March’s Booklist – Wonder Women

To mark International Women’s Day (8 March) and celebrate the achievements, triumphs and general brilliance of women and girls from around the world, we have created a booklist that tell the stories of wonder women and girls.

Books

  • Gina Kaminski Saves the Wolf by Craig Barr-Green (author), Francis Martin (illustrator)
  • Speak Up! by Nathan Bryon (author), Dapo Adeola (illustrator)
  • The Kindest Red: A Story of Hijab and Friendship by Ibtihaj Muhammad (author), Hatem Aly (illustrator), S. K. Ali (author)
  • Billie Swift Takes Flight by Iszi Lawrence
  • Bridget Vanderpuff and the Baked Escape by Martin Stewart (author), David Habben (illustrator)
  • Into the Dark Forest by Liz Flanagan (author), Joe Todd-Stanton (illustrator)
  • Friendship Never Ends by Alexandra Sheppard
  • Little Bang by Kelly McCaughrain
  • Where the Heart Should Be by Sarah Crossan
  • Diva by Daisy Goodwin
  • How To Say Babylon by Safiya Sinclair
  • The Liverbirds: Our life in Britain’s first female rock ‘n’ roll band by Mary McGlory (author), Sylvia Saunders (author)

Check out the booklist resource to find out more about the books.

Reading Well for mental health provides helpful information and support for managing common mental health conditions, or dealing with difficult feelings and experiences. Some books also include personal stories from people who are living with or caring for someone with mental health needs.

The books are available to borrow from your local library. Selected titles are also available to borrow as e-books and audiobooks. Visit your local library website to find out how to join the library and access books electronically.

Booklist Categories

Browse the books on the list below or download a full overview of the titles here.

Therapies and approaches

Common feelings and experiences

Self-help books to support mental health

Break Free from OCD: Overcoming Obsessive Compulsive Disorder with CBT

Fiona Challacombe, Victoria Bream Oldfield, Paul M. Salkovskis

Other common conditions

Personal stories

The Boy with the Topknot: A Memoir of Love, Secrets and Lies in Wolverhampton

Sathnam Sanghera

Living with a Black Dog

Matthew Johnstone, Ainsley Johnstone

I Had a Black Dog

Matthew Johnstone

Therapïau a dulliau gweithredu

A line illustration of a book.

Rheoli Straen

Jim White

Goresgyn Diffyg Hunan-Werth

Melanie Fennell

Cyflwyniad i Ymdopi â Galar

Lee Brosan, Brenda Hogan

Llyfrau hunangymorth i gefnogi iechyd meddwl

The Radio 2 Book Club is on the Zoe Ball Breakfast Show.

The Radio 2 Book Club features a wide range of titles and authors, recommending great reads from both new and much-loved writers, encouraging listeners to perhaps try out a genre they might not have read before, and share their opinions and insights on the titles and great reads they’re enjoying right now.

As well as being featured on Zoe’s show, The Radio 2 Book Club is also available as a weekly podcast on BBC Sounds with bitesize episodes of around 10-20 minutes. In the first episode, Zoe chats to some of the best fiction authors around to learn more about their latest novels, writing routines and literary loves; in the second, she speaks to a librarian to find out which books are flying off their library’s shelves at the moment; and in episode three, Zoe speaks to a Radio 2 listener book group to find out what reads they are currently enjoying. This format continues each month.

“The best escapism for me has always been to get lost in another world in a good book, where our imaginations are sparked, tested and tickled by ingenious authors on wild, winsome and often thoroughly emotional journeys. The Radio 2 Book Club has a top notch track record for recommending the best reads, and we’d love our listeners to share their thoughts and discoveries with us whether from a well-loved or exciting new author. I extend a very warm welcome to everyone to join us for The Radio 2 Book Club in its brand new home on my Breakfast Show and can’t wait to be the bookish ringmaster, bringing authors and listeners together to chat all things literary!”

Zoe Ball

All the books that are selected for the Book Club with Zoe can be found on our Reading Groups for Everyone website.

The Reading Agency, along with a panel of library staff and reading experts across the UK, help the BBC to choose the Book Club titles each month. Hundreds of the best brand-new fiction titles are submitted to us each year and are then read by our brilliant readers, who select their favourites. The best books are shared with the BBC, and they choose the final picks for the Book Club.

Find out more about the librarians, and why they love being part of the Book Club.

Photo of five teenagers sat on a sofa reading various copies of Quick Reads books

What are Quick Reads?

Discover the joy of reading with Quick Reads. Short books and great stories by bestselling authors!  
 
Quick Reads provide a route into reading that prioritises great story telling and adult-focused content while ensuring the books are written in an accessible and easy to read style. The books are written by some of the most popular authors in the UK – including Andy McNab, Jojo Moyes, Anne Cleeves, Ian Rankin and Benjamin Zephaniah – so they can be a brilliant entry point to new genres, authors as well as the spark to reignite or build up the joy of reading.  


 

The Quick Reads programme has collaborated with over 30 publishers to produce a total of 135 titles since 2006 with over 5 million copies distributed and over 6 million library loans. Many are still available to borrow from your public library or buy from The Reading Agency’s bookshop.

We work with public libraries, prisons, colleges, hospitals and adult learning organisations to ensure these books are accessed by those who may find reading difficult as they are a perfect entry point to reading for pleasure. 

Photograph of two older Asian women sat at a table reading Quick Reads books.

This year’s titles – Out Now


Photo of an older man sat at the back of a lorry reading a book.

Get Involved

  • Buy the books through Bookshop.org, Waterstones, or borrow them from your local library. The titles are available in paperback, ebook, and audiobook!  
  • Libraries can order Quick Reads from your usual library supplier such as Askews or Gardners and the Ebook and audiobooks from Overdrive or BorrowBox.  
  • You can access accompanying learning resources, book group discussion guides and promotional materials on our resources database.
  • Quick Reads are perfect for supporting the Reading Ahead programme either as reading material or to use as rewards and incentives.  

Quick Reads are an extremely valuable tool for boosting reading skills, confidence and engagement in learning. They can act as an entry point to different authors’ work in diverse genres, and have led to thousands of adults reading, completing and enjoying a book for the first time.

Our long-term goal is to build a nation of readers by getting Quick Reads into every home in the UK!  

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1 in 3 adults in the UK do not regularly read for pleasure.

A line illustration of a head with a scribble inside.

Non-readers are 28% more likely to report feelings of depression.

Quick Reads 2024 are out now!

Photo of two teenage boys sat with an adult man looking at a book. There are bookshelves in the background.

What is Reading Ahead?

Reading Ahead builds reading confidence, skills and encourages everyone to read more. Run in prisons, public libraries, colleges, adult community learning settings and workplaces, Reading Ahead engages people in the joy of reading, often for the first time, which in turn helps them to improve their language and literacy skills. 

Participants choose six reads: books, magazines, recipes, letters – anything! After completing each read, they share their thoughts on what they’ve read by filling out a review in a personal Reading Diary and work towards receiving a certificate of achievement. Readers can use our reading database to search for material at the right reading level and practitioners can access a hub of supporting guidance, learning resources and promotional materials on our Resources database.

Who is it for?

Reading Ahead is aimed at young people and adults who are less confident readers and those who want to improve their literacy and language skills or get back into reading. It is run in by UK prisons, public libraries, colleges, adult community learning centres and workplaces. 

A middle aged man in a library smiles reading a copy of Nightingale Point by Luann Goldie

An icon of a person sitting and reading a book.

Adults who read for just 30 minutes a week are 20% more likely to report greater life satisfaction

Reading for pleasure enhances empathy and the ability to understand others’ identities

Resources

Prisoners champion Reading Ahead

To fulfil our aim of extending the reach and impact of Reading Ahead in prisons, we are piloting a new approach under the name Reading Ahead Champions.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jPiFeet5xAg&t=3s

What is Reading Friends?

Reading Friends is The Reading Agency’s reading connection programme. It connects people by starting conversations through reading, giving opportunities to meet others, share stories, make new friends and have fun.

Your generosity can us help bring more people together. Find out how your money can help support Reading Friends.

Reading Friends has made a difference to people’s lives – supporting wellbeing, creating meaningful connections, reducing loneliness and engaging more people in reading together for pleasure. Reading Friends had a powerful impact on communities – building social support networks, creating long-lasting connections and friendships.  

Graphic of person icon with sparkle near their head

71% of Reading Friends participants found increased confidence to try new things thanks to the programme

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68% of Reading Friends participants felt less lonely thanks to the programme

Resources

Reading Friends report 2022-23

The Evaluation report for 2022-23 details the difference the programme continues to make, working with public libraries. It has some lovely case studies of activities…

Reading Friends: creating connections in 2022/23

From 2022 to 2023, Reading Friends worked with 39 UK authorities and their delivery partners to make a positive difference to individual lives and whole communities – creating meaningful connections, reducing loneliness and improving wellbeing.

Photo of five young people sat at a table smiling and laughing. There are books on the table.

What is Reading Groups for Everyone?

Reading Groups for Everyone is the UK’s largest reading group network. Whether you’re already in a reading group, want to join one or looking to set one up, you’re in the right place.

Join today to discover your next great read, get free books to read and review before anyone else, enter competitions to meet authors and take part in great giveaways.

Who is it for?

Our reading group network is for everyone. The book clubs meet in all kinds of places and are made up of all kinds of people. The one thing they have in common is that they love reading and talking about books.

We know how important reading for pleasure is and the positive difference it makes to our lives. Reading groups are a great way to make friends, feel connected and empowered to try books you’d never have come across otherwise. 

94% of people felt more connected to others thanks to their reading group

Graphic with four people icons and two book icons

We hosted 7,873 reading groups across the UK in 2022-23

Resources

GollanczFest - digital assets

Gollancz is the UK’s #1 Sci-fi, Fantasy & Horror publisher, bringing you epic books by the likes of Brandon Sanderson, Victoria Aveyard, Patrick Rothfuss, Joe…

A blue graphic. In the middle it reads, 'BBC Blue Peter'. The words are surrounded by doodles.

Join the new Blue Peter Book Club!

Each month, presenters will showcase a new book and be joined by young readers to talk about the incredible stories, new worlds and fascinating characters they discover.

Photo of five young people sat at a table smiling and laughing. There are books on the table.

Share your reading group story

What impact does being in a reading group or book club have on you? Does it make you read more, or try different types of books? At The Reading Agency, we want to encourage reading groups to become active members of our reading community.

We believe reading has the power to transform lives and we can prove that it does.
Donate today to help us get more people reading.

Quick Reads 2024

6 new Quick Reads titles are out now!

https://youtu.be/Ol6aQ2zNFNQ

Quick Reads 2024 are short books and great stories by bestselling authors, written in an accessible and easy to read style.

Order your books for just £1 from Bookshop.org to support The Reading Agency and local bookshops at no additional cost to you, or get them at or your local library.

Kia Abdullah, Those People Next Door
(abridged) (HQ, HarperCollins)

ISBN: 9780008654344
Number of pages:
160

Welcome to your dream home… meet your new neighbours… and prepare for the nightmare to begin…

Book cover of Boys Don't Cry by Malorie Blackman

Malorie Blackman, Boys Don’t Cry
(abridged) (Penguin, Penguin Random House)

ISBN: 9780241688106
Number of pages:
144

The bestselling Noughts & Crosses author delivers a page-turning story of an ambitious A-level student Dante who unexpectedly finds himself carrying an enormous new responsibility.

Matt Cain, Game On
(Headline, Hachette)

ISBN: 9781035409730
Number of pages:
128

A media-averse footballer and a football-hating journalist discover a shared hidden passion – for each other – in this rollicking rom-com full of heart.

Book cover of Without Warning and Only Sometimes by Kit de Waal

Kit de Waal, Without Warning and Only Sometimes
(abridged) (Headline, Hachette)

ISBN: 9781035413683
Number of pages:
128

A poignant memoir painting a vivid portrait of cultural identity, family dynamics, and resilience in 1960s Birmingham.

Jo Nesbo, The Jealousy Man
(Vintage, Penguin Random House)

ISBN:
9781529928280
Number of pages:
112

Murder. Assassination. Revenge. A riveting and mysterious crime story, exploring the dark shadows of envy and betrayal.

Book cover of The Last Summer by Karen Swan

Karen Swan, The Last Summer
(abridged) (Pan Macmillan)

ISBN: 9781035029143
Number of pages:
128

Summer on St Kilda – a wild, remote Scottish island. Two strangers from drastically different worlds meet …

Read our Quick Reads 2022 evaluation report to find out more about the benefits of Quick Reads.

Take part in the World Book Night #ReadingHour from 7pm on 23 April and join people across the UK in dedicating time to reading on World Book Night. Find out more.

What is Reading Well?

Reading Well supports you to understand and manage your health and wellbeing using helpful reading.

Reading Well books are all recommended by health experts, as well as people with lived experience of the conditions and topics covered and their relatives and carers.

You can be recommended a title by a health professional, or you can visit your local library and take a book out yourself.

Find out more about Reading Well in Wales.

Photo of a stack of some Reading Well books on a table.

Partners

Reading Well is delivered by The Reading Agency in partnership with Libraries Connected as a core delivery partner for their Universal Public Library Health and Wellbeing Offer.

It is funded by Arts Council England, The Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport and Welsh Government.

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97% of young people would recommend their Reading Well book to a friend

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90% of health professionals surveyed said Reading Well books helped support people outside of consultation time


Get involved

Reading Well is part of the Universal Public Library Health and Wellbeing Offer. Download our delivery model for a guide to running Reading Well in your library.

You can also download specialist guides for other settings interested in getting involved with Reading Well: Schools, Parents and carers, Link workers and the health sector.

Other print materials supporting Reading Well, including user leaflets and posters, can be ordered from our online shop.

For more information, please get in touch.


We have lots of free downloadable resources to support you with promoting and embedding Reading Well.

Grief Awareness Week 2023: library toolkit

A toolkit to support libraries to get involved in Grief Awareness Week, 2-8 December 2023. The toolkit provides: • Helpful resources • Library display and…

Tell us what you think

Have you used a Reading Well book? We’d love you to fill in a short survey to tell us how you found it.

There are surveys for:

Adults
Young People
Children

The Reading Agency

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