Take one book and call me in the morning.
I don’t know about you, but I self-medicate with books. When I’m enduring a difficult stretch, I often choose to read books that are funny, or I’ll reach for a familiar comfort read. I’ll choose the simple and clear over the more complex, simply because my mind is under strain already and I want any input I have control over to be positive and uplifting.
Well, it turns out that my instinct for bibliotherapy is a sound one: In several countries, including
people with mild to moderate mental health issues, including anxiety, panic
attacks and depression, can be prescribed high-quality self help books they can
borrow from their local libraries. Miranda McKearney, chief executive of the
Reading Agency, a group that helped develop the list of books, told Mark Brown
of The Guardian, “There is a growing
evidence base that shows that self help reading can help people with certain
mental health conditions to get better.” The program is called Books on
Prescription, and the topics the books cover include anger, anxiety,
depression, binge eating and stress and worry, among others. (Please note that
this program is not intended for those with serious mental illness.) Click here
for a list of 30 of the most popular books used in Books on Prescription
But what if you don’t have a mental health condition—can books still help you feel better? I certainly think so, and so does the Reading Agency, which has also compiled a list of “mood boosting books”—books they believe will generally provide uplifting reading. My favorite Barbara Kingsolver book, Prodigal Summer, is on this list, and a couple of books that are currently on my TBR list. I’ll explore some of the other titles because I’m always looking for happy reads. Click here for the whole list. (If you have a book to suggest, they’re currently compiling a new list for 2013. Tweet your recommendation using #moodboosting or email them at email@example.com. Recommendations will be given to reading groups who will decide which books make the cut for the list to be released in May.)
If I were to make my own list of mood boosting books, in addition to Prodigal Summer, it would include:
I’m a Stranger Here Myself, Bill Bryson
Fifty Acres and a Poodle, Jeanne Marie Laskas
Guardians of Being—Spiritual Teaching from Our Dogs and Cats, Eckhart Tolle and Patrick McDonnell
Horse Heaven, Jane Smiley
A book from the Anne of Green Gables series, probably Anne of the Island (I don’t like the cover of this edition, but it’s the most recent), Anne of Windy Poplars or Anne’s House of Dreams. Or more likely, all three.
Something by Mary Stewart, most likely This Rough Magic, The Moon-Spinners, Madam, Will You Talk?or My Brother Michael.
A collection of Dave Barry’s newspaper columns, like Dave Barry Is Not Making This Up or Dave Barry Talks Back.
So what about you? I’m dying to know—what would your mood-boosting books list include?