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“After nourishment, shelter and companionship, stories are the thing we need most in the world.”

- Philip Pullman


Books have the ability to transport us to new worlds beyond our imagination, feeding our hope, curiosity, wonder, and inspiration.


They offer us a way to learn more deeply about ourselves, allowing us to safely consider and explore new ideas and possibilities when we find things we resonate with, in the pages of a story. 


Through them, we can be exposed to experiences vastly different from our own, challenging our assumptions and understandings, helping us to grow our compassion and convictions.

Stories are obviously found all around us, not just in the pages or audio-tracks of a book. However, reading requires us to engage with stories in a very intimate way because we process the entire experience internally, often strongly identifying or connecting with a particular character who we hold deep empathy for. This is why many of us can find ourselves turning to books when life feels overwhelming or isolating. They can be trusted friends we lean on through hardship as well as entertainment to offer us space from the intensity of life when it feels too heavy to bear.


Speaking for myself, while books have always been a source of comfort and enjoyment, in recent years they have also become powerful tools to engage in community and build meaningful connections. Whether this intimacy has been experienced between myself and fictional characters, real people I will likely never meet outside the pages of their memoirs, or cherished friends I can gush to about my latest reads (including the amazing book clubs organized by Four Seasons Books in Shepherdstown, WV), it’s deeply meaningful and has become a vital part of my personal self-care practice.


For this reason, I wanted to curate a list of some of my favorite “Stories for Self-Care” to share some of the value I’ve found in particular books in hopes that they might support you in your efforts to keep yourself well. My intention is to offer a good mix of fiction as well as non-fiction because as informative and educational as some books can be, many stories still carry a resounding ring of truth, even if they never “actually” happened. 


This is going to be an ever-evolving project with the primary goal being to offer personally endorsed recommendations for reading and offer a taste of how to expect a particular book to support you. There will likely always be sections of pages that are "COMING SOON" so I can take my time to thoughtfully share my insights without delaying you knowing about a book that could be helpful.

Also, as I read a book I'm considering for this list (or re-read one I've already included but need to refresh my memory on to complete it's page) you are welcome to join me in the Fable Book Club: Stories for Self-Care. There, I will be sharing my chapter by chapter thoughts or reactions and look forward to engaging with anyone who wants to join in on the discussion there. The Fable App is a highly accessible way I have found to connect with other book lovers since everything is asynchronous and free to use (you do not have to purchase a book through the app to participate in the group).


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Fiction (Fantasy)

Poignantly Satisfying


Informatively Validating

Non-Fiction (Memoir)

Hilariously Heart-wrenching

Graphic Novel

Enthusiastically Endearing

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Graphic Novel (Romance)

Heartwarmingly Hopeful

Fiction (Fairy Tale Re-Telling)

Accidentally Heroic

Fiction (Fairy Tale Re-Telling)

Unexpectedly Redemptive


Radically Restorative

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Fiction (Solar Punk)

Compassionately Curious

Fiction (Solar Punk)

Wonderfully Meaningful

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Fiction (Romance)

Sizzlingly Optimistic

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Non-Fiction (Memoir)

Spiritually Expansive

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Fiction (Science Fiction)

Timelessly Intimate


Pleasurably Educational

Graphic Novel (Memoir)

Unflinchingly Vulnerable

Fiction (Romance)

Maturely Delicious

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Non-Fiction (Memoir)

Painfully Hopeful

Graphic Novel (Young Adult)

Joyfully Sentimental

Fiction (Young Adult)

Courageously Connecting

Non-Fiction (Memoir)

Tenderly Captivating

"Writing and reading decrease our sense of isolation. They deepen and widen and expand our sense of life: They feed the soul. When writers make us shake our heads with the exactness of their prose and their truths, and even make us laugh about ourselves or life, our buoyancy is restored. We are given a shot at dancing with, or at least clapping along with, the absurdity of life, instead of being squashed by it over and over again. It's like singing on a boat during a terrible storm at sea. You can't stop the raging storm, but singing can change the hearts and spirits of the people who are together on that ship."

-Anne Lamott

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