Pick up a book – you won’t regret it

Book expert Mel Mitchell
Book expert Mel Mitchell
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Book enthusiast Melanie Mitchell aims to get the community reading more. To spur you on, she offers her Book of the Week and Books to Watch choices

Earlier this week The Reading Agency released the results of their latest report, which once again found strong evidence that reading for pleasure can increase empathy, improve relationships with others and even reduce the symptoms of depression and the risk of dementia.

BOOK OF THE WEEK Fishbowl by Bradley Somer

BOOK OF THE WEEK Fishbowl by Bradley Somer

The health benefits are well worth exploring. The Reading Agency work with public libraries on two schemes – Reading Well Books on Prescription and Reading Well Mood-boosting Books.

The former focuses on self-help books and is endorsed by health professionals. All books on this list are available in almost all English public libraries and can be borrowed free of charge.

The latter is a national promotion of uplifting novels, non-fiction and poetry recommended by readers as good examples of writing that boosted their mood. Pick up a book – you won’t regret it.

n My book of the week, Fishbowl by Bradley Somer (Ebury Press, published August 6) is just the kind of absorbing, feel-good read that will lift your mood.

It’s about a goldfish called Ian who falls from the 27th floor of an apartment block.

As he tumbles perilously downward he witnesses all the triumphs and disasters of the human inhabitants of the building, including a handsome student, his girlfriend and his mistress, an agoraphobic sex worker and the invisible caretaker.

As different as they seem they all face an obstacle.

Funny and original – if this doesn’t make you feel empathy for your fellow humans I don’t know what will.

n In my books to watch, Kitchens of the Great Midwest by J. Ryan Stradal (Quercus, published August 6) is one for the foodies. Eva Thorvald is an ambitious young chef determined to make her mark on the culinary world and along the way make peace with the mother that abandoned her.

Each chapter tells the story of a single dish. A bittersweet tale that will get your taste buds tingling.

The Father by Anton Svensson (Sphere, published August 6) is inspired by the extraordinary true story of three brothers who held Sweden to ransom by committing ten bank robberies over two years.

It is narrated by the fourth brother, who wasn’t involved. n Mel Mitchell is originally from Portsmouth and now lives in Gosport.

She is Publisher Liaison for newbooks magazine and its related website nudge-book.com, based in Stubbington.