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Reasons to Stay Alive by Matt Haig

Reasons to Stay Alive

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Shortlisted for the Books Are My Bag Non-Fiction Award 2016.


If you like Matt Haig you might also like to read books by Glen Duncan, Neil Cross and Joe Dunthorne.


Reasons to Stay Alive by Matt Haig

WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO FEEL TRULY ALIVE? Aged 24, Matt Haig's world caved in. He could see no way to go on living. This is the true story of how he came through crisis, triumphed over an illness that almost destroyed him and learned to live again. A moving, funny and joyous exploration of how to live better, love better and feel more alive, Reasons to Stay Alive is more than a memoir. It is a book about making the most of your time on earth. I wrote this book because the oldest cliches remain the truest. Time heals. The bottom of the valley never provides the clearest view. The tunnel does have light at the end of it, even if we haven't been able to see it ...Words, just sometimes, really can set you free.


'Maybe the most important book I've read this year' -- SIMON MAYO

'A life-saving book' -- AMANDA CRAIG

'Warm and engaging, and shot through with humour ... a valuable contribution to the conversation' SUNDAY TIMES

'Brings a difficult and sensitive subject out of the darkness and into the light' -- MICHAEL PALIN

'Full of wisdoms and warmth' -- NATHAN FILER

'A tender, candid, inspiring book about depression' SUNDAY EXPRESS

'Matt Haig is astounding' -- STEPHEN FRY

'Reasons to Stay Alive is wonderful. I read it in one sitting. Touching, funny, thought-provoking, with a huge heart. It should be read by anyone who has suffered, or known someone who has suffered (i.e. everyone)' -- S J WATSON

'Fascinating and beautifully written' -- IAN RANKIN

'Matt Haig uses words like a tin-opener. We are the tin' -- JEANETTE WINTERSON

'Matt Haig is a marvellous writer: limpid; tender; passionate. In this memoir (and it's short, barely 200 pages long), he manages to articulate, both the bleakness of depression and the means of dealing with it, little by little, day by day, without ever sounding maudlin, or self-indulgent, or preachy. For everyone who has ever felt the snap of the black dog's teeth, this book is wise, funny, affirming and redemptive. Sometimes depression can be like falling into a wordless pit. Matt Haig finds the words. And he says them for all of us' -- JOANNE HARRIS

'Thoughtful, honest and incredibly insightful' -- JENNY COLGAN

'Brilliant and salutary ... should be on prescription' -- REV. RICHARD COLES

About the Author

Matt Haig

Matt Haig was born in Sheffield in 1975 and grew up in Nottinghamshire. He has lived in London and Spain, and now lives in north Yorkshire. His writing has frequently appeared in the UK press. He is the author of The Last Family in England, a UK bestseller narrated by a Labrador, The Dead Fathers Club, an update of Hamlet featuring an eleven-year-old boy and The Possession of Mr Cave. He has also written two children's novels, Shadow Forest, and its sequel The Runaway Troll.

Matt Haig on his teen novel, The Radleys:
"This is a story about growing up, first and foremost. About how we learn to come to terms with who we are, independent of the ideas our parents had for us. About how we decide our own identities. As well as what shapes those identities - who we choose to love, and hate, admire and fear. It is about how denying ourselves can sometimes be more dangerous than succumbing to tempation. This is the story I wanted to tell. I never set out to write a vampire story, but vampires were the obvious choice. After all, as family secrets go, you can't get much bigger than finding out you are actually a full-blown creature of the night. And hopefully it fits as a metaphor for teenage life. A life full of physical changes, forbidden cravings, and feelings of being an outsider. In that sense, we've probably all been vampires at some stage."

Author photo © Clive Doyle

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Book Info

Publication date

31st December 2015


Matt Haig

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Canongate Books Ltd


272 pages


Biography / Autobiography
All Shortlists and Winners
eBook Favourites

Prose: non-fiction



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