As I mentioned over here, I paid a visit to The Mainstreet Trading Company today but was rushed through the bookshop by my family as they pointed out reasonably enough that (a) we were short of time, and (b) I had most of the shop's stock already ... anyway, I managed to get a snap of one of the fiction displays, and partially proving their second point, if you click the following titles you'll find posts which cover them in one way or another - Rook, Burnt Norton, After Flodden, Warpaint, The Bone Season.
More importantly, though, I picked up a leaflet about something which I thought was very interesting, and that is a new book group called Reading for Hope which will meet monthly at the shop beginning in October. It is for "anyone who is going through difficult times and is searching for new hope and meaning in life. The idea behind the group is that, through reading and talking about books which themselves try to find hope in the midst of difficulty, we might find some new ways of understanding and coping with some of life's challenges."
The group's first book will be The Music Room by William Fiennes (which coincidentally I bought in that very shop), and it's an inspired choice, I think, and a wonderful piece of writing which I summed up thus: "Lucid, restrained, accepting, tender - that's the mood of the piece, and it gives much to savour. If you're drawn to contemplative writing and to understated poignancy, then this essentially sad but ultimately uplifting book should touch and impress you, and will undoubtedly make you think."
The Music Room was one of my non-fiction books of the year last year, as was Will Schwalbe's The End of Your Life Book Club, another book which would help in difficult times. Can you offer any more ideas for 'therapeutic reading', or as the new group coins it, reading for hope? It would be good to hear your suggestions if you have any.