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Wellbeing boosting book recommendations

Some of the Solent Mind team share their favourite wellbeing boosting books for World Book Night

Books can be such powerful things.

They allow us to travel across the world, through different time periods and into new realities. They can also be a great for boosting wellbeing or helping to understand your mental health. During lockdown, many of us have used a good book as a way of escaping reality and boosting our wellbeing when things have felt hard.

For World Book Night we asked people from Solent Mind and Southampton City Library to recommend a book that has boosted their wellbeing or had a positive impact on their mental health.

Anna Walsh, Administrative Assistant at Solent Mind recommends…

The Boy, the mole, the fox and the Horse by Charlie Mackery

“I was given this book for Christmas by a family member, in author’s own words ‘this book is for everyone, whether you are eighty or eight’. It has some really lovely messages and illustrations that make me smile. My favourite lines from the book are ‘being kind to yourself is one of the greatest kindnesses’ and ‘The greatest illusion…is that life should be “perfect”’ it’s important to remind yourself that you don’t have to perfect and making time for yourself is not selfish.”

Lizzie Walker-Arnott, Communications and Engagement Officer at Solent Mind recommends…

Jog On by Bella Mackie

“Reading this book, it was great to feel instantly like someone truly understood how my brain worked. For me it was a really relatable and empowering book that opened me up to the idea of using exercise as a way of managing my anxiety.”

Helen Rimmer, Marketing & Campaigns Manager at Solent Mind recommends…

The Upward Spiral by Alex Korb

“My teenage son was diagnosed with moderate depression last year and I got this book to try and gain a better understanding of the illness and how we could help him. The book explains how there isn’t one big solution to depression but there are a number of simple steps you can take to alter brain activity and chemistry. Simple activities like exercise, developing positive habits, gratitude, relaxing certain muscles and making sure you get more sunlight can all help to create an upward spiral towards a healthier, happier life.”

Angela Boote, Administrative Assistant at Solent Mind recommends…

The Salt Path by Raynor Winn

“Follow the memoir of Raynor and her husband on their walk along the South West Coast Path, their ups and downs, admire their fortitude, unity and perseverance – uplifting.”

Allison, Librarian from Central Library recommends...

A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman

“I finished this book with a smile on my face, but it didn’t start that way! Ove is a grumpy, anti-social, rude man and when you first meet him you probably won’t like him very much. What is heart-warming and uplifting about the story are his neighbours, especially Parvaneh, who sees a man in emotional turmoil and distress who needs help.”

Liz from Lordshill Library recommends...

Diary of a Somebody by Brian Bilston

“This book is a lovely bit of silly escapism that does not take itself seriously. Get your Mr Men slippers on and hunker down with a packet of custard creams!
Don’t be put off by if you think poetry is not for you, his humour really reflects the human condition.

Nicola from Lordshill Library recommends...

The Eyre Affair by Jasper Fforde

"Featuring literary detectives, this series always make me smile. They are surreal adventures into much loved books, brilliantly combining action, comedy and classic fiction. If Terry Pratchett had written a series of books specifically for librarians, this is what they might have been like!"

Tom Clearly, Workplace Wellbeing Trainer at Solent Mind recommends...

The Starless Sea and The Night Circus Both by Erin Morgenstern

"I read loads of wellbeing books all the time, and as much as I love doing that and am passionate about the topic, I try to read others sometimes too as a break! These were presents from a friend who shares my love of reading, so that in itself made a difference. The main thing I loved were the descriptions, they absolutely transported me away to the scene they were setting, which for me gives me a fantastic brain-refresh!!"

Some of these books, and many many more are available to borrow for free from Southampton City Library. Take a look here…

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