Author and poet Sophie Sparham has launched her Books Not Booze initiative to contribute to tackling mental health issues through focus on reading.
Sparham, whose debut collection of poetry is due to be published in December, announced the scheme on her birthday earlier this week.
In a video posted to Facebook she described the idea as being about using reading to replace addictions, such as reliance on alcohol, to support health and mental health in particular. She’s undertaking the challenge herself with a year of sobriety, as she says, “you can’t read books when you’re razzle-dazzled.”
Intended to be used alongside other support for addictions, or as a means of cutting down rather than completely cutting out alcohol. She says it may also just be a way of finding support or motivation to read more, and make time for books in busy lives.
Sparham goes on to discuss the books she’s chosen for the year, including Robert Rankin‘s The Antipope, Margaret Attwood‘s The Handmaid’s Tale, William Burrough‘s Naked Lunch, Isobel Allende‘s Eva Luna, Rainbow Rowell’s Carry On, and Neil Gaiman‘s Norse Mythology.
While she’s aiming for a book a month she says the amount is up to anyone taking part – be that more or fewer books each month.
In an honest piece to camera Sparham discusses her own motivations for setting the challenge, including her own mental health over the last decade where she’s sometimes struggled with relaxing, slowing her thoughts and sleeping. She discusses how she’s used alcohol to help relax at times but now wants to find healthier ways.
Intending to blog at the end of each month and share her thoughts on the book and how the challenge is going she says she is feeling positive about the challenge, and is looking forward to an interesting year.
People have already commented with what they are planning to read and a group has been started on Facebook for more sharing and support – find it here.
Find Sophie Sparham: