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London - It’s a nostalgic portrayal of growing up in a rural idyll that has enchanted generations.
And Cider With Rosie will soon be recommended by GPs in the hope that its therapeutic qualities will help those with mental illness.
The book is one of a 27-strong list of ‘mood boosting’ books which experts hope will help those with depression, anxiety and stress.
It will be advertised on leaflets given out by GPs from May as part of the ‘Books on Prescription’ scheme, supported by the Department of Health.
The list was drawn up by charity the Reading Agency via book groups, many of which cater to people with anxiety and depression.
It is hoped those with ‘mild to moderate’ mental health conditions will try the books before turning to prescription drugs, many of which can have unpleasant side effects.
And it may not be long before the likes of EL James’s Fifty Shades Of Grey are also recommended, as readers have been invited to submit their own suggestions. Debbie Hicks, director of research at the Reading Agency, said: ‘Reading is a really good stress-buster. It can help you escape to another world and get out of your everyday life.
‘There’s lots of evidence that reading can help you relax and escape and this is a good strategy for dealing with stress and anxiety.’
The ‘Books on Prescription’ scheme lets GPs ‘prescribe’ self-help books stocked at local libraries.
Each prescription leaflet will also include a recommendation for the patient to dip into the ‘mood boosting’ reading list.
Almost every library in the country has agreed to stock the approved list of self-help and mood-boosting books.
The books will also be distributed in colleges, hospitals and workplaces.
Research by Mindlab International recently revealed that out of a range of activities, reading reduced stress the most, by 67 per cent.
THE READING CURE: SOME OF THE LIST
The Beach Café: Lucy Diamond
The Big Over Easy: Jasper Fforde
Big Stone Gap: Adriana Trigiani
Cider with Rosie: Laurie Lee
Haroun and the Sea of Stories: Salman Rushdie
A Little History of the World: E. H. Gombrich
Major Pettigrew’s Last Stand: Helen Simonson
Notes from a Small Island: Bill Bryson
The Pursuit of Love: Nancy Mitford
The Secret Garden: Frances Hodgson Burnett
Smoke and Mirrors: Neil Gaiman
A Spot of Bother: Mark Haddon
Tackling Life: Charlie Oatway
Tales of the City: Armistead Maupin
That Awkward Age: Roger McGough
To the Moon and Back: Jill Mansell
Trouble on the Heath: Terry Jones
Waterlog: Roger Deakin
A Winter Book: Tove Jansson. Daily Mail