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19 books to boost your mood

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A new report from charity The Reading Agency has confirmed what bookworms already know to be true: curling up with a book is actually good for you.

Researchers analysed the existing body of academic work on reading for pleasure for both adults and children and found that the effects include increased empathy, self-esteem, better interpersonal relationships and reduced risk of dementia, anxiety, stress and symptoms of depression.

Reading Well, a programme run by The Reading Agency in partnership with public libraries, promotes the benefits of reading on wellbeing, and asked book groups around the country for their ideas on the most uplifting novels, poetry and non-fiction as part of its Mood Boosting Books scheme.

Their recommendations are below:

- Various Pets Alive and Dead by Marina Lewycka

- The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry by Rachel Joyce

- Turned Out Nice Again: On Living with the Weather by Richard Mabey

- Too Much Happiness by Alice Munro

- Thursdays in the Park by Hilary Boyd

- The Thread by Victoria Hislop

- A Street Cat Named Bob: How One Man and His Cat Found Hope on the Streets by James Bowen

- Soul Music by Terry Pratchett

- The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole Aged 13 3/4 by Sue Townsend

- A Sea Change by Veronica Henry, Lisa Lailey

- A Month in the Country by J. L. Carr, Penelope Fitzgerald

- Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day by Winifred Watson, Henrietta Twycross-Martin

- Miss Garnet's Angel by Salley Vickers

- I Capture the Castle by Dodie Smith

- The Help by Kathryn Stockett

- The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer, Annie Barrows

- Essential Poems from the Staying Alive Trilogy edited by Neil Astley

- Dart by Alice Oswald

- Bee Journal by Sean Borodale

Reading Well also puts together 'Books on Prescription' lists to help people understand and manage common mental health conditions and dementia, which you can browse here and here.


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