Skip to content
More +

Reading Well for long term conditions

Pain Is Really Strange, How I Rescued My Brain, The Selfish Pig's Guide to Caring

The Reading Agency and Society of Chief Librarians have released a new list of Reading Well books for people with long-term conditions such as chronic pain, arthritis and diabetes.

The scheme, supported by Public Health England, the Royal College of General Practitioners and the National Association of Primary Care, aims to help library users who live with or care for someone with a long-term illness better understand and manage their conditions.


How to Feel Better: Practical ways to recover well from Illness and Injury, by Frances Goodhart & Lucy Atkins

"In days gone by, people understood that a knock to your health takes its toll on your emotions, your relationships, your morale, your 'spirit'. But these days, we think that if the doctor has waved you off, then you are 'better'. We neglect what scientific studies show is a vital element of recovery: the emotional side of getting better. As a result, many of us struggle with hidden issues such as depression, stress and anxiety long after a health crisis.

"This book centres on the crucial, research-based truth that 'getting better' is not just about the body - emotions play a huge part."

Self-management of Long-term Health Conditions, by Kate Lorig

"Filled with hundreds of proven tips, helpful suggestions and concrete strategies to deal with chronic illness, this book explains how to manage emotions and to live a productive life."


Fighting Fatigue: a practical guide to managing the symptoms of CFS/ME, by Sue Pemberton & Catherine Berry

"Chronic fatigue syndrome, or myalgic encephalitis, (CFS/ME) affects approximately 180,000 people in the UK. In addition to persistent and abnormal tiredness, sufferers commonly experience muscle pain, headaches, sleep disturbance and loss of concentration as well as a range of other symptoms. At its worst it can be completely disabling and yet it is still poorly understood and often regarded as purely psychological.

"This practical manual comes from a nationally recognized centre for the condition and is jointly written by health professionals and their patients. They give straightforward and specific expert advice, accompanied by real life stories, on managing different aspects of everyday life that can affect energy, and they show how to put this advice into practice."

Overcoming Chronic Fatigue, by Mary Burgess & Trudie Chalder

"Chronic fatigue syndrome is a seriously debilitating illness characterised by extreme exhaustion and severe flu-like symptoms. This text provides a breakthrough self-help treatment for this major health problem."


Manage Your Pain, by Michael Nicholas, Allan Molloy, Lee Beeston & Lois Tonkin

"The causes of chronic pain can range from a physical injury, arthritis or cancer, a neurological problem or environmental and psychological factors. Whatever the cause, the sufferer endures complete disruption to their life and excruciating pain that no drug can alleviate. Manage Your Pain can guide anyone towards taking the first steps on the path towards recovery from pain.

"Drawing on the authors' extensive experience and the latest research, Manage Your Pain explains the positive and practical ways in which you can adapt to chronic pain and minimise the impact it has on your life. The way forward is to understand that there is a pattern to the pain you suffer and that practical steps can be taken to return to normal life."

Pain is Really Strange, by Steve Haines & Sophie Standing

"Understanding pain is a very good way of relieving it. This engaging, funny, and highly original research-based graphic book explains the nature of pain and how you can effectively relieve pain by changing your mind's habits."

Sleep problems

An Introduction to Coping with Insomnia and Sleep Problems, by Colin Espie

"Poor sleep can have a huge impact on our health and wellbeing, leaving us feeling run-down, exhausted, and stressed out. This self-help guide explains the causes of insomnia and why it is so difficult to break bad habits. This updated edition gives you clinically proven cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) techniques for improving the quality of your sleep."

Mental health and wellbeing

Coping with the Psychological Effect of Illness: Strategies to manage anxiety and depression, by Fran Smith, Roboert Bor & Karina Eriksen

"Sudden, severe ill health comes as a shock and presents several challenges, most notably, loss of confidence. Suddenly people are afraid to take exercise, have sex or even go to the shops. Their entire self-image takes a battering, and this rollercoaster of uncertainty often leads to anxiety and depression. This book looks at the learning curve involved in sudden and chronic illness, and explores key ways to build psychological resilience during this time of challenge."

Mindfulness for Health: A practical guide to relieving pain, reducing stress and restoring wellbeing, by Vidyamala Burch & Danny Penman

"Mindfulness for Health reveals a series of simple practices that you can incorporate into your daily life to significantly reduce pain, suffering and exhaustion."


Arthritis: A practical guide to getting on with your life, by Chris Jenner

"This text helps readers manage arthritis by becoming an expert patient. It shows that much of the pain is unnecessary and focuses on the many ways in which arthritis can affect daily life before leading the reader through options available to relieve suffering."

Arthritis: Exercise plans to improve your life, by Paula Coates

"More than 10 million adults consult their GP each year with arthritis & related conditions. This book will show you how to include a simple fitness programme in your life, while considering the specific challenges raised by arthritis. You will soon see the improvements in your overall health and wellbeing."

Bowel conditions

Irritable Bowel Syndrome, by Udi Shmueli

"This title describes the science behind IBS, and the sophisticated techniques being used to understand symptoms such as bloating and pain. It highlights symptoms that can be suggestive of something more serious and what to do about them."

Irritable Bowel Syndrome: Navigating your way to recovery, by Megan Arroll & Christine Dancey

"IBS is an invisible disease - sufferers battle on pretending nothing is wrong and hiding their embarrassing symptoms. And it isn't life-threatening - so why would anyone take it seriously? Yet it can seriously restrict how we live, work and play.

"Based on their experience as both sufferers and health specialists, Dr Arroll and Professor Dancey provide the latest guidance on the causes, diagnosis and treatment, including the hugely significant part played by stress."

Go Your Crohn Way: a gutsy guide to living with Crohn's disease, by Kathleen Nicholls

"Go Your Crohn Way offers a frank account of life with Crohn's disease. Told with humour and honesty, Kathleen Nicholls' friendly understanding will help banish the feelings of isolation so often caused by chronic illness, and encourage you to be truly candid with the people who do need to know that you are not at all 'fine'."

Breathing difficulties

Asthma, by Mark Levy, Monica Fletcher & Søren Pederson

"Asthma is a very common condition, affecting people of all ages from infant to adult. It can be very dangerous, even fatal, if it is not taken seriously and properly treated, as it can flare up without warning. The authors of this book explain why this is so important and give answers to genuine questions raised."

Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD): The facts, by Graham P. Currie

"Primarily for sufferers and their families, this book describes in detail how COPD is diagnosed and covers tests and treatments that patients are likely to experience. It provides an up-to-date and informative guide to the disease and will help readers to understand the symptoms of this all too common lung condition."


Diabetes for Dummies, by Alan L. Rubin

"This guide to diabetes provides information on symptoms, treatment and diet plans. It includes questions to ask your GP, a range of special recipes, the top ten ways to prevent or reverse the effects of diabetes and where to get help online."

Diabetes: The facts, by David Matthews, Niki Meston, Pam Dyson, Jenny Shaw, Laurie King & Aparna Pal

"This is an easy to understand guide to diabetes aimed at all those living with the condition. It includes a short history of diabetes, causes, symptoms, possible complications, management (both of diabetes and the associated risk factors), psychological factors and what care to expect."

Type 2 Diabetes in Adults of All Ages, by Charles Fox and Anne Kilvert

"This book will tell the reader everything they need to know about type 2 diabetes. Topics covered include monitoring, medication, healthy eating, exercise, illness, smoking, travel, blood glucose levels, and managing hypogycaemia."

Heart disease

Heart Attack Survival Guide, by Mark Greener

"This title aims to help people at high risk prevent their first or subsequent heart attack as well as helping those who experience a heart attack get back to a normal life as soon as possible. It shows that by combining drugs and lifestyle changes can help you survive - and prevent - heart attacks."

Living with Angina, by Tom Smith

"This book explains the symptoms of angina, and describes how the heart works, and how it can go wrong. The author looks at how lifestyle and diet can affect the risks of developing angina, and describes how treatments work."

Understanding and Dealing with Heart Disease, by Keith Souter

"This book gives the basic information needed to understand coronary heart disease and, most essentially, how to deal with it."


Stroke: The facts, by Richard Lindley

"Stroke is the third most common cause of death and a major cause of disability in many countries, but most strokes are preventable. This book contains information the reader needs to understand why strokes occur and how to prevent future strokes. For those living with stroke, common problems and solutions are explored."

Rebuilding Your Life After Stroke: Positive steps to wellbeing, by Reg Morris, Malin Falck, Tamsin Miles, Julie Wilcox & Sam Fisher-Hicks

"The physical effects of a stroke are often the most obvious, and hospitals can offer medication and therapy to help alleviate them. However, the psychological consequences of having a stroke, such as memory problems or depression are often ignored. Written by a team of psychologists, this book provides learning tools and practical advice to aid in recovery from the psychological effects of a stroke."

How I Rescued My Brain: A psychologist's remarkable recovery from stroke and trauma, by David Roland

"How I Rescued My Brain is the story of David Roland's neurological difficulties and his remarkable cognitive recovery. It is also an account of a journey to emotional health and wellbeing."

Support for relatives and carers

The Carer's Handbook: Essential information and support for all those in a caring role, by Jane Matthews

"Jane Matthews gives valuable and comprehensive advice into the whole range of carer's situations, whether that involves shopping for a housebound neighbour, or giving up work to care full-time for a disabled child or confused parent."

The Selfish Pig's Guide to Caring: How to cope with the emotional and practical aspects of caring for someone, by Hugh Mariott

"Six million people in the UK provide unpaid care for disabled or elderly relatives or neighbours. Oddly, though they are by definition anything but selfish, they are prone to feelings of guilt, brought on by isolation and fatigue. This book explores what carers and others should know about caring."