Boost your mood with a book!

where will you go todayMental Health Awareness Week 2014 is being held from May 12-18 and the theme this year is anxiety, one of the leading causes of mental ill-health in the world.

We’re here to help with a vast range of books to help you help yourself!

We have books on coping with anxiety, stress and other issues as part of our ‘Books on Prescription’ range or see our uplifting ‘Mood Busting Books’ if you just need a little pick me up…

Mood boosting books

If you are feeling stressed, depressed or just want a bit of a pick-me-up, you really can boost your mood with a recommended read. The Reading Agency’s ‘Reading Well Mood-boosting Books’ scheme is a national promotion of uplifting novels, non-fiction and poetry selected by readers.
The current list of 20 Reading Well Mood-boosting Books titles (all available from Swindon Libraries, just click on the link) is:

bee journalBee 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

Dart 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 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 Astley: Staying Alive includes many of the great modern love poems and elegies, but it also shows the power of poetry in celebrating the ordinary miracle, taking you on a journey around many of the different aspects of everyday life explored in poems

guernsey literary and potato peel societyThe Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows: It’s January, 1946, and writer Juliet Ashton sits at her desk, vainly seeking a subject for her next book. Out of the blue, she receives a letter from one Dawsey Adams of Guernsey – by chance, he’s acquired a secondhand book that once belonged to Juliet – and, spurred on by their mutual love of Charles Lamb, they begin a correspondence

The 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 Smith: This is the journal of Cassandra Mortmain. First, there is her eccentric father. Then there is her sister, Rose – and her stepmother, Topaz. Finally, there is Stephen, who is in love with Cassandra. Cassandra records her feelings on all of them

Miss Garnet’s Angel by Salley Vickers: Miss Garnet’s Angel is a voyage of discovery, a novel of Venice but also a rich story of the explosive possibilities of change in all of us at any time

Miss 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. 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

sea changeA Sea Change by Veronica Henry: Craig spends as much time as he can at the beach hut he rents with a few of his mates. As a policeman, it is a welcome break from his daily life. One weekend he’s down there on his own when he notices a girl. He’s young and single and she catches his eye. But during this weekend, both Jenna and Craig’s lives are about to change

The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole Aged 13¾ by Sue Townsend: Teenager Adrian writes candidly about his parents’ marital troubles, the dog, his life as a tortured poet and ‘misunderstood intellectual’. His painfully honest diary makes hilarious and compelling reading

Soul 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 Bowen: The moving, uplifting 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 Hislop: Thessaloniki, 1917. As Dimitri Komninos is born, a devastating fire sweeps through the Greek city where Christians, Jews and Muslims live side by side. 5 years later, Katerina Sarafoglou’s home in Asia Minoris destroyed by the Turkish army. Losing her mother in the chaos, she flees across the sea to an unknown destination in Greece

Thursdays in the Park by Hilary Boyd: Jeanie has been a loving wife for over thirty years, but every Thursday, Jeanie takes her granddaughter to the park, and there she meets Ray, who performs the same weekly duty for his grandson. Ray seems to be everything George isn’t – a listener, easy to talk to, open-minded and sexy

too much happinessToo Much Happiness by Alice Munro: These are dazzling, provocative stories about Svengali men and radical women who outmanoeuvre them, about destructive marriages and curdled friendships, about mothers and sons, about moments which change or haunt a life

Turned 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 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

various pets alive and deadVarious 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

The Reading Agency have produced a guide to the mood boosting books chosen in 2013  which looks at the books in more detail, if you would like to find out more about them.



Book Prescription Scheme

Working together with Swindon Primary Care Trust, Swindon Libraries provide books to help people with problems. A prescription is issued by a doctor or other health professional and the book can then be borrowed from your local library.
If you are not a member, you will be asked to join the library when you take your prescription in. As long as the prescription has your name and address on it, you won’t be asked for any other proof of identity.
Further information
• If the book you have been prescribed is on loan, you will be offered a free reservation so we can get the book to you as quickly as possible
• Prescription books can be kept for 3 or 6 weeks and an extension may be possible if no one else is waiting for the book
• The books on the list can often be helpful, but they may not work for everyone. If you are still experiencing difficulty or distress then you need to go back to whoever prescribed the book or visit your GP. They will give you further advice

Click here for the current Book Prescription self-help book list.

A Self Help Book Group also meets monthly at the Central Library where members share their experiences of books that have helped them through challenging and emotional times.The meetings are informal and are an opportunity to have a chat over a cup of tea and biscuits. For more information and to find out about further meetings, ring Mark on 01793 835710 or email:

* The Reading Agency is an independent charity with a mission to give everyone an equal chance in life by helping people become confident and enthusiastic readers. It is funded by the Arts Council, and has a formal partnership with public library services

Find out more about the Reading Well Books on Prescription scheme at