Reading for Self-Care: Benefits and Recommendations

Written by: Julia

Edited by: Megh

Visual by: Sarah

When was the last time you picked up a book? 

For many, books have only been picked up due to English assignments – to be analyzed and reincarnated into the formulaic form of a PEEL paragraph. Reading outside of school has become a rarity in this ever-changing and incredibly fast-paced modern world, with the hobby often being pushed to the side in the pursuit of more stimulating activities. 

With the onset of COVID-19 and the rising epidemic of loneliness stemming from the lack of social interaction experienced by most around the globe, many search for an escape from our isolated lives. Relationships have been severed and travel has halted, which would normally expose one to unfamiliar corners of the world, has left individuals stuck in the seemingly never-ending cycle of life.. While many have resorted to binge-watching Netflix shows, quarantine baking, and mindlessly scrolling through social media, the opportunity to read books for fun has not yet been widely explored. 

The benefits of reading have long been touted by scientists; not only does reading benefit one’s academic endeavors, it can even improve more personal areas of life. According to Healthline, reading increases levels of empathy and reduces stress. Kill two birds with one stone: struggling to catch up in English, or needing to prepare for upcoming assignments? Reduce the stress that comes with looming deadlines (while still catching up on work) with a nice book! 

Eager to get started? BT has compiled a list of books spread across genres for you to find your perfect match!

  1. The Vegetarian by Han Kang

GENRE: Contemporary Fiction

The Vegetarian, by Han Kangis a Korean translated novel that has made its way into the shelves of millions of Anglophone readers. A chilling, contemplative and dark text, The Vegetarian transports its readers to the shadows hiding behind the glamorous skyscrapers of modern Seoul, exploring the battle between individuality and society and ultimately what makes us human. In addition, the Vegetarian is often taught in the IB curriculum, so reading the novel would also better prepare you for the journey through your junior and senior years! However, this book tackles some rather heavy topics such as mental illness, rape/sexual abuse, blood/gory images, so do read with discretion.

  1. Know My Name: A Memoir by Chanel Miller

GENRE: Memoir, Creative Nonfiction

Know My Name is an incredibly powerful memoir by Chanel Miller, tackling themes of individuality, trauma and resilience. Miller tells the story of her recovery from her sexual abuse on the Stanford campus in beautiful and authentic writing, providing readers with invaluable insights on the rising #MeToo movements and the many hardships faced by women in their daily lives.

  1. Scythe by Neal Shusterman

GENRE: YA Fiction

Scythe by Neal Shusterman is a young adult adventure novel set in the future where an immortal population must be controlled by artificial deaths. Suitable for not only a younger audience but rather accommodating to older readers, Scythe is one of those books that simply cannot be put down! Explore the realms of artificial intelligence as it begins to forever intertwine with human consciousness and the struggle of maintaining morality and humanity in an advanced world.

  1. Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell

GENRE: Nonfiction

For those in search of a more formal nonfiction novel, Outliers by Malcom Gladwell has often been established to be one of the best.Through a text outlining the success stories of “outliers”, or those who are incredibly successful and achieving, Gladwell both entertains and enlightens readers on some of the factors that contribute to these people being who they are.

  1. Homebody by Rupi Kaur

GENRE: Poetry

Award-winning poet Rupi Kaur’s third poetic masterpiece, Homebody, perfectly encapsulates the warmth and rawness of being a human. Known for her poetry that captures the essence of femininity and strength, Kaur’s Homebody is no exception. Poems about identity, self, spirituality, gender and even politics can be found in Kaur’s new collection: a must read, especially in these lonelier times.

The lack of social interaction and travel opportunities have left many feeling disconnected and trapped in their own worlds. Personally, my recent rendezvous with literature has allowed me to live vicariously in the gleaming South Korean metropolis, long days in the West Coast, and even in the future! I have been forced to question the workings of the world and our roles as humans in society. Over time, I discover bits and pieces of myself that I now realize are also shared by others, making me feel more comfortable and confident with what makes me, well, me. Hopefully you feel the same way after devouring a book that you simply cannot put down. Happy reading Bearcats!