One of the best ways to get inspired and grow as a person is to read books that encourage this.
While many people turn to self-help books for inspiration and self-improvement, fiction can also be a great tool to help you become the best version of yourself.
I have selected 7 beautiful novels for inspiration and growth to help you navigate life, feel inspired, and achieve your fullest potential.
Many of these are award-winning books that have been praised for their ability to move and inspire readers in various areas of life.
The most beautiful books for inspiration and growth cover a variety of topics, themes, and settings, but what they all have in common are relatable characters, poignant emotional situations, and powerful messages that readers can apply to their own lives.
Whether you’ve been looking for the motivation to finish an old project, are unsure of which path to take in your life, or simply want to show up as your best self, there’s a book in my list of recommendations to guide you along the way.
7 Best Beautiful Novels For Inspiration And Growth
The Kite Runner is a powerful and moving novel set in Afghanistan around the time of the Soviet invasion and other tumultuous events in the country’s history. The story centers around a friendship between two young boys.
Their friendship is complicated by differences in culture and status, and they part ways under terrible circumstances.
Many years later, however, Amir must confront his lost friendship and the reasons behind his separation from Hassan as he sets off on a dangerous mission to rescue Hassan’s son.
This is a shocking and unsettling yet deeply touching tale that explores themes such as coming of age, friendship, guilt, betrayal, and courage.
If you are navigating any of these things in your own life, or simply want to be reminded of what is important in times of turmoil, this is the book for you.
- Exceptionally emotional and moving
- Skillful writing that creates immersive scenes and images
- Important messages about politics and societal values
- Contains difficult scenes that readers may find disturbing
If you’re looking for a novel that contains all the guidance and wisdom of a self-help book to help you feel inspired in life, you should read The Alchemist. The protagonist in this novel is a shepherd boy from Andalusia called Santiago.
Over the course of the novel, Santiago embarks on a journey to find treasure in the pyramids of Egypt. However, the lessons he learns on his travels are more valuable than any material treasure.
Santiago experiences love, meets wise mentors, and discovers who he is as a person along the way.
Combining spiritual wisdom and a compelling narrative, The Alchemist is a book that encourages readers, through its powerful message, to pursue their dreams while embracing the opportunity for exploration that every journey provides.
- Beautifully written and poetic
- Imparts important wisdom about perseverance and self-discovery
- Relatively short and easy to get through
- Religious and esoteric themes that could be off-putting to some readers
America for Beginners is the tale of a literal and metaphorical journey undertaken by a widowed mother hoping to find out what really happened to her son.
Pival’s late husband told her that their son had passed away after he came out as gay, but Pival never accepted this as the truth. With her husband now dead, Pival sets off to New York to uncover the truth, once and for all.
As she travels across America, Pival not only encounters clues and answers about her son, but also about the country, herself, and her companions. This is a tale of grief, hope, love, discovery, family, and friendship.
It also touches on eye-opening themes such as the immigrant experience and reminds readers not to lose sight of what truly matters.
- Contains valuable cultural insights
- Well-developed characters that readers will truly feel for
- Moments of humor throughout lighten some of the more difficult themes
- The ending feels slightly rushed
This Tender Land is, first and foremost, a novel based on the Great Depression’s impact on America as a whole, and the real and devastating experiences of the Native American people during this time period.
The protagonist, Odie, attends the Lincoln Indian Training School – an institution designed to strip Native American children of their culture. Having committed a crime, Odie runs away with his brother and two other students.
Their epic journey up the Mississippi River includes encounters with all kinds of people, from farmers to spiritual healers, all of whom provide the children with essential wisdom that readers can also use to inspire and motivate them in day-to-day life.
- Historically well-researched and educational
- The epic storyline remains gripping and exciting throughout
- The eloquent and impactful writing style
- The dialogue feels less believable in some places than in others
This novel manages to be sweet, haunting, sad, joyful, meaningful, and comforting all at once. If you’re looking for a powerful exploration of the human condition that you can apply to your own life, you need to read this book.
Etta and Otto and Russell and James follows the intertwined lives of the four very different titular characters.
When Etta, at the age of 83, embarks on a journey to see the ocean, Russell (a neighbor who has loved Etta secretly for decades) persuades her husband, Otto, to go and find her. This is the beginning of a journey of self-discovery for all involved.
- Magical realism aspects are fun and compelling at the same time
- The charming and simple writing style is easy to digest
- Thought-provoking and touching story
- The ending is ambiguous, which may not feel satisfying to some readers
If you’re looking for a novel that will inspire you to learn more about yourself and change your life, consider picking up The Clock Dance.
In this novel, the protagonist, Willa, has failed to change her life despite having had numerous opportunities to do so.
When another chance arises, she takes it, flies cross-country to meet a complete stranger, and learns incredible life lessons in the process.
This is the perfect book to read if you want motivation to seize opportunities and build the courage to make big life decisions.
- An inspirational story of courage and autonomy
- Explores relatable themes such as childhood, family, and relationships
- Realistic and vividly-portrayed characters
- Not a particularly dramatic or action-packed plot, which some readers may find dull
The Italian Teacher is a complex, emotional, and at times painful novel about a boy named Pinch who has grown up in the shadow of his narcissistic father, with whom he has a psychologically damaging relationship.
Pinch tries his best to live up to his father’s reputation but ends up becoming an Italian teacher. After the death of his father, however, Pinch determines to build his own legacy.
This book provides excellent insights into healing from narcissistic relationships while finding authenticity and pursuing dreams.
- Lots of plot twists in the second half to keep readers engaged
- Interesting and thought-provoking if you are interested in the art world
- Compelling writing draws a wide range of emotions from the reader
- The narrative is very sad in places and could stir up difficult feelings
Choosing Beautiful Novels For Inspiration And Growth
Think About What Moves You
If you’re going to use fiction to inspire and motivate you in your life, it’s important to choose subject matter and writing styles that are likely to move you in this direction.
You should also think about what setting and themes usually interest and inspire you. For example, if you know that you find lyrical or poetic writing styles to be compelling, you should choose novels that are written this way.
On the other hand, if you find literary fiction frustrating to read, it’s best to avoid novels like this since you’ll be less likely to take anything away from a novel you’re not enjoying.
You can use the synopsis of the novels on this list to choose one that is likely to inspire you, or you can read spoiler-free reviews for more insight.
Choose A Novel That Corresponds To Your Life
Fiction is most likely to inspire you and encourage self-discovery and growth if there is some connection between the novel’s subject matter and your own life.
That doesn’t mean that you need to read books about characters that are living a life similar to your own.
It simply means that there should be some kind of connection, whether that’s a thematic correlation or similarities between your personality or values and the protagonist’s.
Avoid Overly Long Novels
All the novels I have recommended today are under 500 pages long.
That’s not to say that longer books won’t inspire you, but the books I have chosen are easy to get through and allow you to take meaning from the story without having to read 800 pages first.
When choosing novels for inspiration and growth, be sure to prioritize narratives and writing styles that feel in some way applicable as well as powerful to you. You should also choose novels that you will be able to be immersed in and digest easily.
The emotional power of fiction is one of the most effective tools you can use to unlock your potential and grow as a person.
If you have been feeling stagnant and want some inspiration for self-discovery and growth, these 7 novels will help you on your journey to becoming your best self and changing your life.
Frequently Asked Questions
What Makes A Beautiful Novel?
What constitutes a beautiful novel will look slightly different to everyone, but a number of factors can contribute to a novel’s beauty.
For example, an author’s writing style can be beautiful, as can the narrative as a whole, the relationships between characters, and the moral of the story.
Which Are The Most Inspirational Books?
Paulo Coelho’s The Alchemist features on many lists of the most inspirational books, as does The Kite Runner and the other books on this list.
Are Novels Better Than Self-Help For Inspiration And Growth?
That depends on who you ask, but many people find fiction to be more impactful in terms of inspiration because of the emotions it conjures up.
Some novels, like The Alchemist, combine elements of self-help within the narrative, so you can have the best of both worlds.