The best books to raise the spirits

David Stuart Davies Author Of The Dead of Winter: A Rupert Wilde Mystery
By David Stuart Davies

Who am I?

My writing life is a mixture. I have written novels of crime fiction, many featuring Sherlock Holmes, as well as a variety of sleuths of my own creation. I was editor of the monthly journal of the Crime Writers’ Association for twenty years and have written several plays, non-fiction books as well introductions to numerous literary collections. While I admit that my writings veer towards the serious and dramatic, in my social life I think of myself as a light-hearted fellow and as an antidote to my own dark fiction I enjoy having my spirits lifted by witty and amusing tales that help to raise the spirits.


I wrote...

The Dead of Winter: A Rupert Wilde Mystery

By David Stuart Davies,

Book cover of The Dead of Winter: A Rupert Wilde Mystery

What is my book about?

This is the first of a new series of Golden Age mysteries featuring the private detective Rupert Wilde. Having survived the First World War and been decorated for his efforts, Rupert Wilde is now back in civvy street wondering what to do with his life. On a whim he accepts his Aunt Julia's invitation to a Christmas house party at Pelham House in the wilds of rural Norfolk. He takes with him his newly appointed assistant Kishen, a young Oxford-educated Indian whom he met when he rescued him from a violent mugging. Little did Wilde know there would be murder, intrigue, and mutilated bodies awaiting him behind the walls of Pelham House. Wilde and Kishen turn detective to get to the bottom of these puzzling and ghastly festive felonies.

The books I picked & why

Shepherd is reader supported. We may earn an affiliate commission when you buy through links on our website. This is how we fund this project for readers and authors (learn more).

The Wind in the Willows

By Kenneth Grahame,

Book cover of The Wind in the Willows

Why this book?

The winning combination of idyllic countryside and the innocent friendship of the decent animals at the centre of this heart-warming tale lure you easily away from the worries and concerns of the modern world and transport you to this fabled rural landscape. For added enjoyment there are also the comic antics of 'the famous' Toad of Toad Hall. It's a refreshing gin and tonic in book form.

The Wind in the Willows

By Kenneth Grahame,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Spend a season on the river bank and take a walk on the wild side . . .

Spring is in the air and Mole has found a wonderful new world. There's boating with Ratty, a feast with Badger and high jinx on the open road with that reckless ruffian, Mr Toad of Toad Hall. The four become the firmest of friends, but after Toad's latest escapade, can they join together and beat the wretched weasels?

PLUS A behind-the-scenes journey, including author profile, a guide to who's who, activities and more.


Goodbye, Mr. Chips

By James Hilton,

Book cover of Goodbye, Mr. Chips

Why this book?

A novel that presents the career of the schoolmaster Mr. Chipping at Brookfield, a public school in the years towards the end of the 19th century into the 20th. The novel records how in his early days he proved less than effective as a teacher with severe discipline problems but with the help of his new wife he is able to generate deep affection from his charges. The book certainly has some sad moments but overall it is an uplifting read with the underlying theme that goodness always comes out on top.

Goodbye, Mr. Chips

By James Hilton,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Goodbye, Mr. Chips as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Mr. Hilton's classic story of an English schoolmaster.


A Christmas Carol

By Charles Dickens,

Book cover of A Christmas Carol

Why this book?

Well, this is the ultimate festive read. The story of Ebenezer Scrooge is well known and his conversion from a stingy old miser to a generous benefactor is not only touching but life-affirming. However, apart from the story, the book also gives us the pleasure of Dickens' wonderful writing, whether raising a smile with some comic phrase or description or prompting a tear in the sadder passages. A great read.

A Christmas Carol

By Charles Dickens,

Why should I read it?

12 authors picked A Christmas Carol as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Tom Baker reads Charles Dickens' timeless seasonal story.

Charles Dickens' story of solitary miser Ebenezer Scrooge, who is taught the true meaning of Christmas by the three ghosts of Christmas past, present, and future, has become one of the timeless classics of English literature. First published in 1843, it introduces us not only to Scrooge himself, but also to the memorable characters of underpaid desk clerk Bob Cratchit and his poor family, the poorest amongst whom is the ailing and crippled Tiny Tim.

In this captivating recording, Tom Baker delivers a tour-de-force performance as he narrates the story. The listener…


Right Ho, Jeeves

By P. G. Wodehouse,

Book cover of Right Ho, Jeeves

Why this book?

One of the many great comic novels featuring Bertie Wooster, a rich and likeable but somewhat dim-witted fellow about town and his more than capable butler Jeeves who spends a great deal of his time extricating Bertie from various scrapes in which he finds himself. Wodehouse's light and witty prose and the cast of amusing individuals such as Gussie Fink-Nottle and Tubby Glossop, not only make this book a joy to read but guarantees smiles and laughter.

Right Ho, Jeeves

By P. G. Wodehouse,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Right Ho, Jeeves as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

_________________________________________
'If comedy is your thing, it's hard to match PG Wodehouse and his classic characters Jeeves and Bertie Wooster for hilarious farce.' Irish Daily Mail

'P.G. Wodehouse wrote the best English comic novels of the century' Sebastian Faulks

'Heaven is Right Ho, Jeeves' Hugh Johnson

'Jeeves, I'm engaged.'
'I hope you will be very happy, sir.'
'Don't be an ass. I'm engaged to Miss Bassett.'

Bertie is feeling most put out when he finds that his friend Gussie is seeking relationship advice from Jeeves. Meanwhile Aunt Dahlia has asked Bertie to present awards at a school prize-giving ceremony. In…


Something Sensational to Read in the Train

By Gyles Brandreth,

Book cover of Something Sensational to Read in the Train

Why this book?

If you know of Gyles Brandreth, the writer, broadcaster, and polymath you will know what to expect from any work of his. Subtitled The Diary of a Lifetime it contains extracts from his diaries from 1959 to the year 2000. It is a wonderful book to dip into, one that is full of enthusiasm and positivity. It is quite amazing the number of famous people that Brandreth has encountered over the years—not just names from showbusiness but artists, writers, politicians, sportspeople, and royalty. The book is stuffed with anecdotes most of which are highly amusing and are often presented in a self-deprecating manner.

Something Sensational to Read in the Train

By Gyles Brandreth,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Something Sensational to Read in the Train as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

This is a diary packed with famous names and extraordinary stories. It is also rich in incidental detail and wonderful observation, providing both a compelling record of five remarkable decades and a revealing, often hilarious and sometimes moving account of Gyles Brandreth's unusual life -- as a child living in London in the 'swinging' sixties, as a jumper-wearing TV presenter, as an MP and government whip, and as a royal biographer who has enjoyed unique access to the Queen and her family. Something Sensational to Read on the Train takes the reader on a roller-coaster ride from the era of…


5 book lists we think you will like!

Interested in World War 1, friendships, and World War 2?

7,000+ authors have recommended their favorite books and what they love about them. Browse their picks for the best books about World War 1, friendships, and World War 2.

World War 1 Explore 626 books about World War 1
Friendships Explore 385 books about friendships
World War 2 Explore 1142 books about World War 2

And, 3 books we think you will enjoy!

We think you will like The Lord of the Rings, Christmas Day in the Morning, and The Gift of the Magi if you like this list.