Vintage launches Shelf Help campaign

Vintage launches Shelf Help campaign

Vintage is launching a year-long campaign this month called Shelf Help, encouraging people to pick up fiction and non-fiction instead of self-help books to help them feel better in 2014.

Shelf Help is a “literary alternative” to traditional self-help books, and consists of a list of 12 literary fiction and “serious” non-fiction including Stephen Grosz’s The Examined Life and Jeanette Winterson’s Why Be Happy When You Could Be Normal?

The campaign will be accompanied by live Shelf Help Sessions, a series of events in partnership with London arts venue Kings’ Place, where authors on the list will discuss the campaign and their own works.

Vintage’s campaign will launch on “Black Monday” 20th January, and literary journalist Alex Clark has curated the list of 12 Vintage-published titles, which also includes Andrew Solomon’s Far from the Tree, Richard Mabey’s Nature Cure, Sarah Bakewell’s How to Live, Tim Parks’ Teach Us to Sit Still, Deborah Moggach’s Heartbreak Hotel, Roger Deakin’s Waterlog, Julian Barnes’ Nothing to be Frightened Of, John Williams’ Stoner, Sebastian Faulks’ Human Traces and Edmund de Waal’s The Hare with the Amber Eyes. The titles will be spread over 12 months.

Vintage deputy publisher Rachel Cugnoni said: “We are always looking for new ways to inspire readers to discover our books. The success of two books in particular, The Examined Life and Stoner, displayed to us that we could offer readers a further list of books that explore the best ways to live a life.

“We hope that this year readers tempted by self-help books will instead turn to the wealth of literature this list offers them and that they will finish 2014 happier, wiser and more inspired to explore their lives.”

As well as the Shelf Help Sessions, which begin with a joint session between Grosz and Jeanette Winterson on Monday 13th January, a “wild swim” is planned for charity in summer for Waterlog.

The “bibliotherapy” trend has become a popular one: 2013 saw schemes including The Reading Agency’s Reading Well Books on Prescription, and the Guardian’s Shelf Improvement subscription service, which it launched in time for Christmas.

Alex Clark, curator of the Shelf Help list, said: “I firmly believe that books can improve our lives—not just as a sticking plaster to make us feel better, but as powerful spaces that can help us to expand the way we see and think about the world and ourselves.”