In honor of World Literacy Day, September 8, a handful of great books to read for every mood and occasion.

This special edition book roundup in honor of World Literacy Day on September 8 features novels that may have passed you by but are worth a look. Here are some fresh picks, organized by mood, for your next great read. And if you’re hungry for more great recommendations, check out What Should I Read Next, a personalized search engine that helps you find your next favorite book based on books you’ve read and loved and what you’re in the mood for next.


When you’re up for a good cry: When I’m Gone, by Emily Bleeker

She had me at Dear Luke… It’s unique to find myself crying while reading a work of fiction, but even more rare to cry at the first page. Told from the perspective of a grieving widower, the novel is an expertly woven treasure hunt for truth, answers and a way to move on after his wife’s death. The story unfolds as Luke mysteriously receives a series of letters written by his wife over the course of her illness. It bears some resemblance to the 2007 romantic drama P.S. I Love You, starring Hilary Swank and Gerard Butler, and that’s a good thing. Bleeker weaves a beautiful, intimate, and lovingly-written tale that features strong characters and a satisfying, cathartic ending.


For a rainy Sunday afternoon: Shadowboxing With Bukowski, by Darrell Kastin

Book-lover and bookstore owner Nick Kastinovich has big dreams in a dark, gritty world of cigarettes, cafes and most of all books. Lovingly written as an homage to literary giants like the poet Charles Bukowski and author Fyodor Dostoyevsky, Darrell Kastin explores the concepts of fantasy vs. reality and the meaning (or meaninglessness) of life. Not a light read, by any means, it’s more of an immersive experience best experienced over a strong European espresso in a dark corner of an obscure café.


On vacation in Europe or someplace equally world-expanding: The Red Notebook, by Antoine Lauraine

Take a lovely journey through Paris to connect a lonely bookseller with an equally lonely girl in this whimsical novel by Antoine Lauraine. If you’re looking for a quick escape that’s similar in feel and tone to Muriel Barbery’s The Elegance of the Hedgehog, but tinged with more optimistic overtones, or perhaps similar to Breakfast at Tiffany’s without the glamour, give The Red Notebook a try. The movie rights have recently been sold, so keep an eye out for news about this book and author who are on the rise.


When the fog rolls in and you’re looking for a good detective mystery: Murder on Edisto, by C. Hope Clark

Murder on Edisto is the first in the Edisto Island Mysteries, and a great introduction to this series of quick but immersive reads. Edisto Island is a paradise where people come to escape the world, but murder and intrigue intervene, drawing in the heroine, Callie, and readers as well. If, like me, you binge-watched Veronica Mars on Netflix and are devastated that nothing can even come close to a replacement when you’re done with the series, unplug and dive into the Edisto Island Mysteries instead!


When you’re looking to relive your lost youth: You Were Here, by Cori McCarthy

Many adult readers are crossing over to read Young Adult books, and You Were Here by Cori McCarthy is a perfect example of why. On the eve of high school graduation Jaycee and her friends retrace the steps of her brother who died on his graduation night years before. In an effort to come to terms with his death, Jaycee attempts to re-create some of his daredevil stunts, and in doing so discovers a part of herself she thought was lost forever. Peppered with graphic novel panels and poetry as well as tight, excellent prose, McCarthy weaves a meaningful, memorable story for readers of all ages.


If you’re happy and you know it: Good in Bed, by Jennifer Weiner

Cannie Shapiro has dealt with a lot of issues in her 28 years, but when her ex starts writing about her figure and their sex life, Cannie’s life takes a turn in ways she never expected. A fun, funny read reminiscent of Bridget Jones’ Diary (FYI BJD the book was even better than the movie and also worth a read!), you’ll likely find yourself nodding along with Cannie’s reactions and choices and cheering her on right to the very end.

Up later this month: Books to help you get organized and get your life together!