Mood Boosting Books

Mood Boosting BooksThe Reading Well Mood-boosting books is a national promotion of uplifting titles, including novels, poetry and non-fiction. This collection has been recommended by people who have been diagnosed with cancer.

The books are not specifically about cancer but have been recommended as books that people found mood-boosting during or after treatment. The list of 20 titles contains bestsellers and some you may not have heard of but may want to try.

Click on the titles or covers to check their availability in the online catalogue.

Adrian Mole: the prostrate years by Sue Townsend

Adrian Mole: the prostrate years by Sue Townsend

Adrian Mole: The Prostrate Years is the eighth book in Sue Townsend's brilliantly funny Adrian Mole series. When we last heard from Adrian, he had fallen in love with Daisy Flowers and they had embarked on a new life with their baby, Gracie. Fast-forward four years and Adrian's life is in turmoil again. Living in the Piggeries is far from ideal, middle age is beckoning and the ups and downs of parenthood are still plaguing him.

Aphrodite's hat by Salley VickersAphrodite's hat by Salley Vickers

A wonderful collection of stories from the much-loved Salley Vickers all deal with psychological aspects of love: love given and withheld, love craved and lost, love met and disappointed; the differing shades of loves between friends, between parents and children, between children and other adults; love even, in one case, for a pet.

 

Being alive edited by Neil AstleyBeing alive edited by Neil Astley

'Being Alive' is the sequel to 'Staying Alive' containing poetry about being human: about love and loss, fear and longing, hurt and wonder.

 

 

The best exotic Marigold Hotel by Deborah MoggachThe best exotic Marigold Hotel by Deborah Moggach

Enticed by advertisements for a luxury retirement home in India, a group of strangers leave England to begin a new life. On arrival, however, they discover the palace is a shell of its former self, the staff are more than a little eccentric and the days of the Raj appear to be long gone. But, as they soon discover, life and love can begin again, even in the most unexpected circumstances.

 

The camomile lawn by Mary WesleyThe camomile lawn by Mary Wesley

A vivid picture of wartime London and Cornwall through the eyes of five cousins. Behind the large house, the fragrant camomile lawn stretches down to the Cornish cliffs. Here, in the dizzying heat of August 1939, five cousins have gathered at their aunt's house for their annual ritual of a holiday. For most of them it is the last summer of their youth, with the heady exhilarations and freedoms of lost innocence, as well as the fears of the coming war. The Camomile Lawn moves from Cornwall to London and back again, over the years, telling the stories of the cousins, their family and their friends, united by shared losses and lovers, by family ties and the absurd conditions imposed by war as their paths cross and recross over the years.

Chocolat by Joanne HarrisChocolat by Joanne Harris

When an exotic stranger, Vianne Rocher, arrives in the French village of Lansquenet and opens a chocolate boutique directly opposite the church, Father Reynaud denounces her as a serious moral danger to his flock - especially as it is the beginning of Lent, the traditional season of self-denial. As passions flare and the conflict escalates, the whole community takes sides. Can the solemnity of the Church compare with the sinful pleasure of a chocolate truffle?

Driving over lemons: an optimist in Andalucia by Chris StewartDriving over lemons: an optimist in Andalucia by Chris Stewart

At age 17, Chris Stewart retired as the drummer of Genesis, his schoolboy band, and launched a new career as a sheep shearer and travel writer. Chris, eternal optimist and itinerant sheep shearer, moves with his wife Ana to a mountain farm in Las Alpujarras, an oddball region in the south of Spain. Misadventures gleefully unfold as Chris discovers that the owner has no intention of leaving and meets their neighbours, an engaging mix of peasant farmers and shepherds, New Age travellers and ex-pats. This book describes his idyllic life on a remote mountain farm in Andalucia.

The dud avocado by Elaine DundyThe dud avocado by Elaine Dundy

THE DUD AVOCADO gained instant cult status on first publication and remains a timeless portrait of a woman hellbent on living. Sally Jay Gorce is a woman with a mission. It's the 1950s, she's young, and she's in Paris. Having dyed her hair pink, she wears evening dresses in the daytime and vows to go native in a way not even the natives can manage. Embarking on an educational programme that includes an affair with a married man and nights in cabarets and jazz clubs in the company of assorted "citizens of the world. But an education like this doesn't come cheap. Will our heroine be forced back to the States to fulfil her destiny as a librarian, or can she keep up her whirlwind Parisian existence?

Eat, pray, love: one woman's search for everything by Elizabeth Gilbert

Eat, pray, love: one woman's search for everything by Elizabeth Gilbert

It's 3 a.m. and Elizabeth Gilbert is sobbing on the bathroom floor. She's in her thirties, she has a husband, a house, they're trying for a baby - and she doesn't want any of it. A divorce and a turbulent love affair later, she emerges battered and bewildered and realises it is time to pursue her own journey in search of three things she has been missing: pleasure, devotion and balance. So she travels to Rome, where she learns Italian from handsome, brown-eyed identical twins and gains twenty-five pounds, an ashram in India, where she finds that enlightenment entails getting up in the middle of the night to scrub the temple floor, and Bali where a toothless medicine man of indeterminate age offers her a new path to peace: simply sit still and smile. And slowly happiness begins to creep up on her.

Hector finds time by Francois LelordHector finds time by Francois Lelord

Poor Hector. Our intrepid psychiatrist is not feeling quite as young as he used to, he feels always in a hurry. He decides to get to the bottom of this time business, and to do so, of course a round-the-world adventure is required.


 

Jamie's ministry of food: anyone can learn to cook in 24 hours by Jamie OliverJamie's ministry of food: anyone can learn to cook in 24 hours by Jamie Oliver

Jamie Oliver will teach you to cook from scratch in the Ministry of Food.



 

Julie & Julia: my year of cooking dangerously by Julie PowellJulie & Julia: my year of cooking dangerously by Julie Powell

Living in a rundown apartment and working at a dead-end secretarial job, Julie Powell sees life passing her by. In her desperate search for an escape, she comes up instead with a deranged assignment - to take Julia Child's 'Mastering the Art of French Cooking' and cook all 524 recipes - in a year!

 

 

The last runaway by Tracy ChevalierThe last runaway by Tracy Chevalier

Honor Bright is a sheltered Quaker who has rarely ventured out of 1850s Dorset when she impulsively emigrates to America. Opposed to the slavery that defines and divides the country, she finds her principles tested to the limit when a runaway slave appears at the farm of her new family. In this tough, unsentimental place, where whisky bottles sit alongside quilts, Honor befriends two spirited women who will teach her how to turn ideas into actions.

 

My boy Butch: the heart-warming true story of a little dog who made life worth living again by Jenni MurrayMy boy Butch: the heart-warming true story of a little dog who made life worth living again by Jenni Murray

Much beloved broadcaster Dame Jenni Murray recounts her great love affair with Butch the Chihuahua. There was always a dog. If not real, then imagined. As a lonely only child, Dame Jenni Murray longed to have a dog. She had only Timmy her imaginary pooch for company until her fifth birthday when her parents bought her a beautiful little puppy. This was to be the start of a life-long passion for man's best friend. Having been a small dog owner all her adult life, in her fifties the arrival of Butch the Chihuahua coincided with the devastating discovery that she had breast cancer. Heartwarming, moving and hilarious at turns, My Boy Butch is a tribute to a little dog who made life worth living again.

Of mutability by Jo ShapcottOf mutability by Jo Shapcott

In 'Of Mutability', Shapcott is found writing at her most memorable and bold. In a series of poems that explore the nature of change - in the body and the natural world, and in the shifting relationships between people - these poems look freshly but squarely at mortality.


 

Restless by William BoydRestless by William Boyd

It is 1939. Eva Delectorskaya is a beautiful 28-year-old Russian emigree living in Paris. As war breaks out she is recruited for the British Secret Service by Lucas Romer, a mysterious Englishman, and under his tutelage she learns to become the perfect spy, to mask her emotions and trust no one, including those she loves most. Since the war, Eva has carefully rebuilt her life as a typically English wife and mother. But once a spy, always a spy. Now she must complete one final assignment, and this time Eva can't do it alone: she needs her daughter's help.

 

Starter for ten by David NichollsStarter for ten by David Nicholls

It's 1985 and Brian Jackson has arrived at university with a burning ambition - to make it onto TV's foremost general knowledge quiz. But no sooner has he embarked on 'The Challenge' than he finds himself falling hopelessly in love with his teammate, the beautiful and charismatic would-be actress, Alice Harbinson. When Alice fails to fall for his slightly over-eager charms, Brian comes up with a foolproof plan to capture her heart once and for all. He's going to win the game, at any cost, because - after all - everyone knows that what a woman really wants from a man is a comprehensive grasp of general knowledge . . .

This book will save your life by A. M. HomesThis book will save your life by A. M. Homes

Richard is a middle-aged divorcee trading stock out of his home in Los Angeles. He has done such a good job getting his life under control that he needs no one, until two incidents conspire to hurl him back into the world.


 

Travels with my aunt by Graham GreeneTravels with my aunt by Graham Greene

With Aunt Augusta, a veteran of Europe's hotel bedrooms, dull, suburban Henry travels her way through Brighton, Paris, Istanbul, Paraguay and finds himself in a shiftless, twilight society: mixing with hippies, war criminals, CIA men; smoking pot, breaking all currency regulations and eventually coming alive. Greene not only gives us intoxicating entertainment but also confronts us with some of the most perplexing human dilemmas.

 

The unlikely pilgrimage of Harold Fry by Rachel JoyceThe unlikely pilgrimage of Harold Fry by Rachel Joyce

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.

 

Previous selections

Bee Journal by Sean BorodaleBee Journal by Sean Borodale

‘Bee Journal’ is a startlingly original poetry sequence: a poem-journal of beekeeping that chronicles the life of the hive, from the collection of a small nucleus on the first day to the capture of a swarm two years later. It observes the living architecture of the comb, the range and locality of the colony; its flights, flowers, water sources, parasites, lives and deaths.

 

Dart by Alice OswaldDart by Alice Oswald

Using conversations with people who live and work on the River Dart in Devon as a poetic census, Oswald creates a narrative of the river, tracking its life from source to sea. The voices are varied and idiomatic - poacher, ferryman, sewage worker.

 

 

The enchanted April by Elizabeth Von ArnimThe enchanted April by Elizabeth Von Arnim

A discreet advertisement in The Times lures four very different women away from the dismal British weather to San Salvatore, a castle high above a bay on the sunny Italian Riviera. There, the Mediterranean spirit stirs the souls of Mrs Arbuthnot, Mrs Wilkins, Lady Caroline Dester and Mrs Fisher, and remarkable changes occur.

 

Essential poems from the Staying Alive Trilogy edited by Neil AstleyEssential poems from the Staying Alive Trilogy edited by Neil Astley

This is a pocketbook selection of 100 essential poems from the 'Staying Alive' travel companion. The poems are all about being human, being alive and staying alive; about love and loss; fear and longing; hurt and wonder; war and death; grief and suffering; and much more.

 

 

Guernsey literary and potato peel pie society by Mary Ann ShafferGuernsey literary and potato peel pie society by Mary Ann Shaffer

It's 1946 and author Juliet Ashton can't think what to write next. Out of the blue, she receives a letter from Dawsey Adams of Guernsey - by chance, he's acquired a book that once belonged to her - and, spurred on by their mutual love of reading, they begin a correspondence. When Dawsey reveals that he is a member of the Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society, her curiosity is piqued and it's not long before she begins to hear from other members. As letters fly back and forth with stories of life in Guernsey under the German Occupation, Juliet soon realizes that the society is every bit as extraordinary as its name.

 

The help by Kathryn StockettThe help by Kathryn Stockett

Aibileen is a black maid, raising her 17th white child, but with a bitter heart after the death of her son. Minny is the sassiest woman in Mississippi. Skeeter is a white woman with a degree but no ring on her finger. Seemingly as different as can be, these women will come together for a clandestine project that will put them all at risk.

 

I capture the castle by Dodie SmithI capture the castle by Dodie Smith

'I write this sitting in the kitchen sink' is the first line of this timeless, witty and enchanting novel about growing up. Cassandra Mortmain lives with her bohemian and impoverished family in a crumbling castle in the middle of nowhere. Her journal records her life with her beautiful, bored sister, Rose, her fadingly glamorous stepmother, Topaz, her little brother Thomas and her eccentric novelist father who suffers from a financially crippling writer's block. However, all their lives are turned upside down when the American heirs to the castle arrive and Cassandra finds herself falling in love for the first time.

 

Miss Garnet’s angel by Salley VickersMiss Garnet’s angel by Salley Vickers

Salley Vicker's sensational debut novel, 'Miss Garnet's Angel' is a voyage of discovery; a novel about Venice but also the rich story of the explosive possibilities of change in all of us at any time.

 

 

Miss Pettigrew lives for a day by Winifred WatsonMiss Pettigrew lives for a day by Winifred Watson

Miss Pettigrew is a down-on-her-luck, middle-aged governess sent by an employment agency to work for a nightclub singer rather than a household of unruly children. Over a period of just 24 hours, her life is changed - forever.

 

A month in the country by J. L. CarrA month in the country by J. L. Carr

In the summer of 1920, a young man escapes London to embark on the unveiling of a medieval church wall painting in a small north country village. As he becomes absorbed by his work so too does he get drawn into the lives of those around him.

 

 

A sea change by Veronica HenryA sea change by Veronica Henry

Jenna is known as The Ice Cream Girl. She doesn't mind the name one bit. After all, it's a happy name, and there are far worse jobs than selling ice creams on Everdene beach. Craig spends as much time as he can at the beach hut in Everdene he rents with a few of his mates. As a policeman, it is a restful change from his daily life, and he's surfing mad. One weekend he's down there on his own when he notices a girl on the beach. He's young, free and single and she catches his eye. But on this particular summer weekend, both Jenna and Craig's lives are about to change . . .

 

The secret diary of Adrian Mole aged 13 ¾ by Sue TownsendThe secret diary of Adrian Mole aged 13 ¾ by Sue Townsend

The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole by Sue Townsend is a modern classic - Adrian is as popular as ever. With a beautiful new package, this novel is perfect for long-time Adrian Mole fans or newcomers to the series. David Walliams contributes a foreword to this beautiful 30th Anniversary edition of The Secret Diary.

 

 

Various pets alive and dead by Marina LewyckaVarious pets alive and dead by Marina Lewycka

Set half in Doncaster, half in London, this is a very funny riff on modern values, featuring hamsters, cockroaches, poodles, a chicken and multiplying rabbits, told by Marina Lewycka in her unique and brilliant combination of irony, farce and wit.

 

 

Soul music by Terry PratchettSoul music by Terry Pratchett

It's hard to grow up normally when Grandfather rides a white horse and wields a scythe - especially when 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.

 

 

A street Cat named Bob by James BowenA street Cat named Bob by James Bowen

The moving, uplifiting true story of an unlikely friendship between a man on the streets and the ginger cat who adopts him and helps him heal his life.

 

 

The thread by Victoria HislopThe thread by Victoria Hislop

The enthralling novel from Victoria Hislop, the million-copy bestselling author of THE ISLAND and THE RETURN.  'Sweeping, magnificently detailed and ambitious' The Sunday Times

 

 

Thursdays in the park by Hilary BoydThursdays in the park by Hilary Boyd

What do you do if you've been married to a man for half your life and out of nowhere he leaves your bed - permanently? When this happens to Jeanie, she's furious and determined to confront George, her husband of thirty years. Is he in love with someone else? What did she do wrong? He won't tell her. The brightest day of her week is Thursday, the day Jeanie takes her granddaughter to the park. There, one day, she meets Ray, kind, easy to talk to, and gorgeous - he is everything George isn't. But does she have the courage, while facing opposition from all sides, to turn her life upside down for another shot at love?

 

Too much happiness by Alice MunroToo much happiness by Alice Munro

These are beguiling, provocative stories about manipulative men and the women who outwit them, about destructive marriages and curdled friendships, about mothers and sons, about moments which change or haunt a life. Alice Munro's stories surprise and delight, turning lives into art, expanding our world and shedding light on the strange workings of the human heart.

 

Turned out nice again by Richard MabeyTurned out nice again by Richard Mabey

In his trademark style, Richard Mabey weaves together science, art and memoirs (including his own) to show the weather's impact on our culture and national psyche.

 

 

The unlikely pilgrimage of Harold Fry by Rachel JoyceThe unlikely pilgrimage of Harold Fry by Rachel Joyce

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.

 

 

 

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