10 Non-Fiction Books About Mental Health


For Mental Health Awareness Week (14-20th May), I thought I’d chat about 10 books about mental health that are on my wishlist, TBR, or that I’ve read.

Mad Girl: A Happy Life with a Mixed-up Mind by Bryony Gordon

Mad Girl is super accessible. It reads just like having a chat with Bryony over coffee about her OCD, and is really enjoyable and funny. Mad Girl does what I think we all should do: talk about mental health as if we were talking about the flu, honestly and without fear of judgement.

A Series of Unfortunate Stereotypes: Naming and Shaming Mental Health Stigmas by Lucy Nichol

I was sent a copy recently by Trigger Press as part of their mental health awareness campaign. As someone who deals with anxiety, Lucy discusses the ways in which mental illness is viewed, and tackles unfair stereotypes e.g. that people with mental illness are ‘narcissists’, ‘hypochondriacs’ and ‘psycho’.

Reasons to Stay Alive by Matt Haig

Matt Haig suffers from depression (like 20% of people) and Reasons to Stay Alive is his award-winning book on how he copes with the illness. It’s loved by many and one I hope to finally read this year.

A Beginner’s Guide to Being Mental: An A-Z by Natasha Devon

One for millennials, this is a guide to mental illness, from A (anxiety) to Z (zero f**ks given).

It’s All Absolutely Fine by Ruby Elliot

Ruby’s illustrations show what it’s like to suffer from all kinds of mental health issues: anxiety, bipolar disorder, self-harm, eating disorders, and depression. We all know that mental health needs to be talked about more, and I really do think that humour – visual humour especially – can be a great way to do it.

How to Survive the End of the World (When it’s in Your Own Head) by Aaron Gillies

If you don’t follow @TechnicallyRon on Twitter, do it now! He’s so hilarious and relatable, and I can’t wait to read his first book. He talks about the impact that anxiety has and gives readers some tools to fight back alongside his trademark humour.

The Time in Between: A Memoir of Hunger and Hope by Nancy Tucker

Nancy was diagnosed with anorexia and bulimia as a teenager and The Time in Between is her memoir of her experience and recovery.

The Self-Care Project by Jayne Hardy

Self care is something we all should do and I can’t wait to get my hands on this book, written by the founder and CEO of The Blurt Foundation, a charity that aims to increase awareness and understanding of depression.

It’s All In Your Head: A Guide to Getting Your Sh*t Together by Rae Earl

Aimed at teenagers, It’s All in Your Head is full of friendly advice, coping strategies and laugh-out-loud moments to get you through the difficult days written by someone who gets it.

Secrets for the Mad: Obsessions, Confessions and Life Lessons by Dodie Clark

A mix of doodles, poetry and prose all about self-care, mental health, life and relationships: “This is for the people with minds that just don’t stop; for those who feel everything seemingly a thousand times more than the people around them.”

Shelf Swap with Annalie Grainger


I love swapping book recs, so I’m asking one person each month to pick five books from my Goodreads shelves that they would like to read and five books from their own shelves that they think I might enjoy.

I’m happy to welcome Annalie Grainger, who is here to celebrate her newest book In Your Light, to Pretty Books for Shelf Swap!

5 BOOKS FROM STACEY’S SHELVES THAT ANNALIE WANTS TO READ

How Do You Like Me Now? by Holly Bourne
I’m a big fan of Holly’s teen books, especially her Spinster Club series, so I think I would enjoy this one. She’s such a funny, warm and smart writer. Her characters are always so real, and she captures the teen girl experience so perfectly. I’d love to see what she writes for an older audience. I’m sure it is equally brilliant.

This Book Will (Help You) Change the World by Sue Turton
I was sold on the title alone with this book! Like a lot of people, I’ve watched with increasing horror at what’s been going on in politics recently. I feel pretty let down by the people in charge but also overwhelmed about where to begin with trying to make a difference. How can one person make a change?! As such, I’d love to know what practical things I can do. As such, this sounds like the perfect book for me!

The Scapegoat by Daphne Du Maurier
I’m a huge fan of Daphne Du Maurier. Rebecca is one of my all-time favourite books, and I’ve read that this book shares many of the same themes. I love seeing an author’s writing develop, so I’d really like to read this book to understand more about how Du Maurier progressed through her career.

This Is Going to Hurt by Adam Kay
I read Do No Harm a few years back (see below!) and was fascinated by the ins and outs of a surgeon’s life. As such, I’m sure I’d enjoy this. Also I saw Adam Kay interviewed on TV, and he was very funny!

When Dimple Met Rishi by Sandhya Menon
This is billed as Eleanor and Park meets Bollywood, and I’m totally hooked already. I love a good rom-com, and this sounds like it’s going to be a great one.

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Harry Potter Merch Review: Magic Alley

A few weeks ago Nathan from Magic Alley – a UK-based online shop that sells official Harry Potter merchandise – got in touch to ask whether I’d like to review some of the magical products they sell. They sell everything from Butterbeer and Bertie Botts Every Flavour Beans to scarves and ties. I visited the Harry Potter Studio Tour back in December for Hogwarts in the Snow and coveted a few goodies from the gift shop but it being Christmas, I couldn’t really justify buying fun things for myself. So thank you, Nathan! I picked out a gorgeous Dobby the House Elf Wrist Watch (£24,85, currently £17.95 in the sale) and a Golden Snitch Necklace (£9.95).

I’m super happy with both the necklace and watch! I own a bunch of Ravenclaw stuff, but I wanted something that was pretty/delicate and that I could wear all the time. Let’s look at them a little closer…


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The last blog: an endless list of female awesomeness | Matt Killeen

I’m super excited to welcome Matt Killeen, author of Orphan Monster Spy, to Pretty Books. Matt has been on an epic blog tour all about his female heroes and this is the final stop. I’m currently reading Orphan Monster Spy and loving it. It’s like The Book Thief meets Wolf By Wolf (two books I adore), with an awesome protagonist you can’t help but cheer on.

I’ve written 17 of these blogs, each a celebration of the female fictional and historical heroes who have influenced me and the characters of my debut novel. There was one exception, where I talked about the children of the modern day UK who still suffer as Sarah, the heroine of Orphan Monster Spy, suffered.

It was never meant as an exhaustive list, just those that have touched my life the most. But now I find myself with one blog left and I’ve barely scratched the surface. Of the fictional women that spring to mind, there’s the titular titian (& sometimes green) haired genius Anne (with an ‘E’) Shirley and her tragical and ultimately royally beautiful life, puffed sleeves and all. Then there are the heroines of Elizabeth Wein’s Young Flyers trilogy. I could have written about the plucky Rose Justice navigating the horrors of Ravensbrück Concentration Camp, or Julie Beaufort-Stuart the SOE agent, suffering, confusing and defeating her Gestapo interrogation. I could write a book on the ways that the shadowless, shoeless September, The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making, is superior to the blinkered and imperialist Alice. I might even have attempted to introduce Bella Lind, the Captain of The Rockhopper from Alastair Reynolds’ Pushing Ice, who began as a glorified miner and through quiet determination became the basis for an intergalactic civilisation. Offred, Lyra, Arabel, Celie, Mildred Hubble, Anne Elliott…the list goes on.

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10 Books Everyone Loves That I Haven’t Read (Yet)


I saw Lucy’s (The Book Belle) video and I thought it’d be fun to share ten books that everyone’s read and raved about, but I haven’t read yet… my TBR pile is so ridiculously big!

Ready Player One by Ernest Cline

In the year 2044, reality is an ugly place. Ready Player One is out in cinemas at the end of March and the book will be spoiled for me if I don’t read it first. I bought a copy exactly four years ago – everyone was reading this sci-fi novel and even now, half a million Goodreads ratings later, people still rave about it.

The Secret History by Donna Tartt 

I guess this is a modern classic now, right? It sounds perfect for me – mystery, university setting, drama!

Life After Life by Kate Atkinson

On my bookshelves you’ll find both Life After Life and A God in Ruins. I’ve not read a book by Kate Atkinson and this feels like the best one to start with. I’m intrigued by the premise: What if you had the chance to live your life again and again, until you finally got it right?

Milk and Honey by Rupi Kaur

I’ve just finished The Sun and Her Flowers and cannot wait to read Milk and Honey. I’m not normally one for poetry, but I found that I could relate to many of her poems, especially about friendship and loneliness. I’ve seen this all over the interwebz for the past few months.

Loneliness is a sign you are in desperate need of yourself.

A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab

Again, fantasy isn’t a genre I usually seek out, but I’ve been to a few of V.E. Schwab’s panels and thoroughly enjoyed them – she seems like a lovely person and we share a love of Edinburgh. As a Londoner, I’m excited to check out the Shades of Magic series and discover four parallel Londons.

The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks by E. Lockhart 

I’ve read We Were Liars and have five more E. Lockhart novels to read – and The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks is one of them. A boarding school, secret societies and feminism? Yes please!

The Miseducation of Cameron Post by Emily M. Danforth

I bought my copy for the first ever Books Are My Bag campaign in 2013. It’s another one that has been adapted this year, so I better get my skates on! When Cameron Post’s parents die suddenly in a car crash, her shocking first thought is relief. Relief they’ll never know that, hours earlier, she had been kissing a girl.

The Dreamsnatcher by Abi Elphinstone  

Abi is one of my favourite middle grade authors… but I haven’t read any of her books yet! I went through a phase of reading younger fiction a little while ago. I haven’t read much recently, but The Dreamsnatcher is high on my middle grade TBR.

Reasons to Stay Alive by Matt Haig

Matt Haig’s popular non-fiction book was added to my bookshelves last year and I really ought to read it soon. It’s one of my aims (although not one I wrote down) to read and talk about mental health a bit more.

Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo

Yet another fantasy novel on my TBR! As a fantasy newbie, surely V.E. Schwab and Leigh Bardugo are the best to start with? (I’ve already read S.J. Maas!). I began the audiobook last year but found it difficult to stay focused, so I need to pick it up again – perhaps a readalong?!

Have you read any of these? 

(I also blogged about ten popular books on my TBR nearly 3 years ago and guess who still hasn’t read most of them?).