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AIBU?

In wanting to read a happy book?

228 replies

ICantCopeAnymore · 31/05/2018 20:38

I suffer with PTSD and anxiety and I love reading. I'm really struggling with my mental health which is very up and down and books used to be my happy place.

More recently, I've found that everything I read is miserable. Full of death, cancer, illness, murder etc. Even the women's fiction books like Katie Fforde type literature have started going the same way, always including a young widow, a dreadful car accident, funerals and dying children. I was recommended "The Lido" and I've never sobbed so much through a book. It was supposed to be an uplifting, heartwarming read and it was about dreadful loneliness and death.

These things are all really triggering for me at the moment - AIBU in just wanting an escape from hospitals and death? I feel like I can't read or watch TV any more without being bombarded with misery.

Can anyone recommend anything to read that isn't traumatic please?

Thank you Smile

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Elmersnewfriend · 31/05/2018 20:40

I would go with literally any of the Bill Bryson books, or if you want fiction then Alexander McCall Smith's Scotland Street series never fails.

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Drumknott · 31/05/2018 20:44

Anything by Wodehouse, most of Georgette Heyer, Jane Austen - if you don't mind the odd murder Agatha Christie is good too. I only read happy books these days. When you run out of the above and if you're not too refined fanfiction is good too, stick with the stuff labelled 'fluff' though

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CorianderSnell · 31/05/2018 20:47

I know what you mean.. I picked up that Lionel Shriver one once from the charity shop - called In The End or something? Got about three pages in, and was so hit in the gut by the misery that I went into town the next day to dump it back at the charity shop and get it away from me!

I’ve just got into reading children’s books. I was an avid novel reader (mostly angsty literary fiction type stuff) until I had kids, and now it’s like my brain just can’t cope with it.

But, I’ve discovered I can cope with kids books, and have really enjoyed some. Some off the top of my head:

Raymie Nightingale by Kate DiCamilo (has a missing Dad but nothing much more traumatic and is super charming and lovely).

Sky Song by Abi Elphinstone - halfway through, it’s a bit dark but all magic and ice and wild stuff imagery, which I’m really enjoying as an escape.

The Bell Family by Noel Streatfield - I’m currently reading with my 8yo. It is a very gentle, wordy 1950s family saga. You couldn’t get further away from death and despair!

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juneau · 31/05/2018 20:49

Yes, good suggestions above. Lots of non-fiction would fit the bill - particularly travel memoirs or doing up a house somewhere type of books. Chris Stewart's books are nice and easy to read (The first one is called 'Driving over Lemons') or any of Annie Hawes' books about buying a tumble down place in Liguria (the first one is called 'Extra Virgin'). Or if you want an adventure, I can recommend 'The Letter for the King' by Tonke Dragt (it's a children's book, but I loved it). Or something amusing - I love Sue Townsend's books for just laughing out loud. I reread the Adrian Mole books last year and spent days just guffawing on the sofa.

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CorianderSnell · 31/05/2018 20:49

Oh, yes, second the Wodehouse suggestion too! And Jerome K Jerome’s Three Men In A Boat.

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ICantCopeAnymore · 31/05/2018 20:53

Thank you so much, some brilliant suggestions. I didn't realise Bill Bryson had a new one - I remember reading his first many years ago.

I do love children's fiction - I'm a Primary school teacher so I adore Harry Potter, Lord of the Rings, His Dark Materials etc. I'll have to have a good look at new releases. Even some of the YA stuff is really dark at the moment! DS read a lovely one recently called "Sweet Pizza". He insisted I read it and I'm glad I did!

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ElizabethinherGermanGarden · 31/05/2018 20:54

Try The Enchanted April by Elizabeth Von Arnim (or Elizabeth in her German Garden, if you like gardens). It's the most joyous read, about going on holiday and being happy making you a better person. It always puts me in a lovely mood. I bang on about this book a lot with evangelistic zeal. I love it very much!

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BabloHoney · 31/05/2018 20:55

Derren Brown’s “Happy” is a fabulous and heart warming read!

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UterusUterusGhali · 31/05/2018 20:56

It fiction but "The Tent, the Bucket and Me" is one of the funniest things I've ever read. Grin

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Clionba · 31/05/2018 20:57

Carole Drinkwater has written some interesting books about her olive farm on the South of France, they're nice books. Any of the MC Beaton books are light and easy reads.

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picklemepopcorn · 31/05/2018 20:58

The Hamish Macbeth books are good. Alistair McCall. I'll have a think what else. I completely agree, and have phases myself where I have to be careful what I read.

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cardibach · 31/05/2018 20:58

I’ve just finished ‘The Mermaid’s Sister’ by Carrie Anne Noble. Odd, and has sad moments, but generally very cheery and the sad bits are so fantastical they don’t really bite.

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picklemepopcorn · 31/05/2018 20:59

You might like Dresden Files by Jim Butcher. Kind of grown up Harry Potter. There is mayhem and violence, but it's fantasy so kind of ok.

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fairgame84 · 31/05/2018 20:59

Lucy-Anne Holmes books have always made me chuckle.

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RebeccaBunchLawyer · 31/05/2018 20:59

I really enjoyed ‘A Fanny Full of Soap”, by Nichola Mcauliffe, I think. The title alone cracks me up!

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Creasey31 · 31/05/2018 21:00

I love a bit of Sophie Kinsella for a holiday, just a easy read. I sit there laughing out loud on some of her ones and she has quite a few out x

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MrsKyloRen · 31/05/2018 21:01

A second for Noel Streatfield, I have loved The Painted Garden my whole life, it’s so lovely.

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dontticklethetoad · 31/05/2018 21:02

If you don't mind trashy 'chick lit' Jill Mansell is good for an easy read. It is my go to when I'm feeling anxious as they are fairly light hearted.
If you don't mind mild fantasy, Tom Holt books are fab. And of course Terry Pratchett.

Otherwise I seem to read a lot of intense books, I don't know why I do it to myself!Confused

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QueenDoris · 31/05/2018 21:04

The Handmaid's Tail is quite jolly

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dontticklethetoad · 31/05/2018 21:04

reheccabunch I read that as 'A Fanny Full of Soup' Grin

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Mascarponeandwine · 31/05/2018 21:04

I found the same at the airport bookstore last summer, trying to find a chick lit book for the sun bed and everything was about awful sad depressing topics. I ended up with Katie prices autobiography as the only uplifting literature there Wink

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MeanTangerine · 31/05/2018 21:05

'The Moon's a Balloon' by David Niven - first volume of his memoirs.

'Wise Children' by Angela Carter. Full of life.

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Clionba · 31/05/2018 21:05

I would also highly recommend the Mapp and Lucia books by EF Benson. Witty, funny and not in the least depressing!

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Calic0 · 31/05/2018 21:07

Big yes for Georgette Heyer - ultimate happy comfort reads. “These Old Shades” is my absolute favourite.

For something terribly lovely and bucolic but also well written (albeit old fashioned) - Miss Read is pretty good!

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PlainPiglet · 31/05/2018 21:07

I second The Enchanted April. And any of Francois Lelord's Hector books, especially the first - "Hector and the Search for Happiness". Kathleen Tessaro's "Elegance" - unhappy woman turns life around.

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