Emma Asks… What Books Are Best When You’re Feeling Down?

You’re tired, it’s been a long day/week/month (delete as appropriate), you’ve developed a nasty cough, and are having trouble sleeping. Add to this the fact that work is driving you mad (your boss in particular), the kids are constantly bickering, the credit card bill has just arrived (suddenly the £250 boots that seemed a “steal” now don’t seem such a bargain), and the car is making a funny noise every time you turn your steering wheel. Sometimes, it feels like it’s not just raining, it’s absolutely hammering down and you can’t even find your brolly.

Instead of hiding underneath your duvet with a box set and a pack of Hobnobs, seek an alternative pick-me-up in the form of a great book. A super read can provide a little positivity and give you a welcome boost. Come with us on a journey to discover a selection of books to lift you up when you are down.

Hyperbole and a Half: Unfortunate Situations, Flawed Coping Mechanisms, Mayhem, and Other Things That Happened by Allie Brosh


This book sprang from a hit blog delivered by Brosh, and the bright, garish cover indicates what you will find inside – gargantuan humour by the bucket-load. Bosch cleverly uses comical narrative to illustrate her life and her struggles. We discover that she has suffered from depression and learn about the impact that this has had upon her life. This is a short and sweet book, but really gives you an insight into the realities of this debilitating illness (and somehow it still manages to be witty and uplifting).

Travels with Myself and Another by Martha Gellhorn925368.jpg

The opening sentence tells you all you need to know about this book “Nothing is better for self-esteem than survival.” Gellhorn is adept at the art of travel and has spent much of her life trying to understand our often-eclectic world. She has witnessed many disturbing sights and this memoir tells us all about the things Gellhorn has faced. Witty and eye-opening, this book it will allow you to explore the rawness of our world from your armchair.

The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho


Feel as though you are stuck on the treadmill, unable to get off and realise your full potential? Allow The Alchemist to inspire you. The story is based around a young boy who dreams of discovering his fortune and improving his life. The tale gives a nod to bravery and following your dreams, after reading it you will be left with a sense of hope and the ideology that anything is possible

One Million Lovely Letters by Jodi Ann Bickleyone-million-lovely-letters.jpg

Jodi Bickley has been through, to put it mildly, some really tough times. A life changing mini-stroke, brought on by a brain infection, left Jodi with a long road to travel – both mentally and physically. Jodi coped with circumstances by diverting her attentions to a childhood hobby she once loved – letter writing. Throughout her illness, Jodi penned letters to her nearest and dearest, conveying heartfelt sentiments and expressing her feelings. She then went one stage further and started a blog – addressing people from around the globe and winning them over with infectious positivity.

Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell


We are surrounded by the successful, the powerful and the influential, those who have done well for themselves and are renowned and respected. We may recognise their faces, but how much do we actually know about the background of these high achievers? How much do we know about their family and upbringing? What do they like to do in the spare time? Outliers fills in the gaps and will make you feel like grabbing life with two hands and living it to the full – you can be anything or anyone you want to be.

Lift Your Spirits

A really great book can lift your spirits, it can take you away from a humdrum day and lighten your mood. Check out the autobiographies of the great and the good, read tales of how everyday people have achieved extraordinary things, get engrossed in fables of faraway places and passionate characters. You can lose yourself in a book, but you can also find yourself – and that’s why books are awesome!

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