Books on Prescription

Books on Prescription aims to bring reading’s healing benefits to people suffering from a range of common health conditions.


Books on Prescription

The Healing Power of Words

Milton Keynes Libraries are playing their part in helping people tackle all kinds of problems, from binge-eating, stress and relationship problems to managing chronic pain. 

Get Reading Get Well is a national collaboration between the Reading Agency and Libraries Connected and currently has two schemes running. The aim is to improve the nation’s health through books and reading. Reading has none of the side effects associated with prescription drugs and often achieves good results more quickly.

We are participating in a scheme called Books on Prescription, which aims to bring reading’s healing benefits to people suffering from a range of common health conditions. There is good evidence that self-help books can help people understand and manage common conditions including depression and anxiety. 

The new scheme has the backing of the Royal College of GP’s as well as major nursing and mental health organisations, and Milton Keynes Central Library now holds a special collection of 30 titles which have been written by experienced health care professionals and are available to borrow.

These books provide helpful information and step-by-step self-help techniques. You can download a list of all the titles and synopses. (PDF, 2.5MB) 

A selection of books on dementia put together by The Reading Agency was added to the Reading Well Books on Prescription promotion in 2015.

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Reading Well for mental health was launched by The Reading Agency in June 2018.

Along with titles for the Books on Prescription, Mood Boosting and Get Reading Get Well schemes, there is now a book list providing health information and self-management support for people living with mental health and wellbeing issues and their carers. 

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Mood Boosting Banner


Running alongside the Books on Prescription scheme we are also running a collection of Mood Boosting ‘feel good’ books.

These are books which have an uplifting theme including novels, non fiction and poetry. They have all been recommended by people who have felt the benefit of the books themselves. We are also keen to hear of any other titles recommended by our own readers to add to our list.

We have a collection of mood boosting books available for library members to borrow. If you are not already a member it is free to join the library.

These books have been recommended by readers as being upbeat and having lifted their spirits.  There are several lists to choose from and any of the books can be reserved at any of the Milton Keynes Libraries.


  • The Art of Being Normal - Lisa Williamson
  • More Than This - Patrick Ness
  • Wonder - R J Palacio
  • Finding Cherokee Brown - Siobhan Curham
  • The Rest of Us Just Live Here - Patrick Ness
  • We Should All Be Feminists - Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
  • Eleanor & Park - Rainbow Rowell
  • I Capture the Castle - Dodie Smith and Valerie Grove
  • Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe - Benjamin Alire Saenz
  • Crongton Knights - Alex Wheatle
  • Am I Normal Yet? - Holly Bourne
  • This One Summer - Jillian Tamaki and Mariko Tamaki
  • Matilda - Roald Dahl and Quentin Blake
  • Milk and Honey - Rupi Kaur
  • A Bear Called Paddington - Michael Bond and Peggy Fortnum
  • The Harry Potter Series - J K Rowling
  • Bodyguard Series - Chris Bradford

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  • Adrian Mole: The Prostrate Years - Sue Townsend
  • Aphrodite’s Hat - Salley Vickers
  • Being Alive - Edited by Neil Astley
  • The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel - Deborah Moggach
  • The Camomile Lawn - Mary Wesley
  • Chocolat - Joanne Harris
  • Driving Over Lemons - Chris Stewart
  • Eat, Pray, Love - Elizabeth Gilbert
  • Hector Finds Time - Francois Lelord
  • Jamie’s Ministry of Food - Jamie Oliver
  • Julie & Julia - Julie Powell
  • The Last Runaway - Tracy Chevalier
  • My Boy Butch - Jenni Murray
  • Of Mutability - Jo Shapcott
  • Restless - William Boyd
  • Starter for Ten - David Nicholls
  • This Book Will Save Your Life - A M Homes
  • Travels with My Aunt - Graham Greene
  • The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry - Rachel Joyce

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  • The Beach Café - Lucy Diamond
  • Being Human - Neil Astley
  • The Big Over Easy - Jasper Fforde
  • Big Stone Gap - Adriana Trigiani
  • Cider with Rosie - Laurie Lee
  • Couch Fiction - Philippa Perry
  • Haroun and the Sea of Stories - Salman Rushdie
  • Hector and the Search for Happiness - Francois Lelord
  • Life According to Lubka - Laurie Graham
  • Life with the Lid Off - Nicola Hodgkinson
  • A Little History of the World - E.H. Gombrich
  • Major Pettigrew’s Last Stand - Helen Simonson
  • Men at Work - Mike Gayle
  • Notes from a Small Island - Bill Bryson
  • Prodigal Summer - Barbara Kingsolver
  • The Pursuit of Love - Nancy Mitford
  • Smoke and Mirrors - Neil Gaiman
  • A Spot of Bother - Mark Haddon
  • Tackling Life - Charlie Oatway
  • That Awkward Age - Roger McGough
  • To the Moon and Back - Jill Mansell
  • Trouble on the Heath - Terry Jones
  • A Winter Book - Tove Jansson
  • Stop What You’re Doing and Read This - Various Contributors
  • Tales of the City - Armistead Maupin
  • Waterlog - Roger Deakin
  • The Secret Garden - Frances Hodgson Burnett

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  • Bee Journal - Sean Borodale
  • Dart - Alice Oswald
  • The Enchanted April - Elizabeth von Arnim
  • Essential Poems from the Staying Alive Trilogy - Edited by Neil Astley
  • The Help - Kathryn Stockett
  • I Capture the Castle - Dodie Smith
  • Miss Garnet’s Angel - Salley Vickers
  • The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society - Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows
  • Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day - Winifred Watson
  • A Month in the Country - J L Carr
  • A Sea Change - Veronica Henry
  • Soul Music - Terry Pratchett
  • The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole Aged 13¾ - Sue Townsend
  • A Street Cat Named Bob - James Bowen
  • The Thread - Victoria Hislop
  • Thursdays in the Park - Hilary Boyd
  • The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry - Rachel Joyce
  • Various Pets Alive and Dead - Marina Lewycka

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  • The Alchemist - Paulo Coelho
  • Call the Midwife - Jennifer Worth
  • Penguin’s Poems for Life - Selected by Laura Barber
  • Reading in Bed - Sue Gee
  • Remarkable Creatures - Tracy Chevalier
  • About Love and Other Stories - Anton Chekhov
  • A Short History of Tractors in Ukrainian - Marina Lewycka
  • Somewhere Towards the End - Diana Athill
  • A Spot of Bother - Mark Haddon
  • Attention All Shipping: A Journey Round the Shipping Forecast - Charlie Connelly

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Last Updated: 18 February 2020