Community News

Books to boost your mood

What better way to lift your mood than to escape into the pages of a book? That’s the thinking behind a recent library campaign to find Australia’s favourite mood-boosting titles. The Australian Library and Information Association (ALIA) have released a list of the best mood-boosting books, after two months of searching. Chairwoman, Jan Richards, said she believed certain books could make people feel better about life. “Reading can take you out of yourself and into another place,” she said. In 2016 ALIA members were asked for recommendations of books they found uplifting, and a list of 252 books was compiled. The call-out lasted two months, and Ms Richards said she was pleasantly surprised by the recommendations from 320 respondents. “Some of them are new reads, others are things that people read in their youth,” she said. “It was an interesting mix of fiction and non-fiction.” Of the 252 books, 152 were fiction and 100 non-fiction, encompassing a wide range of genres from detective novels to children’s books such Alice in Wonderland. “The titles comprise almost anything you can think of,” Ms Richards said. Clarence Valley libraries have bought all available titles from this list and have identified them through the library catalogue to make them easy to find. According to bibliotherapist, Sonya Tsakalakis, reading for pleasure can “elevate, revitalise, heal and transform us”. Ms Tsakalakis said the hallmarks of a good, mood-boosting book were the long-lasting effects. She said the psychological benefits of reading were akin to the benefits of practising mindful meditation. “Reading is a mindful activity. It takes you away from yourself, but at the same time you find yourself,” Ms Tsakalakis said. She said there was considerable scientific research emerging that supported the psychological benefits of reading, particularly if people read for about 30 minutes a day for pleasure over a period of time. “People will feel less anxious, they’ll suffer less from depressive symptoms, from feeling alone and disconnected in the world, and they’ll feel more engaged,” she said. “People who read tend to be more empathic.” To check out the titles that were included in the ALIA list of Mood Boosting Books, go to the Mood Boosters page on the Clarence Regional Library website at  or ask at your nearest Clarence library.