To mark World Book Day, we’ve been asking clients, Peer Mentors and staff about their favourite books.

For recovery advocate and former SHP client Kevin, reading is more than just a pastime – it is a meaningful and life affirming experience. During his recovery from substance use, he found that a book by Paulo Coehlo, Manual of the Warrior of Light, acted as inspiration and helped him to look at himself differently. Kevin said: “Manual of the Warrior of Light gave me a lot of insight into life. It inspired me to be a lot kinder to myself, especially when I was in early recovery.

“It really is a magical book and I would recommend it to anyone who is looking for a different view on self-love.”

We discovered from speaking to Peer Mentor Tony that reading also gives people a connection to their roots and their local area. Despite having lots of favourite books, the one that Tony finds himself coming back to time and again is The Fields Beneath by Gillian Tindall, which focuses on the history of Kentish Town.

Tony said: “Since I was tiny I have been obsessed with time travel. This book gave me an insight into what Kentish Town – where I have lived most of my life – was like and looked like over time. I can walk about and imagine how the streets looked in time gone by just by the clues that still exist today. A cobbled street, a bit of wall that looks out of place, or a few houses that still stand 200 years after they were built. It is the closest I can get to actually time travelling myself, and it still fascinates me.”

Reading The Fields Beneath started Tony’s passion for local history and fuelled his interest in his own family history. He added: “Your own family history shows many different types of people long since forgotten. But no matter how insignificant we may seem, we are all a part of history. And that’s pretty special.”

It is widely acknowledged that reading is an accessible activity with many benefits, from reducing stress to improving memory. Many of our hostels and offices have small lending libraries and clients are encouraged to borrow books.