“Dr. Beck, have you got a summer reading list ready yet?”
When I was asked this question two weeks ago, I was taken aback. I had completely forgotten to get a book list together before the summer started.
Last summer, one of the more popular handouts I prepared were some reading lists for youth. I made lists of books for teens with anxiety, depression, boredom and time on their hands. I had a list of books to read out loud and graphic novels, fiction and nonfiction. I took suggestions from youth who read constantly. We usually ask for patients’ and families’ opinions on initiatives or programs, but reading suggestions don’t really count as either an initiative or a program. I created some lists of books that I’d loved myself and that had cheered me up or inspired me. My goal was to provide suggestions that were unlikely to cause anyone distress.
Motivated by being asked for a list, I promptly sat down and developed one. I have two main references for book lists. One is The Novel Cure: From Abandonment to Zestlessness: 751 Books to Cure What Ails You by Ella Berthoud and Susan Elderkin and The Ultimate Teen Book Guide: over 700 Great Books, edited by Daniel Hahn and Leonie Flynn. Both are worth the investment.
Depending on how much of a book nerd you are, you might also enjoy developing your own list, but here is my list of books to read this summer, developed in two very enjoyable hours on a Sunday afternoon:
1. Books to read to cheer you up: The Family Fang: A Novel by Kevin Wilson and Joy in the Morning by P.G. Wodehouse.
2. Books to read if you’re anxious: Turtles All the Way Down by John Green and The Late Bloomer’s Club by Louisa Miller.
3. A book to read if you are feeling discouraged about your life: The Shipping News by Annie Proulx.
4. A book to read to relieve stress: The Man Who Planted Trees by Jean Giono.
5. A great graphic novel series: The Sandman series by Nail Gaiman
6. Two very different, but very funny books – both classics: A Prayer for Owen Meany by John Irving and Mansfield Park by Jane Austen.
This is a total of nine books, decent for a summer’s worth of reading – now, if only no one finishes the entire list in a week or two because then I’ll have to find some more titles.
If you have any suggestions for books for youth(or for me personally), let us know – and, if you feel it can help if a person is anxious, stressed out, sad or just out of sorts, let us know that too. The longer the bibliotherapy list, the better!