According to research, reading helps to lower stress levels by 67%, which is kind of amazing considering that it requires absolutely no physical activity whatsoever. It also helps to reduce the risk of dementia by 35%. Obviously I’m aware that reading makes me personally feel better and calms me down, and I’ve been calling Little Women my personal antidepressant for years, but it’s really nice to see it recognised finally! You can also now get ‘Books on Prescription’, where you get your GP to prescribe you a book and then collect it from the local library. Amazing idea.
The Reading Agency have been putting together lists of mood boosting books since last year. As far as I can work out, they’re basically just recommended by readers, and the list at the moment is an interesting one. There’s a lot on it I’ve never read and a few I’ve never even heard of. Obviously as soon as I found it I was immediately tempted to go round the library collecting as many of them as they had at that moment, and was only prevented by the fact that Rhys was sitting at a computer looking at me disapprovingly :-p So anyway, here’s the list, your thoughts on it are welcomed, I’m still working mine out!
Bee Journal – Sean Borodale
Dart – Alice Oswald
The Enchanted April – Elizabeth von Armin
Essential Poems from the Staying Alive Trilogy – Neil Astley
The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society – Mary Ann Schaffer and Annie Barrows (I have this on my shelf and have nearly picked it up so many times I’ve lost count...)
The Help – Kathryn Stockett (just yes. And the movie. Both are brilliant and super uplifting.)
I Capture the Castle – Dodie Smith (this was my teenage happy book. I haven’t read it for years and can’t hugely remember the ins and outs of it but it’s survived all purges and still sits on my shelf, so it may be due a reread)
Miss Garnet’s Angel - Salley Vickers
Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day – Winifred Watson
A Month in the Country – J.L Carr
A Sea Change – Veronica Henry
The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole Aged 13 3/4 – Sue Townsend
Soul Music – Terry Pratchett (or indeed anything he’s ever written.)
A Street Cat Named Bob – James Bowen
The Thread – Victoria Hislop
Thursdays in the Park - Hilary Boyd
Too Much Happiness - Alice Munro
Turned Out Nice Again – Richard Mabey
The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry – Rachel Joyce (I liked this. I can see why it’s on this list, but it wouldn’t necessarily be on mine... Watch this space)
Various Pets Alive and Dead – Marina LewyckaThere's a lot on here that I've never heard of, which is kind of great because what makes people happy differs so much depending on the person and it's always interesting to read something somebody said was uplifting and try to work out what it was about it that made them happy :-) There's also a list from 2012 which can be found here, and they're looking for suggestions for the next list, so if you have a book or books that never fail to make you feel better about things, you can tweet your suggestions using #moodboosting or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Join in, and literally help make the world a happier place!
Next week; my list of happy books!