Why, How, and What I Read for Pleasure
Sometimes you need to take a break and relax with a great book. Even if you love to read as I do, sometimes you might need a little extra push and some encouragement to take a break from your work- or maybe you need some suggestions on what to read. That’s what this post is all about.
Reading for pleasure is a great way to recharge. Your productivity will improve with regular times of rest, reading, and relaxation.
“Rest time is not waste time. It is economy to gather fresh strength. It is wisdom to take occasional furlough. In the long run, we shall do more by sometimes doing less.” –Charles Spurgeon
As I said, I love to read, and sometimes it feels like I’ve always got a book in my face- but it used to be that most of my reading was related to work and/or study. I’ve made a point of including more fictional literature (books that are strictly for enjoyment) over the past few years, and my life is all the better for it.
What was the last book you read for pleasure? If you can’t remember, it has been too long.
Here are four benefits to reading that are backed by science:
1. Reading helps relax you.
A 2009 study at the University of Sussex showed that reading was the most effective way to overcome stress (compared to other traditional relaxing activities such as t.v viewing, taking a walk, etc.). This was evaluated using heart rate and muscle tension.
2. It helps keep your mind sharp
According to the journal, Neurology, a study with 294 participants found that those who died at an average age of 89 and engaged in mentally stimulating activities such a reading experienced slower memory decline than those who didn’t.
3. It may help you sleep better
Many sleep experts recommend a good book with a dim bedside light over the bright lights of a laptop.
4. Reading fiction can make you more empathetic
This is according to self-reported empathic skills of a group of fiction readers in a several studies like THIS one.
And here are five methods I use for finding and keeping track of the books I want:
1. Public libraries: Just go in for a browse or take advantage of the online catalogue where you can reserve the books you want. You’ll get a notice when they’re in and then you can pick them up, easy peasy.
2. Amazon: You can often get used books on Amazon for a penny + 3.99 shipping. Also, Amazon wish lists are a great way to keep track of the books people recommend to you (even if you plan on picking them up at the library).
3. Pinterest has a wealth of pins that are book lists, for any genre. If you like historical romance, you might want to follow THIS board I recently created.
4. A reading journal is a fun way to keep track of the books you’ve read so you can recommend them to others, remember which authors you enjoy, and feel a sense of accomplishment as you add titles.
5. Start a book club: A book club is a wonderful excuse to get together with friends and enjoy some reading time.
My book club was just three ladies. We all had young kids at the time. It was our way of assuring that we’d get some time to spend together. Our monthly book club was a regular date on the calendar that I always looked forward to. We met at coffee shops and we took turns choosing the books. Our meetings usually lasted for hours but the book discussions were only a small part. Truthfully, there were some times when we never even got around to discussing the book. We were happy to just have time to chat and have a break away from our responsibilities.
Some of my favorite books were ones that my friends picked out, titles that might have never chosen myself.
All books listed below use Amazon Smile links which benefit Compassion International. This means, at no extra cost to you, a small portion of each sale will go to children in need.
Boys in the Boat by Daniel James Brown
The Star Shine Bright (and any of the Raleigh Harmon series) by Sibella Giorello
The Mitford Series by Jan Karon
Unbroken, By Laura Hilldebrand
Gilead, by Marilynne Robinson
Lilac Girls, by Martha Hall Kelly
What Alice Forgot, by Liane Moriarty
Redeeming Love, by Francine Rivers
The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society, by Annie Barrows
Where’d You Go, Bernadette, by Maria Semple
COFFEE TABLE BOOKS:
Elements of Style, by Erin Gates
Domino: The Book of Decorating, by Deborah Needleman
The Nesting Place, by Myquillyn Smith
Paris Street Style, by Isabelle Thomas
Paris in Color, by Nichole Robertson
Humans of New York, by Brandon Stanton
Vogue Living: Houses, Gardens, People, by Hamish Bowles
Apples for Jam: A Colorful Cookbook, by Tessa Kiros
Eloise: The Ultimate Edition, by Kay Thompson
Steve McCurry: The Iconic Photographs, by Steve McCurry
The Circle Maker, by Mark Batterson
The Gifts of Imperfection, by Brene Brown
The Jesus I Never Knew, by Philip Yancey
Undaunted Courage, by Stephen E. Ambrose
The Broken Way, by Ann Voskamp
The Magnolia Story, by Chip and Joanna Gaines
Simply Tuesday, by Emily P. Freeman
Love Does, by Bob Goff
Encounters with Jesus, by Timothy Keller
And because I love you, here’s a recipe for a drink called London Fog, the perfect companion to an afternoon of reading.
I have a couple more book recommendations to add…some brand new books that I can’t leave out because they’re both so good!
Wild Hope, by M.E. Weyerbacher (small town romance, fiction).
The Glass Bottom Boat, by Laura Thomas (romance and suspense, fiction).
In the comments, let's talk books! Tell us your recommendations.