When was the last time you read a book, or even a substantial magazine article? Most daily reading habits now a days center around tweets, Facebook updates, or the directions on the back of your easy-mac.
Growing up, reading was my THING. Everything you read fills your head with new bits of information that you never know when you’ll need. It may sound silly, but I just felt smarter with a book in my hand. Whether it be fiction or non-fiction, there are endless stories that can both broaden your understanding of the world or help you get through a sticking point in your life. Those who read have been known to have more finely-tuned brains than those who prefer more passive activities, so anyone hoping to improve their mind both psychologically and cognitively might want to think about taking up the habit of regular reading. There’s something about spending time with a book whether it be outside on a nice day or in your bed on a rainy one, that’s so therapeutic.
Here’s a list of some of my current favorite books i’ve finished, not in any order.
- A Stolen Life: A Memoir by Jaycee Lee Dugard
Honestly this book hit me hard. I had heard about the Jaycee Dugard kidnapping case but never really followed any of the details, and then I stumbled upon this book in the bookstore and just decided to pick it up and read the cover. I decided to get it, and ended up finishing it within like 24 hours. It’s a memoir written by Jaycee Dugard herself about the details of her kidnapping and what she’s learned from it. It has it’s cringe-worthy moments, but once you get through them it’s such an intriguing and inspiring story.
- When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi
This book I also half-heartedly picked up in the bookstore and decided to read, but it ended up being an AMAZING book. For someone who loves (or is obsessed) with Greys Anatomy, medical stories have always intrigued me. This is about a neurosurgeon that gets diagnosed with stage 4 terminal lung cancer, “who attempts to answer the question: what makes life worth living”. If you’re looking for a book that’ll make you more appreciative of life, this is definitely the one.
- Mere Christianity by C.S. Lewis
Gotta love him. But seriously, this book revolved around a very complex subject but it was written in such a perfect simplistic way. This book explores the existence of God, and was perfect for someone like me that never got the childhood bible study experience. After reading several books on a similar topic that did nothing but confuse me, I was glad that I came upon C.S. Lewis’s work. All of the other books about the existence of God are way off in their own world, and discourage anyone who feels lost in their ideas about God. This book really explained the reasons that God must exist, and then moved on to easily describe the major beliefs of Christians, without leaving anyone out in the cold on what the key issues actually are. This book is perfect for the agnostic, the atheist, and even the Christian that wants to know the logical and simple reasons that C.S. Lewis came to be a Christian. Over and over, his words made me see even the simplest concepts of religion in a completely new light. I was honestly impressed and have already read this book multiple times already.
- Room by Emma Donoghue
Because for some reason I have a weird thing for kidnapping stories. This book (and movie) were amazing. It’s very different from your typical novel because its written from the point of view of a five year old who has lived in the constraints of an 11′ by 11′ room his entire life, so it restricts you from knowing everything all at once. He has nicknames and phrases for everything in his life and you get to try and puzzle them all together while embarking on him and his mothers story. The tiny attention to detail paid to their room and Jack’s description of it, makes it an all too real and terrible place. It’s not really a plot-driven book, although I found my heart racing on several occasions, desperate to find out what happens which is why I could barely put it down. It is definitely a book that is difficult to write about with revealing spoiling for those who are yet to enjoy it (so i’ll stop here).
I once read (hehe) that we should read to increase our wit and imagination, our sense of intimacy–in short, our entire consciousness–and also to heal our pain. “Until you become yourself, what benefit can you be to others.” With the endless amount of perspectives and lives we can read about, books can give us an opportunity to have experiences that we haven’t had the opportunity to, and still allow us to learn the life skills they entail. I’ve read so many books that have completely changed me, and still to this day I’ll re-read them when I need a pick me up. Books are a fast rack to creating yourself.
Here’s a bit of food for thought: should you ever find yourself in dire circumstances, remember that although you might lose everything else—your job, your possessions, your money, even your health—knowledge and inspiration can never be taken from you.