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Mood-busting books

The Reading Agency has compiled a list of 27 books that they think will banish our winter blues.  Any thoughts?  Glaring omissions?

I am glad to see Armistead Maupin on there, as well as Haroun and the Sea of Stories, which is far and away the best Salman Rushdie I have read, a complete delight.  A few other good choices, for me, and some I haven't heard of.

The link is

The list is:

The Beach Cafe 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: A Graphic Tale of Psychotherapy by Philippa Perry

Haroun and the Sea of Stories by Salman Rushdie

Hector and the search for happiness by François 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. Mike Gayle (Quick Reads 2011) by Mike Gayle

Notes from a Small Island by Bill Bryson

Prodigal Summer by Barbara Kingsolver

The Pursuit of Love by Nancy Mitford

The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett

Smoke and Mirrors by Neil Gaiman

A Spot of Bother by Mark Haddon

Stop What You're Doing And Read This! by Mark Haddon

Tackling Life. by Charlie Oatway (Quick Reads 2011) by Charlie Oatway

Tales of the City by Armistead Maupin

That Awkward Age by Roger McGough

To the Moon and Back by Jill Mansell

Trouble on the Heath by Terry Jones

Waterlog by Roger Deakin

A Winter Book by Tove Jansson

I actually think the winter months are ideal for a bit of the old melancholy introspection, but here are a few books off the top of my head that tend to cheer me up:

“The Man-Eater of Malgudi” by R. K. Narayan
(Narayan is a great favourite of Alexander McCall Smith’s, and the two writers do share a gentle, elegant wit, and a certain old-world charm)

“Uncle Fred in the Springtime” by P. G. Wodehouse
(The first writer I turn to when I want to cheer myself up)

“The Dad’s Army Story” by Graham McCann
(The ideal companion to the DVDs of this delightful series)

“The Hammer Story: The Authorised History of Hammer Films” by Marcus Hearn
(Well – it works for me!)

“The Return of Sherlock Holmes” by Arthur Conan Doyle
(Holmes returns from the dead – now, if that doesn’t cheer you up…)

“Life on the Mississippi” by Mark Twain
(Imagine yourself seated in a saloon bar, with Mark Twain at our table, telling jokes, anecdotes, tall tales, or reminiscing, or reflecting on life in general … as the mood takes him. Can you imagine anything more delectable?)

“Tragically, I Was an Only Twin” by Peter Cook
Even without his timing, this is laugh-out-loud funny

I agree - I enjoy a bit of melancholia on a winter's afternoon or evening, I generally don't need cheering up in the winter any more than in the summer - I love the different mood.

But your list seems a bit more fun than theirs - or perhaps just has a bit more oomph.

I meant to say - the Gombrich was a surprise in the original list.  Then again, he is someone who actually depresses me!

Yes, that list seemed very strange indeed. It looks merely like a random collection of titles, and it's hard to figure out why these particular books were chosen.

However, I do like winter and that bleak, melancholy half-light, so perhaps a better list would be one of books that enhance rather than dispel the winter mood. Now that the festive cheer is all behind us, which books do we feel are in tune with this austerely beautiful season?

[Edited to remove some of iPad's auto-corrections]

Like you, Himadri, I enjoy reading ghost books by a log fire at Christmas time.  There is nothing more likely to send me into S.A.D. than someone trying to enforce jollity on me.

My choice of "winter warmers" would be:

Wilkie Collins's  The Moonstone or The Woman in White.  These books have been like a comfort blanket to me over the years.
Any "Golden Age" detective novels.
The poetry and short stories of 'Thomas Hardy.
Possibly a retreat into second childhood reading the books of E.S. Nesbitt.

Any American self-help manuals I would use to stoke up the fire.

I would go for something light and amusing, such as Saki, Just William stories, or maybe something like Huck Finn.

Sandra - 'winter warmers' is a much better phrase than 'mood busters'!

Sandraseahorse wrote:
Any American self-help manuals I would use to stoke up the fire.

Oh I wish I had thought of that! I have always considered that those 'tracts' are for those who can't think for themselves! What an insult to the intelligence such books are - except for the Dale Carnegie ones. Or should I say these days 'Dale, who?"

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