Friday, 3 January 2014

Mood-Boosting Books

I sometimes check what keywords people have used to find my blog and amongst the obvious (‘mirrors’ ‘implanon discontinued’, and ‘Rihanna strap on’) there are sometimes genuinely heartbreaking ones about sciatica. I’ve been toying with uplifting things I could say in a post, and now I’ve been presented with the perfect opportunity to do so having seen that Brighton and Hove Libraries are currently promoting a mood-boosting campaign.

Books offer escapism. You can read about curious people that take delight in the way sunlight glints off a shard of glass on the pavement and be reminded to take stock of the simple pleasures in life, or read about some poor sod who steps on the glass and has their toe severed and be grateful not to be in as bad a way as him. Either way, win.

Read.

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Here are a few of my personal favourite uplifting books.

What Katy Did

(Especially relevant to sufferers of chronic pain).

From Wikipedia: "a visit from Cousin Helen shows her that she must either learn to make the best of her situation or risk losing her family's love. Helen tells Katy that she is now a student in the "School of Pain" where she will learn lessons in patience, cheerfulness, hopefulness, neatness, and making the best of things."

Anne of Green Gables

Literature fans may remember the furore brought about by the news that a new cover for L. M. Montgomery’s series was to be re-printed featuring a sexy blonde girl.

Poor little hard done by raggedy orphan girl.

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Anne is famous for being a RED-HEAD. She is so fanciful she imagines her life would be so much better if she wasn’t cursed with ‘carrots’ sprouting from her head.

“Now you see why I can’t be perfectly happy,” she says tragically soon after meeting her new guardian, Matthew. “Nobody could who had red hair. I don’t mind the other things so much – the freckles and the green eyes and my skinniness.”

(All things coveted by yer typical Brighton lass by the way)

Misleading covers aside, reading the Anne series – or the first book at least - is to see the world again through a child’s imaginative and appreciative ways. Maybe a bit of her hope for the future will rub off on you.

Death: The High Cost of Living

Life-saver.

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Birdsong

This novel restored my faith in people and made me thankful to be alive.

One of my happiest days last year was a peaceful lazy Sunday spent gorging on chocolate and reading Terry Pratchett's Wee Free Men. (Don't judge, h8rz).

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Neil Gaiman's Stardust similarly fulfilled my need for fairy tale and enchanting illustrations.

The Hundred-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out the Window and Disappeared

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Forrest Gump-y tale of a man who climbed...well just read the title.

Those books, and the media that follows may be missing many obvious choices, but these are just my choices. I'll add more as I think of them but for now I'm in HTML HELL and not in the mood :p

Uplifting Films

Amelie, Forgetting Sarah Marshall, All About Eve, Some Like it Hot, Groundhog Day (shit, most things with Bill Murray in)

Shout out to Studio Ghiblits because if I don’t all the geeks I know won’t let me forget it. Kiki’s Delivery Service is oft-cited but I’m going to plump for Whisper of the Heart just to be a contrary Mary.

Uplifting music

If you’ve seen my last fm you’re probably aware I have a pretty broad-minded view when it comes to music. Something Motown-y like

always picks me up, and the dry Americana funk-rock of CAKE (perhaps best enjoyed with cake) but then depressive, atomospheric black metal has been known to lift me out of a funk as well. Again, like with the guy who stepped on the broken glass, it's that schadenfreude, satisfaction gleaned from other people having just a hard a time of it (or worse) than you are.

Tweet your own ones using the hashtag #BHHappyBooks, or have a look to see if your local library has their own hashtag for it or email address for collecting your suggestions.

No, that's not me. You couldda Googled that anaw.