December 17, 2021
Do you have “Uplit” on your bookshelves?
Today for the #WhatsOnYourBookshelfChallenge I’m focusing on “Uplit.” If this term is new to you, here’s a definition I found online:
‘Up Lit’ is the new literary buzz word, described as a trend for books with an emphasis on empathy, books that are uplifting and life-affirming, and which explore themes of family bonds and the human spirit. These types of novels focus on kinder, gentler human connections, but have an element that preserves realism.
Although I regularly and intentionally seek out “feel good” books with some substance (more in 2020 and 2021 than ever before!), I first became aware of “Uplit” as an official term and subgenre in this blog post by Lynne @ Fictionophile.
Uplit adds balance to my reading life.
Perhaps this is why I adore Middle Grade literature that often has strong themes of family, friendship, and hope.
However, “uplit” is not exclusively fluffy and light. The stories can include substantial themes but kindness, gentleness, empathy, and hope always shine through the darkness.
***Note of Caution: as with most subgenres, there can be a difference of opinion in the books that are included….the following list is not an “official” list and simply represents my personal opinions.
From my reading, here are a few of my favorite “uplit” titles (in no particular order):
- A Vicarage Christmas by Kate Hewitt (#1 in a series)….today’s review….see below
- Dear Mrs. Bird and Yours Cheerfully by AJ Pearce
- A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman
- The Ladies’ No 1 Detective Agency series by Alexander McCall Smith
- Love and Lavender by Jose S. Kilpack
- The Funny Thing About Norman Foreman by Julietta Henderson
- The Last Chance Library by Freya Sampson
- The Unlikely Yarn of the Dragon Lady by Sharon J. Mondragon
- Our Italian Summer by Jennifer Probst
- Three Words For Goodbye by Hazel Gaynor and Heather Webb
- The Kitchen Front by Jennifer Ryan
- The Cornish Midwife by Jo Bartlett
- Very Sincerely Yours by Kerry Winfrey
- The Invisible Husband of Frick Island by Colleen Oakley
- The Great Escape From Woodlands Nursing Home by Joanna Nell
- The Last Bookshop in London by Madeline Martin
- The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer
- The Story of Arthur Truluv by Elizabeth Berg
- The Brilliant Life of Eudora Honeysett by Annie Lyons
- The Storied Life of AJ Fikry by Gabrielle Zevin
- The Switch by Beth O’Leary
- Moonlight Harbor series by Sheila Roberts (#4 is my fav)
- The Printed Letter Bookshop by Katherine Reay
- The Late Bloomer’s Club by Louise Miller
- The Summer House by Lauren K. Denton
- The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry by Rachel Joyce
- How to Find Love in a Bookshop by Veronica Henry
- The Golden Girls’ Getaway by Judy Leigh
- The Chilbury Ladies’ Choir by Jennifer Ryan
Although those who curate lists often cite Eleanor Oliphant as their prime example of “Uplit,” I don’t know if I fully agree. Although there is kindness, quirkiness, and a ray of hope, the story is filled with trauma and has an unreliable narrator. The story is devastating. What do you think? Uplit or not?
- Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman
For today’s review, I’m highlighting my most recent “uplit” find from The Holley Sisters of Thornthwaite Series (Book 1)
A family tragedy that happened years ago has caused Anna, the third of four sisters, to suffer from shyness and some social anxiety. She works and lives in Manchester and for the first time in years she comes home for Christmas because her parents have a big announcement. Coming home is difficult for her yet she adores her family. One night to escape her busy and complicated family and bossy sister, she goes alone to a pub where she meets a handsome and kind stranger. Simon is easy to talk to and she ends up spilling her family secrets. She’s mortified to later learn that Simon is connected with her father at his Parish. Can Simon and Anna salvage their new relationship, negotiate family complications, and create a magical Christmas?
I first came across this series in a post by Lisa @ Hopewell’s Public Library of Life Blog just at the time I was comtemplating light Christmas reads for December and rounding out my novella reads for Novellas in November. At 182 pages, this is a quick light read for your busy December days! Thanks for the rec Lisa!
Setting: Who can resist a quaint village in England’s Lake District?
Characters: A Vicarage Christmas is a poignant story of a lovely family comprised of four adult daughters with four unique personalities, a wise and kind father who is also the Vicar of the village parish, and a compassionate and understanding mother who holds the family together and is a gracious hostess. Then, there’s Simon who would like a future with Anna, and I can’t forget about the beloved family dog.
Themes: Lovely themes in A Vicarage Christmas include family dynamics, sibling loyalty, taking risks, grief and childhood trauma, reconciling with the past, community, and parents who do the unexpected.
Lots to Love! I enjoyed this “uplit” story of family, community, and finding love. After reading this novella, I am eager to continue with the series. I’m now on book three, but I think I’m loving book one the most! It was a perfect December read and introduction to the series.
Content Consideration: one trigger warning for memories of the death of a child (sibling)
Recommended: A Vicarage Christmas is an excellent example of “uplit” in my opinion! I’m enthusiastically recommending this heartfelt story for fans of “uplit,” for readers who love gently told stories with themes of family, faith, and finding love, and for those looking for a novella or quick vacation/weekend read.
My Rating: 4 Stars (3.5 rounded up)
Meet the Author, Kate Hewitt
Kate Hewitt is the bestselling author of many novels of both historical and contemporary fiction. She particularly enjoys writing contemporary issue-driven women’s fiction, and her novels have been called ‘unputdownable’ and ‘the most emotional book I have ever read’ by readers.
An American ex-pat, she lives in a small market town in Wales with her husband and five young(ish) children, along with their two Golden Retrievers. Join her newsletter for monthly updates and giveaways at http://www.kate-hewitt.com, or be part of her Facebook groups Kate’s Reads, to discuss all manner of books, movies, music and cooking.
Have you read A Vicarage Christmas or is it on your TBR?
Do you read “uplit”?
What is your number one “uplit” recommendation?
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
Let’s Get Social!
Thank you for visiting and reading today! I’d be honored and thrilled if you choose to enjoy and follow along (see subscribe or follow option), promote, and/or share my blog. Every share helps us grow.
***Blog 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 photos are credited to Amazon or an author’s (or publisher’s) website.