friendship, and the ability to keep going. 

By Brian Keenan,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked An Evil Cradling as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Brian Keenan's release from captivity was the first ray of hope for those hostages held in the Middle East. He describes the plight of his fellow hostages with first-hand knowledge. The language he uses reflects his past efforts as a poet in describing the pain and claustrophobia of imprisonment.

Book cover of The Prophet

Gabrielle Yetter Why did I love this book?

The Prophet was one of the first inspirational books I read, and it left a lasting impression. Gibran is a master of words and intuition, and his book (first published in 1923) has never been out of print which is a feat in itself. It’s a collection of spiritual messages about life, love, death, family, and work that can be hand-picked any time you’re looking for insight. Lines such as, Beauty is eternity gazing at itself in a mirror. But you are eternity and you are the mirror,” and “Your children are not your children. They are the sons and daughters of Life's longing for itself.Pure poetry. 

By Kahlil Gibran,

Why should I read it?

4 authors picked The Prophet as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

First published in the 1920s, this book attempts to provide the reader with a guide to living. Gibran lets his protagonist, called simply the prophet, deliver homilies on a variety of topics central to daily life: love marriage and children, work and play, possessions, beauty, truth, joy and sorrow and death.

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Melody and the Pier to Forever: Parts Five and Six

By Shawn Michel De Montaigne,

Book cover of Melody and the Pier to Forever: Parts Five and Six

Shawn Michel De Montaigne

New book alert!

What is my book about?

A young adult and epic fantasy novel that begins an entire series, as yet unfinished, about a young girl named Melody who discovers that the pier she lives near goes on forever—a pier that was destroyed by a hurricane that appeared out of blue skies in mere moments in 1983.

Melody doesn't know it, but a king has been searching for her for more than twenty years—longer than she's been alive. His kingdom is readying for the day when they may return to the world found beyond the end of that very pier, a world cast into darkness by an…

Melody and the Pier to Forever: Parts Five and Six

By Shawn Michel De Montaigne,

What is this book about?

Melody Singleton is a bright 13-year-old girl who loves math, classical music, her mom, her best friend Yaeko, and her dog. To her classmates that makes her a nerd, and they cruelly treat her as such. After being expelled from the advanced algebra class for not paying attention, she meets her new teacher, Mr. Conor, who gives her a very strange homework assignment. You see, she got kicked out because she was distracted by a symbol that the rest of us can't see, a beautiful sigil that, incredibly, Mr. Conor can see too, because it's on the assignment he gave…

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