Is anyone else weary of the darkness that’s filling their newsfeed? Sickness. Death. Hatred. Anger. Bad decisions. It never seems to end. Thankfully, there are some stories that can shine into our life through all this.
People say that fiction shouldn’t be an escape from the problems of the real world. And they’re right. That doesn’t mean that fiction can’t still inspire us with hope, beauty, and goodness when hardship hits. When stories do this, they aren’t serving to numb reality, rather to equip us to live more fully.
Since 2020 has been filled with a lot of turmoil, I wanted to recommend a few books that are filled with much- needed light.
1. The Fellowship of the Ring– J.R.R. Tolkien
As I reread this fantastic fantasy classic, I can’t help but relate to Frodo more than I have in the past. When this hobbit takes up the task to leave his idyllic home in order to destroy the One Ring, he’s overwhelmed, yearning to return to a peaceful life, and wishing he did not live in such a time of crisis.
Yet, I love how Tolkien portrays the rays of hope in the midst of trying circumstances. Combating the threatening evil are moments of courage, friendship, and faith. The challenge is still looming, but light is always there.
2. Little Women— Louisa May Alcott
When I was younger, I couldn’t stand this book. I don’t think I even made it all the way through. However, a few years ago, I read it again and adored it. It has since become one of my favorite books and undeniably deserves to be on this list.
As I watched each of the four March sisters go through the struggle of growing up, becoming the women they’re meant to be, suffering loss, and achieving their dreams, I couldn’t help but find a whole lot of wisdom and healing.
While Alcott doesn’t shy away from the fact that life is hard, she also reminds you of the fact that the ingredients for joy are simple and a choice within your power to make.
3. On the Edge of the Dark Sea of Darkness— Andrew Peterson
I just finished this book, and I had to include it on this list. If you’re in the mood for goodness and humor, definitely pick this one up.
The plot in a nutshell: Three siblings who live in a small town under the occupation of monstrous soldiers discover there may be a few more secrets to their town and family than they expected. Oh, and there are hilarious footnotes. Need I say more?
There’s no other way to describe this than wholesome, heart-warming, and goofy.
4. Dragon Rider— Cornelia Funke
This story is a lovely combination of the classic quest, dragons, and memorable characters.
Firedrake, his Brownie companion, and a young human named Ben set out to find the legendary birthplace of the dragons in hopes that they can discover this new home in time to relocate the last remaining dragons from land that’s about to be developed. However, they’re not the only ones looking for the dragons’ birthplace, and a menacing, golden shadow lurks wherever they go.
It truly is wonderful, and a great read full of magic, adventure, and finding home.
5. Anne of Green Gables— L.M. Montgomery
Anne Shirley’s imagination, vibrancy, and mishaps are enough to brighten just about anyone’s day. Why I think this book is so poignant for this list is because, as an orphan, Anne is acquainted with sorrow and hardship yet still finds joy in the beautiful world around her as she tries to convince the Cuthberts to keep her.
She’s hardly perfect, but her longing for acceptance and love is one many can relate to. And, quite frankly, her vivid imagination is lovely to read about. It’s definitely a ray of literary light.
I hope these books bring light into your day and ease the pressure of the tumult that our world is facing.