A friend sent me a newly launched list of “Mood Boosting Books” last week. The blurb says:

Research shows that reading improves mental wellbeing and reduces stress by 67%. The Reading Agency worked with BBC Headroom and nine UK reading groups in 2011 to create a list of mood enhancing books. These titles were endorsed by Charley Baker, Lecturer in Mental Health at the School of Nursing, Midwifery and Physiotherapy at the University of Nottingham. Public libraries throughout the UK promoted this list in 2012.

Of the 27 recommendedbooks I’ve read 6, so there’s plenty of scope for me to improve my mood. However, when I’m in need of easy, comfortable reading I return to my old favourites, crime, mystery and thrillers. A quick look at “In the Library” shows that every book I’ve read this year to date fits those categories.  From the full-on violence and black humour of Stuart MacBride’s Aberdonian police procedurals to the biting satire of Sebastian Foulks on 21st century London in “A Week in December” it’s crime, violence, mystery and chills.

The strange thing is I feel comforted by this type of reading, it takes me back to a pattern started in childhood with Leon Garfield, Robert Louis Stevenson and early forays into Ian Fleming. However, I will give mood-boosting reads a chance, although from the one’s I’ve already read mood-boosting = humour an dliterary humour is a curious thing.

Here’s the full list, with those I’ve already read in BOLD:

The Beach Café by Lucy Diamond

Being Human by Neil Astley

The Big Over Easy by Jasper Fforde

Big Stone Gap by Adriana Trigiani

Cider with Rosie by Laurie Lee

Couch Fiction by Philippa Perry

Haroun and the Sea of Stories by Salman Rushdie

Hector and the Search for Happiness by Francois Lelord

Life According to Lubka by Laurie Graham

Life with the Lid Off by Nicola Hodgkinson

A Little History of the World by E. H. Gombrich

Major Pettigrew’s Last Stand by Helen Simonson

Men at Work by Mike Gayle

Notes from a Small Island by Bill Bryson

Prodigal Summer by Barbara Kingsolver

The Pursuit of Love by Nancy Mitford

Smoke and Mirrors by Neil Gaiman

A Spot of Bother byMark Haddon

Tackling Life by Charlie Oatway

That Awkward Age by Roger McGough

To the Moon and Back by Jill Mansell

Trouble on the Heath by Terry Jones

A Winter Book byTove Jansson

Stop What You’re Doing and Read This – Various contributors

Tales of the City by Armistead Maupin

Waterlog by Roger Deakin

The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett