Books for Tough Days, Good Days and Everything In Between

We all are a sucker for fantasy and fictional reads, but I would be lying if I said that I dont have a soft spot for non-fiction books. Particularly, the mental health category has always attracted my attention. We dont have to dive more deep or outside to realise that it has been a harsh couple of years for the world. So , as we embark on this years mental health awareness month, May 2024, I have curated a list of books for you to read this month and perhaps the entire year. These books are a mix of solid advice to the experiences of a therapist to knocking down everything that happens in therapy and why everyone needs more help than they think they do. It will open your minds and give you an insight to people, their grief and how they dealt with it.



 By- Meg Mason

Having been shortlisted for the prestigious Women’s prize for fiction in 2023, This book really did stir the market worldwide. It got praises everywhere, from critics to tik tok readers. Sorrow and bliss is a story quiet literally of the sorrowful and blissful life of Martha. Martha is dealing with a mental illness, one that hasnt really been specified but one could make it it is schizophrenia. The book has been told in first person and is an exquisite portrayal of what goes on in the minds of the mentally ill. It might be centred around Martha and her mind but all the relationships that she has or has had have been given their own unique personality which makes reading this book a phenomenal experience. It is not just about the ‘patient’ but also about an army of people it takes to make them. Martha has not had a very perfect life, like most of us. She is struggling in her second marriage and is still quite haunted by her parents and her chaotic past. She has one support though, Ingrid, her sister who seems to understand her, mostly but has a very different life from Martha, one with her own children and a seemingly happy family. It is a book worth reading for its intricacies and its beautiful weaving of relations.



 By- Jerry Pinto

The fact that this book has come from India, makes it all the more special to mention in this list. It is one of the best books you will read about depression and the care that depressed souls offer. Poignant, a word excessively used for every other book you pick up, then there’s this one, which does complete and utter justice to the word.

It’s dark, touching, heartbreaking, mind boggling, staggering, ugly truth. The ugly truth about mental health , it’s survivors and carers. This book makes depression HUMAN. It makes Madness HUMAN.

The book has been written from the perspective of a teenage boy who is a part of a family of four , The Mendeses. The mother , Em is clinically diagnosed with depression of the manic kind. She tries to take her life three times , while the rest three TRY to hold their family together.

It gives you an insight on what carer’s go through and how the meaning of MAD, a word so commonly misused in every corner of the world has a completely different meaning for someone dealing with madness.

“Depression means nothing more than the blues, commercially packaged angst, a hole in the ground; until you find it’s black weight settled inside your mother’s chest, disrupting her breathing, leaching her days, and yours, of colour and the nights of rest.”

You know there are some books you read, and forget. Then there are books that stay with you, reminding you, the letters automatically join up in your head, you are reminded time and again of the audacity of a simple activity, called reading. It’s audacity to completely change the way you perceive humans, human conditions and human behaviour. It changes YOU.



By- Frederick Backman

How many times have you thought about a stranger? “Perhaps we hurried past each other in a crowd today, and neither of us noticed, and the fibers of your coat brushed against mine for a single moment and then we were gone. ”

What if 9 strangers are locked up in an apartment , each with their own traumas and pasts ?Locked up in a hostage situation, the hostages and the hostage taker have absolutely nothing in common apart from their crippling anxieties.

Sometimes people do bad things but that doesn’t make them bad at being human, right?So did our protagonist, The Bank Robber aka The Hostage Taker ,who was anything but these two.This isn’t a story about a bank robbery or even a hostage drama. This is a story about love, loss, heartbreak, adulthood, pizzas and a ton of consternation.

Frekrick Backman has a way with his storytelling. He talks about subjects like trauma, loss and death , yet he does it with such alacrity and mediocrity that it almost feels alright to have experienced those. You’re only human to have experienced those right?This book changed my perspective of strangers. It told me it’s okay to judge someone but thinking your judgement will always be right, might be a mistake.It told me to have a heart and feel feelings and to Plant an apple tree, Even if the world is ending tomorrow.



By- Lori Gottlieb

If you are looking for a beautiful analysis by a pcychotherapist of her patients stories , then this is the book for you. Therapy has been a taboo topic since centuries and even now, people cant seem to differentiate between a mental illness and a psychiatric problem. In a world like this we are subjected to a bunch of Gottlieb’s patients and their stories, some less daunting than the others while some more. All of these patients are dealing with something big or small in life along with our therapist who has just gotten her heart broken. It is therapy in the form of book , so have said the gigantic number of fans of this book. In this memoir the author gets personal and gets down. She has woven the book in a very poignant manner, one that is bound to overwhelm you and make you emotional. Even if you have nothing to relate to with the patients and their problems , you will still find it quite relatable the way they embarked on their transformational journey. It is a book about therapy and is therapy for both patients, readers and therapists.



 By- Satoshi Yagisawa

This Japenese bestseller tells a story of love, fresh starts, and the solace that comes from reading a good book.

Takako, 25, reluctantly accepts her uncle Satoru’s offer to live rent-free in the tiny room above his shop after learning that he is getting married to someone else.

A haven for bookworms, the Morisaki Bookshop is tucked away in Tokyo’s Jimbocho neighbourhood. On a quiet corner in an old wooden building, the shop is filled with hundreds of second-hand books.Satoru has dedicated his entire life to the bookshop since his wife left him five years ago; it is his pride and joy.

With the intention of healing her heartache peacefully, Takako is taken aback to discover entirely new realms among the book stacks that line the store.

And as summer fades to autumn, Satoru and Takako discover they have more in common than they first thought. The Morisaki bookshop has something to teach them both about life, love, and the healing power of books.

Quirky, beautifully written, and movingly profound, Days at the Morisaki Bookshop will appeal to readers of Before The Coffee Gets Cold, The Cat Who Saved Books, and anyone who has had to recover from a broken heart.

By Dr. Vatsala Kaushik