News room: How Books Can Change Your Life

How Books Can Change Your Life by Jessica Barrah

Books are powerful things. They can change your mood and help you view things from a totally different perspective. They can even change your life, inspiring you to make brave decisions about your relationships and career. So how can you choose the perfect book to match your mood, or to help you to break out of a negative situation?

Comfort Books

We asked the CompletelyNovel community which books they liked to read in certain moods. One big theme was returning to favourite books from childhoood when in need of the literary equivalent of ‘comfort food’. Whether that’s Winnie the Pooh, Finn Family Moomintroll or Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, re-reading books you love is like returning to an old friend. It doesn’t have to be a book from your childhood, it could be just an old favourite you know will lift your mood, one that you’ve read so many times you almost know it by heart.

Turning Over A New Leaf

But what if you want to read something new? Of course you can ask friends and family for recommendations or check out the ‘Top 100’ lists in literary supplements. Searching for books on Amazon there are always suggestions popping up – ‘Frequently Bought Together’ or ‘Customers Who Bought This Item Also Bought’ features. But there are also specific websites set up to help you find books.

One of the most well known is Goodreads where you can ‘meet your next favourite book’. You can find books based on previous books you’ve loved, or through lists compiled by friends, and other readers. Another site is where you can look up specific titles to get recommendations on similar books, accompanied by Amazon blurbs, reviews and price information.

There are also books to help you choose your next book, such as:

In the Mood

How can you find books for the mood you’re in, or the state of being you aspire to? Googling “Books to read when…” specifying the mood you’re in will bring up articles that have been written on the subject – obviously some being more useful than others. For example;

Books to read when you’re sad.

Books to read when you need inspiration.

Books to read when you need motivation.

Books to read when you’re stressed.

Hallie Ephron’s 1001 Books for Every Mood might also be a handy tool to enable you to find appropriate books to help you.

There’s also a useful website, Whichbook, where you can specify exactly the sort of book you’re looking for. Click to open up to 4 sliders and move them to set your choices, taking into consideration different factors. This generates suggestion for books that most closely match your needs.

Shelf Help

The power of books can be so strong that there is even a specific website, Reading Well, promoting the benefits of reading for health and wellbeing. The programme has two strands: Books on Prescription and Mood-boosting Books.

Books on Prescription targets mental health problems, with sections for:

Mood-boosting Books is a national promotion of uplifting titles, including novels, poetry and non-fiction, recommended by readers and reading groups.

Click here to hear Shirley Manson of the group ‘Garbage’ describe how Cheryl Strayed’s book helped her cope with bereavement when her mother died. (This part of the interview is from 13.03 minutes into the audio clip.)

We hope that this information helps to find your perfect read!

Further reading:

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Written by
Jessica Barrah
Published on
Books, Self-help, and Reading