How many books are you reading right now? Maybe you have two or three books on your nightstand plus that page-turner you just picked up and can’t seem to put down. Reading books offers several health benefits that are worth noting.

The stress-relieving benefits of books

Books can take you away to another place and time, introduce you to new people and ideas, and provide a much-needed distraction from the challenges of everyday life. In fact, studies suggest there’s a measurable reduction in stress levels when we read books. One study suggests just 30 minutes of reading offers the same stress-relief benefits as 30 minutes of yoga or humour. Reading stimulates your imagination while igniting so many parts of your brain, essentially giving you a cognitive workout. When we try to imagine the facial features of our favourite character, and perhaps what their voice might sound like, we stimulate our imagination, which can help us to relax.

How we read today

There are so many options for how we read today, making it easier than ever for us to read at home and on the go. We can choose hardcover or softcover books, ebooks or audiobooks and may decide that certain genres suit one format more than another. The audiobook format is an especially good option when the book’s author narrates.

Book clubs offer readers an introduction to new books and new social connections while providing a healthy dose of mental stimulation and distraction.

Virtual book clubs keep us connected throughout the pandemic

During the pandemic, many of us attended virtual book clubs and we looked forward to them more than ever to distract us from gloomy news reports and keep us connected with others. The Bright Spot launched its first virtual book club in May 2020 and continues to offer its virtual book club, the Author Spotlight, on the last Monday of every month.

Recently, the Author Spotlight featured Canadian writer Dennis Bock. Dennis discussed and answered questions about his latest book, The Good German. Participants heard about his sources of inspiration and got insights into his writing process. Participants are encouraged to read the book ahead of time but can just drop in to listen to the conversation.

Whether you read on your own, are part of a book club, or have joined The Bright Spot’s Author Spotlight we hope you will continue to ignite your brain with books!