What books help Miles Kelly staff beat the blues?

February 12, 2016

Our ‘A Book a Day to Keep the Blues Away’ half term campaign has got everyone at Miles Kelly thinking about what books keep their blues away, especially during the grey and dismal days of winter. If you’re in need of a little reading inspiration for a cosy night in, you may find some books to cheer you up from the Miles Kelly staff’s personal book recommendations.

Fran, Senior Editor, beats the blues with... My reach-for book is I Capture The Castle by Dodie Smith. I read it any time I need cheering up, because it’s a simple but unique story, beautifully told and with magically vivid descriptions. I deliberately didn’t see the film because the people, places and events are so clear in my mind that I didn’t want to see how someone else has envisaged it! To sum it up in Dodie Smith’s words: “You lose yourself in something beyond yourself and it’s a lovely rest.”

Sandra, Sales Manger, beats the blues with... I love to re-read The Enchanted April by Elizabeth Von Arnim. I’ve also got it on old-fashioned video and love to watch it as it stars Joan Plowright, Miranda Richardson and Josie Lawrence to name but a few. It begins with A notice in The Times addressed to ‘Those who Appreciate Wisteria and Sunshine’, which catches the interest of Mrs Wilkins who then advertises for companions to take a month-long holiday on the Italian Riviera in a small medieval castle. It’s a lovely gentle read that never fails to cheer me up.

Claire, Senior Editor, beats the blues with... I have read and re-read Harry Potter over the last ten years and often turn to it if I’m feeling the Monday blues! It never fails to provide complete escapism, and because I read the first one when I was an early teen, it’s comforting too.

Ruth, Foreign Rights Director, beats the blues with... A classic book I read over and over again would be Anna Karenina. I first read it whilst I was studying in St. Petersburg where a lot of the novel is set so I have always felt a great affinity to the book. Since then I have read it nearly every year and I am now on my third copy as the previous two fell apart from overuse. This time I’ve gone hardback. It’s one of the greatest novels ever written and focuses on the doomed love affair of Anna Karenina – a married woman, and Count Vronsky. As well as the affair it covers all the great themes – wealth, oppression, social class, morality and the examination of the feudal system in Russia. It also details how there is a double-standard for men and women and has one of the greatest opening lines of any book: ‘All happy families are alike; each unhappy family is unhappy in its own way’. It’s epigraph is: ‘Vengeance is mine; I will repay’.

Jenni, Senior Reprographics Artist, beats the blues with... One of my favourite classics is Jane Eyre, Charlotte Brontë – I love it! I fell in love with it after watching the televised version, it was something like a six-part drama. This was about 10 years ago, running up to Christmas. I just love the way the story changes again and again, then ends up just the way you want it to! Oh and I’m such a romantic!

Sarah, Senior Editor, beats the blues with... This Christmas I completed my collection of all seven Harry Potter audio books – I’m so excited! My mum bought me the first one about ten years ago, not realising that it would lead to a full collection! I always listen to them and they never fail to keep the blues away. The combination of Harry Potter and Stephen Fry’s voice is… magic!

And finally… Rosie, Editorial Director, shares her whole week’s book prescription...

1. For when you want to forget your own problems by immersing yourself in those of others:
Elizabeth Jane Howard: The Cazalet novels
The characters in these four novels are so finely drawn you’ll be completely absorbed.
2. For when you feel like winter will never end:
Gerald Durrell: My Family and Other Animals
Wildly funny account of life on a beautiful, sunny, nature-filled Greek island.
3. For when real life is just a bit dull:
Catherine Gildiner: Too Close to the Falls
Possibly the most unusual memoir you’ll ever read, about the childhood of a precocious little girl growing up near Niagara Falls in an eccentric family. 
4. For when you crave a bit of beauty:
Donna Tartt: The Goldfinch
Stunning writing paired with a nail-biting plot to keep you hooked.

5. For when you need a bit of fun:
Nina Stibbe: Love Nina
Described by The Bookseller as “Adrian Mole meets Mary Poppins mashed up in literary north London”. You will laugh, a lot.
6. For when you’re feeling lonely:
Jane Austen: Sense and Sensibility
Much more than a will-they won’t-they romance, it’s full of dry humour, wry observations and is a wonderful depiction of the relationship between two sisters.
7. For when only pure escapism will do:
Philip Pullman: His Dark Materials trilogy
Two of the bravest characters you’ll meet in children’s literature, in three stories featuring armoured bears, beautiful witches, and a knife that can cut between realities. 



What books keep your blues away? Let us know in the comments section below or on Facebook and Twitter using the hashtag #ABookADayToKeepTheBluesAway.


Want to win a #ABookADayToKeepTheBluesAway for your children this half term? Find out how here.