Studies have shown that when we witness kindness, we are inspired to be kind to others. Also, reading fiction encourages empathy and increases understanding. Experience for yourself a hopeful combination of these two truths by enjoying stories like these favorites about people and/or communities helping others. For more kindness and community inspired fiction, venture to Lists & Suggestions.
Anxious People by Fredrik Backman
Taken hostage by a failed bank robber while attending an open house, eight anxiety-prone strangers—including a redemption-seeking bank director, two couples who would fix their marriages and a plucky octogenarian—discover their unexpected common traits.
The Readers of Broken Wheel Recommend by Katarina Bivald
Broken Wheel, Iowa, has never seen anyone like Sara, who traveled all the way from Sweden just to meet her pen pal, Amy. When she arrives, however, she finds that Amy’s funeral has just ended. Luckily, the townspeople are happy to look after their bewildered tourist–even if they don’t understand her peculiar need for books.
The Real Men Knit by Kwana Jackson
Determined to keep his late adoptive mother’s Harlem knitting shop open, one of four brothers accepts the help of a craft-savvy businesswoman who is hiding her secret crush on him.
Bring on the Blessings by Beverly Jenkins
When a post-Reconstruction community succumbs to a desperate need for funds and purpose, its mayor puts the small town up for sale and finds a buyer in Bernardine Brown, who believes the town’s sale to be a sign from God.
The House in the Cerulean Sea by TJ Klune
When Linus is unexpectedly summoned by Extremely Upper Management he’s given a curious and highly classified assignment: travel to Marsyas Island Orphanage, where six dangerous children reside. Linus must set aside his fears and determine whether or not they’re likely to bring about the end of days. But the children aren’t the only secret the island keeps…
Natalie Tan’s Book of Luck & Fortune by Roselle Lim
Inheriting her grandmother’s restaurant in a crumbling San Francisco Chinatown neighborhood, Natalie Tan is advised by the local seer to prepare three recipes from her grandmother’s cookbook to help their struggling community.
The Switch by Beth O’Leary
Ready for an adventure in the months after her husband of 60 years departs, a woman from a picture-postcard Yorkshire village offers to swap places with her burned-out adult granddaughter to pursue romance in bustling London.
The Thursday Murder Club by Richard Osman
Meeting weekly in their retirement village’s Jigsaw Room to exchange theories about unsolved crimes, four savvy septuagenarians propose a daring but unorthodox plan to help a woman rookie cop solve her first big murder case.