Lighter Reads During Stressful Times

April 3, 2020

Lighter Reads During Stressful Times

Lighter Reads During Stressful Times COVID-19 (image: a while flower petal floating on water)

Image Source: Canva

*This post contains Amazon affiliate links.

Lately, have you found it difficult to focus on reading?

Do you have more difficulty than usual focusing on heavier reading material?

Reading can help pass the time when you’re confined to home and you’ve finished Netflix!

As COVID-19 escalated, so did the anxiety. March found me setting aside heavier reads and searching out easy, engaging, and light reads. I have heard the same sentiments from other reading friends across social media. This motivated me to consider creating a book list focusing on lighter reads! I pulled the following titles from my Goodreads “Read” shelf. I enjoy my lighter reads with a side of substance and low on steam, so these might not be as light or steamy as you’re looking for. Certainly, there are hundreds of titles that I haven’t read that can be added to this list. I can guarantee, though, that these titles do not come with serious trigger or content warnings. Check out the list, and let me know your favorite light reading recommendations in the comments.

I hope you are finding some comfort and distraction through reading during these worrisome times. Be safe everyone!

Titles are links to my blog or Amazon affiliate links.


Birth and Other Surprises by Kimberly David Basso

Talking As Fast As I Can by Lauren Graham (for fans of Gilmore Girls and Parenthood)

84, Charing Cross Road by Helene Hanff (a classic)

Inheritance by Dani Shapiro

I Miss You When I Blink by Mary Laura Philpott

Complicated Families

The Unlikely Adventures of the Shergill Sisters by Balli Kaur Jaswal

Eden by Jeanine Blasberg

Hard Cider by Barbara Nemon

A Place For Us by Fatima Farheen Mirza

Saving CeeCee Honeycutt by Beth Hoffman

The Dearly Beloved by Cara Wall

Ayesha at Last by Uzma Jalaluddin

The Bookish Life of Nina Hill by Abbi Waxman


The River by Peter Heller

Castle of Water by Dane Hucklebridge

Heartwarming Women’s Fiction

Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Schafer

Meet Me in Monaco by Hazel Gaynor and Heather Webb

This Won’t End Well by Camille Pagan

The Printed Letter Bookshop by Katherine Reay

Meet Me at the Museum by Anne Youngson

Hurricane Season by Lauren Denton

Looking For Me by Beth Hoffman  (Goodreads review)

Gentle Mystery

Inspector Gamache Series by Louise Penny


Things My Son Needs to Know About the World by Fredrik Backman

Sweet Romance

How to Find Love in a Bookshop by Veronica Henry

What You Wish For by Katherine Center  (Goodreads review) Pub Date: 7/14/20

Glory Road by Lauren Denton

Things You Save in a Fire by Katherine Center  (Goodreads review)

The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry by Gabrielle Zevin

Late Bloomer’s Club by Louise Miller

Our Souls at Night by Kent Haruf (a classic)  (Goodreads review)

Little Bookshop on the Seine by Rebecca Raisin

Not Scary Ghost Story

The Beautiful Strangers by Camille Di Miao

Overall, Feel-Good, Gentle, Cozy Read

No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency Series by Alexander McCall Smith


Save Me the Plums by Ruth Reichl

Bread and Wine by Shauna Niequist

The Little Book of Hygge by Meik Wiking

Middle-Grade Lighter Reads

(sometimes a light-hearted and heartfelt middle-grade read is a perfect read!)

More to the Story by Hena Khan (Little Women retelling)  (Goodreads review)

The Vanderbeeker’s of 141st Street by Karina Yan Glaser (first in a series)

Wishtree by Katherine Applegate  (Goodreads review)


Tell Me Three Things by Julie Buxbaum

With the Fire on High by Elizabeth Acevedo


What have you been reading during these stressful times?
Do you have recommendations for lighter reads?

ICYMI: More Book Lists
(but some are heavier reads)

Top Ten Favorite Books About Books

The Last 10 Books That Gave Me a Book Hangover

Popular Books Worth the Hype

If You Like That, Read This!

Nonfiction/Fiction Book Pairings

Favorite Quirky Literary Characters

Most Memorable Reads of 2019

Happy Reading Book Buddies!

“Ah, how good it is to be among people who are reading.”
~Rainer Maria Rilke

“I love the world of words, where life and literature connect.”
~Denise J Hughes

“Reading good books ruins you for enjoying bad ones.”
~Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society

“I read because books are a form of transportation, of teaching, and of connection! Books take us to places we’ve never been, they teach us about our world, and they help us to understand human experience.”
~Madeleine Riley, Top Shelf Text

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***Blogs posts may contain affiliate links. This means that at no extra cost to you, I can earn a small percentage of your purchase price.

Unless explicitly stated that they are free, all books that I review have been purchased by me or borrowed from the library.

Book Cover and author photo are credited to Amazon or an author’s (or publisher’s) website.



  1. Great list! Katherine Center books comfort me too. i just read Eleanor Oliphant, and it encouraged me a lot. Sarah Addison Allen makes a good comfort read author too.

  2. It’s so true Carol! I’ve shifted to lighter, happier books in the last weeks. Pulled a Rosamunde Pilcher off my shelf to reread because I knew I would love the characters and it would all end well. Now I’m reading Laura Ingalls Wilder – The Long Winter. I figure if they can be trapped at home from October until May and have far less than we do, it’s bound to be encouraging. And thanks for your above list. Recognized several titles I’ve read at your suggestion. And just stopped to order the Shauna Niequist book on Amazon. thanks!

    • This is why I love Middle Grade…’s a rule that they either end well or on a high note of hope! 😂 I’m kind of stuck because I’ve committed to a few heavier content ARCs that need to be reviewed but I’m feeling so meh about them! I keep thinking of all the histfic I’ve read and all that the people endured. I think we’ll read stories like The Long Winter with a great deal more understanding and empathy! With our wifi, utilities, and delivery services, we don’t have that many complaints! ….except the loss of income! This is one benefit to retirement! The checks keep coming! I’m afraid to get the news about investments though! 😫 Enjoy Bread and Wine! I’ve bought that one for many gifts! Thanks for commenting!

  3. Hi Carol – this is a great idea. I love your suggestions. I’ve read a few of these and agree they are just right for this time we’re in. I’ve read 2 Inspector Gamache books and enjoyed them and really enjoyed The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry. I’ve been meaning to read Things You Save in a Fire so thanks for the reminder 🙂

    • You’re welcome! I’m happy to hear we’ve enjoyed some of the same books! Enjoy your light reads! Thanks for commenting!

  4. I have loved several of your choices. I don’t think my reading choices have changed, or if they have it has gone unnoticed. I want to tackle a few of my already owned larger novels, but I have yet to do so. Currently my work schedule has only minimally changed, so I haven’t had much extra reading time. I’m thankful, but also a little envious of the extra book time of others 🙂

    • I just found your comment in spam! (as well as two others) I’m sorry about the delay in responding! Thanks for commenting and I hope you can carve out some good reading time!

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