Did you know that research shows reading can reduce stress, and improves mental well-being? It’s yet another reason to love your library!
The Reading Agency Reading Well Mood-boosting Books scheme is a national promotion of uplifting novels, non-fiction and poetry selected by readers and reading groups from across the country. If you are feeling stressed or just want a bit of a pick-me-up, boost your mood with a recommended read. Our top ten below have been chosen by Hampshire Libraries, and our reading groups.
All the titles available for free with your Hampshire Library membership, and remember you can reserve these online for pick up at your chosen branch, just click on the title.
10 Mood Boosting Books
Bee Journal is a poem-journal of bee-keeping kept over two years, when the author took up beekeeping for the first time. The poems chronicle the life and work of the bees, sketching a relationship between keeper and kept, exploring paradoxes and some moments of revelation.
Over the past three years Alice Oswald has been recording conversations with people who live and work on the River Dart in Devon. Using these records and voices as a sort of poetic census, she creates a narrative of the river, tracking its life from source to sea. The voices are wonderfully varied and idiomatic – they include a poacher, a ferryman, a sewage worker and milk worker, a forester, swimmers and canoeists – and are interlinked with historic and mythic voices: drowned voices, dreaming voices and marginal notes which act as markers along the way.
A notice in The Times addressed to ‘Those who Appreciate Wistaria and Sunshine’ advertises a ‘small mediaeval Italian Castle on the shores of the Mediterranean to be let furnished for the month of April’. Four very different women take up the offer, escaping dreary London for the sunshine of Italy. Among the party are Mrs Wilkins and Mrs Arthuthnot, both fleeing unappreciative husbands; beautiful Lady Caroline, sick of being ‘grabbed’ by lovestruck men; and the imperious Mrs Fisher, who spends her time remembering the bearded ‘great men’ she knew in her Victorian childhood. By the end of their holiday, all the women will fall completely under the spell of Italy.
Peter was a confirmed loner and cat hater, until he was given a small, grey (and impeccably handsome) kitten with folded ears by his then girlfriend. The girlfriend went but Norton stayed – in fact, he and Peter became inseparable. Trotting along beside him down the street, having his own chair in restaurants or sitting on Peter’s lap on plane journeys, Norton made his presence felt and Peter was a loner no more. But, after learning how to love his cat, would Peter now learn how to love another human too?
Walking right across England, along ancient track ways and green grass roads, Hugh explores the way the country was and the way it is today: the legends, literature and natural world that define us, and the undercurrent of regret running throughout our history; what he calls ‘the unicorn disappearing into the trees’. From coast-to-coast and through the heart of the countryside, he shows how old, forgotten cultures like the Celts, Saxons and Vikings lie much closer to the surface than we may think. It is a journey enriched and partly told by the characters he meets along the way.
Twelve-year-old Mira comes from a chaotic, artistic and outspoken family where it’s not always easy to be heard. As her beloved Nana Josie’s health declines, Mira begins to discover the secrets of those around her, and also starts to keep some of her own. She is drawn to mysterious Jide, a boy who is clearly hiding a troubled past and has grown hardened layers – like those of an artichoke – around his heart. As Mira is experiencing grief for the first time, she is also discovering the wondrous and often mystical world around her. An incredibly insightful, honest novel exploring the delicate balance, and often injustice, of life and death – but at its heart is a celebration of friendship, culture – and life.
The art of love is never a science: Meet Don Tillman, a brilliant yet socially inept professor of genetics, who’s decided it’s time he found a wife. In the orderly, evidence-based manner with which Don approaches all things, he designs the Wife Project to find his perfect partner: a sixteen-page, scientifically valid survey to filter out the drinkers, the smokers, the late arrivers. Rosie Jarman possesses all these qualities. Don easily disqualifies her as a candidate for The Wife Project (even if she is “quite intelligent for a barmaid”). But Don is intrigued by Rosie’s own quest to identify her biological father. When an unlikely relationship develops as they collaborate on The Father Project, Don is forced to confront the spontaneous whirlwind that is Rosie―and the realization that, despite your best scientific efforts, you don’t find love, it finds you.
Friday January 2nd
I felt rotten today. It’s my mother’s fault for singing ‘My Way’ at two o’clock in the morning at the top of the stairs. Just my luck to have a mother like her. There is a chance my parents could be alcoholics. Next year I could be in a children’s home.
Meet Adrian Mole, a hapless teenager providing an unabashed, pimples-and-all glimpse into adolescent life. Writing candidly about his parents’ marital troubles, the dog, his life as a tortured poet and ‘misunderstood intellectual’, Adrian’s painfully honest diary is still hilarious and compelling reading thirty years after it first appeared.
Being sixteen is always difficult, even more so when there’s a Death in the family. After all, it’s hard to grow up normally when Grandfather rides a white horse and wields a scythe. Especially if he decides to take a well-earned moment to uncover the meaning of life and discover himself in the process, so that you have to take over the family business, and everyone mistakes you for the Tooth Fairy. And especially when you have to face the new and addictive music that has entered Discworld. It’s lawless. It changes people. It’s got a beat and you can dance to it. It’s called Music With Rocks In. And it won’t fade away.
When Harold Fry nips out one morning to post a letter, leaving his wife hoovering upstairs, he has no idea that he is about to walk from one end of the country to the other. He has no hiking boots or map, let alone a compass, waterproof or mobile phone. All he knows is that he must keep walking. To save someone else’s life.