International Day of Happiness

20th March is International Day of Happiness 2019. This year's theme is Share Happiness and focuses on the importance of relationships kindness and helping each other.

Check out our Blog for a bit more information

Reading books is a great way to boost happiness, whether it's reading a brand new feel-good relationship story, re-reading your favourite crime fiction book or hunkering down with the latest thriller. 

Alongside this year's theme of 'Share Happiness', we have a selection of books that make us happy - some of our Star Books, some brand new Fiction and some books that could help you to feel better.

Why not get involved with the theme and share the books that make you happy. Share them with friends and family, share them with us! post on social media about the books that make you feel happy and don't forget to tag us!

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Stress Less Accomplish More

Stress Less Accomplish More

Author: Emily Fletcher Format: Audiobook Release Date: 21/02/2019

Stress Less, Accomplish More is more than just a book (or audiobook) about meditation and mindfulness. It contains practical, common-sense advice on dealing with stress, sleeping well, boosting your brainpower and changing your lifestyle for the better. Emily Fletcher discusses how to ‘up-level’ yourself by raising your priorities and goals in life; making small, but purposeful adaptations to your daily schedule can change how you think and also how you perceive the world. The book concentrates on a particular technique called Ziva meditation, which involves just 15 minutes of meditation twice a day. The science behind the technique is explained well, along with real-life case studies to highlight its benefits. The narration is very clear, in a relaxing, chatty style, and it felt as though I was listening to a knowledgeable friend or professional counsellor. A big advantage of listening to an audiobook about meditation and mindfulness, rather than simply reading a print version, is that I could practise the exercises at the same time. I found myself listening with my eyes shut, which enabled me to concentrate more easily. Stress Less, Accomplish More provides an interesting way to think more positively and reduce your stress levels, particularly if (or when) you’re feeling overwhelmed by your hectic lifestyle. I’ll definitely be listening to audiobook again, several times, to practise the techniques.

Audiobooks of the Month
Courage Calls to Courage Everywhere

Courage Calls to Courage Everywhere

Author: Jeanette Winterson Format: Audiobook Release Date: 28/02/2019

'Behind every great woman is a man who tried to stop her.' A century on from the first votes for women in the UK, award-winning author Jeanette Winterson asks what we still stand to learn from the Suffragettes. Examining recent women's rights movements, the worlds of politics and technology, social media and changes in the law, Winterson celebrates how far we have come but demands that we do more. There is still so far to go, so much courage we still need to find.    Witty and wise, incisive and inspiring, Courage Calls to Courage Everywhere is a powerful reminder of the need for true equality and an urgent call to arms.

Audiobooks of the Month
New Suns

New Suns

Author: Nisi Shawl Format: Paperback Release Date: 18/03/2019

Compiler Nisi Shawl, an acclaimed writer of science fiction, has done a marvellous job of bringing together a dazzling kaleidoscope of genres, styles and settings in this absorbing collection: near-future dystopian societies; epic high fantasy worlds; smart sci-fi. Here readers will encounter a variety of radiantly conjured characters - aliens, deities, Djinn, mythological monsters, and more besides  - whose diversity is underpinned by the writers’ respective sharpness of vision and humanity. Personal favourites among this seventeen-story collection include Silvia Moreno-Garcia’s powerfully poetic Give Me Your Black Wings Oh Sister, and Tobias Buckell’s wry opener, The Galactic Tourist Industrial Complex, but there’s not one story here that disappoints. It’s a treasure trove of thought-provoking treats for fans of speculative fiction.

Cherry

Cherry

Author: Nico Walker Format: Hardback Release Date: 28/02/2019

An incredibly raw, at times difficult to read, quite gobsmacking debut. Cherry made me flinch, both physically and mentally, at times I had to look away and think of something else, yet the words continued to call to me. The author Nico Walker, as of 2019, is still in prison in the USA, he served as an army medic in Iraq, and returning home with severe PTSD started to rob banks to pay for his drug addiction. This story centres on a narrator who serves as an army medic in Iraq, and returning home with severe PTSD starts to rob banks to pay for his drug addiction (yes the same tale as the author). Let me be clear, this is a novel, yet the voice of the author is clearly heard, this is his story and he stamps his words, his very being on every single page. Hammer hard, quick firing sentences (with some choice language attached) shoot off of the page. There were times when I really didn’t like the narator, some of his life choices are difficult to understand, yet that is the whole point. The story turns full circle from the prologue, creating what feels like a never ending loop. This book made me ache, it often physically hurt to soak up the words, yet I would read it all again tomorrow, and so Cherry has to be one of my picks of the month.

Liz Robinson's Picks of the Month
Reasons to be Cheerful

Reasons to be Cheerful

Author: Nina Stibbe Format: Hardback Release Date: 28/03/2019

A smirky, fabulously quirky, poignant novel and an absolute joy to read. It is 1980, Lizzie is 18, she starts a new job working for a dentist, moves into her own flat, and thinks she may have got herself a boyfriend (but isn’t entirely sure). Lizzie is a total delight, her courage, spirit and pithy observations mix into a heady cocktail alongside her apprehension and doubt. The other characters are beautifully realised in their own right, every utterance perfectly placed, it is difficult to pick just one out as when I called them forward in my mind, they clambered over each in a riot of energy. Nina Stibbe excels in the small, in fact the incy wincy details that are so beautifully observed you didn’t know they were missing until you read them, and could see and feel the entire picture. The understanding of human frailty and poignancy of human absurdity is so wonderfully explored. There is something compelling about the writing that lodged in my mind, and took up residence in my heart. I snorted (yes actually snorted) out loud with laughter and while heartache and break is never far away, thoroughly loved every word of Reasons To Be Cheerful which earns it one of my picks of the month… it’s just gorgeous!

Liz Robinson's Picks of the Month
Lost Connections

Lost Connections

Author: Johann Hari Format: Hardback Release Date: 11/01/2018

This book is in a word: brilliant. In many more words, Lost Connections is an insightful look into the causes of anxiety and depression. However, the book is not written by a preacher or self-help guru, but someone with the first-hand experience of anxiety and depression who is trying to work out his own place in and amongst all of the research.  Lost Connections is partly a tale of Johann’s own journey of understanding about his mental health. It is also partly a summary of research that connects to depression and anxiety from experts in a wide range of fields. And finally, it is partly an attempt to offer effective solutions to those in despair. I was left astounded at a number of points in this book - mainly at the dates of the studies mentioned, and why I (and no doubt so many others) hadn’t heard that one of the most talked about “causes” of depression may not really be a cause at all. As someone who feels like they constantly have to manage anxious thoughts I found this book a breakthrough and I was enthralled from the first chapter, never wanting to put it down once I started reading.  Johann Hari’s easy, almost colloquial writing would appeal to anyone with a professional or personal interest in psychology. It is a spectacular and groundbreaking look at two of today’s most significant mental health issues. 

eBooks of the Month
The Ghost Tree

The Ghost Tree

Author: Barbara Erskine Format: Paperback Release Date: 07/03/2019

A feverishly seductive story, it whispers, cajoles, beckons from history until the past forcefully assaults the present. When Ruth’s estranged father dies she returns to Edinburgh and discovers the hidden diary of her ancestor Thomas Erskine. Fascinated by his story Ruth finds herself in extraordinary danger when she starts to delve into the past. The prologue offers a warning, while the first chapter thoroughly sets the scene in 1760 as 10 year old Thomas witnesses a murder and sees the shadow of the dead man as it leaves the body. Barbara Erskine has based the story on her own family history, she paints a picture with a beautiful delicate balance and inner strength as the drama starts to unfold. Ruth’s story stands resolute in this time, and with a delicious shiver of fear I let the story take me where it willed. I always knew where I was, even as the past pushed ever closer. Spellbinding and gorgeously readable, as all becomes clear The Ghost Tree really is the most perfect title - highly recommended. Take a look at our Ambassador Book Buzz for The Ghost Tree.

eBooks of the Month
The Book of Love

The Book of Love

Author: Fionnuala Kearney Format: Paperback Release Date: 07/02/2019

The normal, the extraordinary, the highest ups and very deepest downs, this absolutely gorgeous book is about life, in all of its wonderful, charming, heartbreaking glory. I’m very conscious about the fact that I will probably gush with enthusiasm because I quite simply adored it, sorry (not sorry), you’ll just have to go with me on this one. Erin and Dom marry in 1996, and her father gives them an empty book, a book to write what can not be said, an opportunity to create honesty, love, commitment, and so we are introduced to The Book of Love. Little excerpts from the book start each chapter, we hear from either Erin or Dom as we view their life, travelling in time from now which is 2017, and then, which starts in 1996 and travels forward to meet now. I will warn you that I whimpered and cried, I also smiled, laughed, and felt the joy of this couple, but there are points when I really really cried. Fionnuala Kearney allows you to get to know Erin and Dom without judgement getting in the way, she writes with huge compassion and brings their story to vibrant life, this is glorious writing, just glorious. I gobbled up the words, which join together to create a simple, touchable, beautiful tale. The Book of Love is one of my picks of the month, yes, yes, I loved it! Explore our '80+ Books That Deliver a Hug' listicle for more feel-good or uplifting books.

Star Books
The Binding

The Binding

Author: Bridget Collins Format: Hardback Release Date: 10/01/2019

Everything changes for rural lad Emmett Farmer when a gloriously grouchy wise woman compels him to be her bookbinding apprentice. While this line of work is generally shrouded in superstitious fear, Emmett is shocked when his mentor explains that they “don’t make books to sell, boy. Selling books is wrong”. Rather, their gothically intriguing trade involves binding unwanted memories into books: ”Whatever people can’t bear to remember. Whatever they can’t live with. We take those memories and put them where they can’t do any more harm”. Most clients are wealthy; well-to-do gentlemen who have their servants and wives bound so they forget what wrongs their masters and husbands have done to them. No wonder then, that Emmett is horrified to discover a book bearing his own name, and so a tempestuous tangle of secrets unfurls. The novel is also fragrantly spiced with witty references to literary history and the novel as an art form: “It makes one wonder who would write them [novels]. People who enjoy imagining misery, I suppose. People who have no scruples about dishonesty”. Yet through the duplicity of her exquisitely crafted characters, and luminous storytelling, this novel’s author reveals truths of the human spirit in a most entertaining and absorbing fashion. 

Audiobooks of the Month
Happiness A Guide to Developing Life's Most Important Skill

Happiness A Guide to Developing Life's Most Important Skill

Author: Matthieu Ricard Format: Paperback Release Date: 01/01/2015

Although we are materially better off than ever before, surveys show that we are depressed and listless. In his revolutionary book, Buddhist monk Matthieu Ricard shows that happiness is not just an emotion, but a skill that can be developed. Free of jargon, Happiness contains simple exercises that will train the mind to recognize and pursue happiness by concentrating on the fundamental things in life, and in doing so change the way we view the world.

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