Books are an escape from reality! Do you feel that way when you dive into a new era, setting, and are surrounded by characters that just get you? I’m shocked, (not judgmental, promise!) when someone tells me that they haven’t read a book in years!
Maybe you got burnt out reading self-help books? Maybe it’s just that you haven’t taken the time? Did you know that reading reduces stress 68% more than listening to music, 100% more than drinking a cup of tea, 300% more than going for a walk and 600% more than playing a video game? According to a study done by the National Reading Campaign, reading a book is a great stress relief tool!
I’m going to give you a list of books that are sure to get your mind off the world’s current issues, and also help you relate to your own world! That’s called text to self, and it’s a powerful self-awareness tool. Taking just six minutes a day to read can significantly reduce stress. Pro-tip: reading doesn’t have to be scheduled.
Reading is the easiest thing to do when feeling overwhelmed, bored, or when you have lots of emotions that you can’t gather together.
Let’s set the stage: you’re out of ideas for dinner, your kids’ schoolwork took all the energy from you, you have 40 minutes to change out of your quarantine pajama uniform before a work Zoom call. What do you do? Scroll through Facebook or Instagram for a bit? Digest more gloomy dialect from the news? OR take the time to crack open a book while sitting in a chair? Funny thing happens when I open a book: the world goes silent!
Crack open one of these books and get lost for some moments. You just might be surprised to see the clock roll around for half an hour before you put a book down.
1. A Man Called Ove by Fredrick Backman: My Dad recommended this book to me the last time we met up at the library (I get my love of reading from him “making us” read for 30 minutes nightly). The book gets really weird as Ove is trying different ways to end his life, but it’s truly a book about community and coming together.
2. Writing Down Your Soul by Janet Conner: This is the only “self-help” book I will list. The author finds herself divorced from a traumatic marriage and in a tumultuous state. She deeply (and I mean weirdly) pursues the idea of journaling and how it helps her through a hard time. It’s an inspirational more than 5-step program to your best life.
3. The Carolina Heirlooms by Lisa Wingate: I listened to this series on Audible (more on reading audio books later!). The story lines intertwine in a mysterious way, taking you through all eras of America in the 1900s. Adoption abuse, modern day sister struggles, tragic hurricanes, and some good love stories are thrown in too.
4. Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens: You might have missed the train on this one during its height on the NYT Best Sellers list for 24 weeks at number one! The peach-covered sunset cover caught my eye and the story of a girl left to care for herself then on trial for murder kept me reading. Dive in and truly get lost here!
5. All the Pretty Things by Edie Wadsworth: This is a memoir worth reading because of how honest the author is about her unfair upbringing in the Appalachian Mountains. I didn’t really find myself relating to the author until the end and then went back to read it with a fresh set of eyes! It unravels losing everything, an alcoholic parent, poor upbringings, motherhood, love, and even fierce tenacity in setting your sights on a dream and seeing it through!
You can still get books cheaply and quickly even though the public library is closed and browsing bookshelves in a store is shut down at the moment.
- Kindle: You don’t have to have a Kindle Reader to read books. Just download the app to your phone. Then, on Amazon, login to purchase books and have them dropped right onto your device!
- Thrift: Man do I miss our local McKay’s! However, there are thrifty places to buy books online. Thrift Books is my favorite.
- Front porch pick up: Reach out on social media asking friends for book loans. You might discover something new about yourself and your friend.
- Audible: There is great debate between mom philosophers regarding whether “listening” to an audiobook is the same as “reading” a paper version. Absorbing, escaping, and learning is what happens when you read a book. Can’t it be the same with listening? If you’re intentionally listening to a book without doing anything else (find me on my front porch swinging with eyes closed!), the reducing stress component is still there as well!
- Library: The doors might be closed, but you can still check out library books or audiobooks digitally! A Mom friend shared with me that she liked using her library card information in the RBDigital app. It’s free to use — all you need is a library card!