Books for Tough Times


We all go through difficult times and when I do, books are often part of my therapy, offering escapism, wisdom, connection and hope.

Here are some of the books that have helped me most in harder seasons:

1. A Thousand Gifts, by Ann Voskamp
This book completely changed me. It’s essentially about gratitude, but not in a happy go lucky way. It’s about the deep gratitude that comes from knowing and seeing that God is good in all circumstances. It’s also about practising thankfulness determinedly and faithfully and the joy that this brings. This book is a MUST read.

2. Happy, by Fearne Cotton
This has been a recent read for me. It’s partly about the author’s own experience of depression but more generally about the stuff of life: work, family and finding balance and positivity in it all. I’ve been surprised how helpful I have found this book. It’s helped me to stay more positive and to be kinder to myself  during a very shaky, stressy kind of season in my own life.

3. Present over Perfect, by Shauna Niequist
I love Shauna Niequist’s writing and this latest book about going against the grain and slowing down really struck a chord with me. It’s about savouring the moments, about taking away the pressure to be perfect, about saying the right nos and the right yeses.

4. The Broken Way, by Ann Voskamp
This is a book about how brokeness can be beautiful. It’s also about ‘living given’ and the power of love, sacrifice and generosity. I read this during a time of broken heartedness and felt God make the time of pain a holy one.

5. Following Atticus, by Tom Ryan
This is a (true) story about a man and his dog. It’s endearing, uplifting and very human.

6. Cultivate, by Lara Casey

This book is about cultivating a garden and a life, written with integrity and sensitivity. Its hopeful and practical and made its mark on me in a very tender, gentle way.

Of course there are also countless novels that have got me through times of sadness or uncertainty through the sheer escapism of being gripped in a good story: books like The Distant Hours, by Kate Morton; the Harry Potter series; The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafon; classics like those by Tolkien and the Brontes; light reads by Veronica Henry; Agatha Christie’s  huge body of work and so many more.

Which books have had an impact on you?

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