Reading Well is a partnership of Libraries, the Reading Agency and the Wellcome Trust. It is intended to promote the benefits of reading for health and wellbeing and has two strands: Books on Prescription and Mood-boosting Books. Richmond upon Thames Library Services takes part in the programme and has the titles available to borrow.

The intention of the scheme is to help people manage their own health and wellbeing through self-help reading. The books can be recommended to patients by their GPs or other health professionals but people can also self-refer to the scheme and use it without a professional recommendation. The books are available in almost all English public libraries and can be borrowed free of charge. The books have been recommended by experts; they have been tried and tested and found to be useful.

Wellcome Book Prize 2017 shortlist

The Wellcome Book Prize is a project of the Wellcome Trust and is an annual prize for new works of fiction or non-fiction engaging with the topic of medicine, health or illness regardless of genre. This year’s shortlist contains two fiction and four nonfiction titles.

  • How to Survive a Plague by David France is the story of how activists and scientists tamed AIDs.
  • When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi is the story of a young neurosurgeon diagnosed with inoperable cancer.
  • Mend the Living by Maylis de Kerangal (translated by Jessica Moore) is the inside story of a heart, while
  • The Gene by Siddhartha Mukherjee relates the history of  discovering the human genome.
  • The Tidal Zone by Sarah Moss  is about a family coming to terms with the looming threat of idiopathic exercise-induced anaphylaxis.
  • I Contain Multitudes by Ed Yong is an exploration of the tens of trillions of microscopic microbes that inhabit our bodies and hold the key to understanding life on earth.

All of these titles are available to borrow from the library and are also listed on our Pinterest page.

You can find out more about our participation in the Books on Prescription scheme on our website You can also download the Books on Prescription leaflet(pdf, 650KB) for more information about the scheme and details of what to do next. A Books on Prescription Guide for health professionals(pdf, 244KB) is also available.


[Elaine McClelland, Library Assistant]