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Books to boost your mood

The Reading Agency, an independent charity in the U.K., is helping people turn to bibliotherapy through its Books on Prescription program, which launches in May.

The agency is asking the public to recommend mood-boosting fiction, non-fiction, and poetry via Twitter and Facebook. According to its website, the program is based on evidence that stress levels can be significantly reduced by reading.

The charity currently has a list of 27 core books to help you feel better, which were selected by eight reading groups across the country. Titles include Frances Hodgson Burnett’s The Secret Garden, Bill Bryson’s Notes from a Small Island, Salman Rushdie’s Haroun and the Sea of Stories, Mark Haddon’s A Spot of Bother, and Jasper Fforde’s The Big Over Easy.

The mind-boosting book series will run alongside the government-endorsed Books on Prescription program, which focuses on self-help books. The  program will see U.K. doctors prescribing titles from an approved list of 30 books to patients suffering from mild to moderate mental health concerns, including anxiety and depression. Local libraries will stock the titles, which include Christine Padesky and Dennis Greenberger’s Mind Over Mood, David Burns’s The Feeling Good Handbook, and Frank Tallis’s How to Stop Worrying.

Similar programs have already been adopted in Wales, Denmark, and New Zealand.