Reading Recommendations

Books Can Help When Everything Feels Hard

Although chronologically, we are aware that the last two years have consisted of 24 months, physically and emotionally, we’re pretty sure that they have actually lasted 24 years. The fatigue seems longer-lasting, the winter weather feels darker and colder, and the stress of the pandemic has permeated every aspect of many of our lives. In hard times and in stressful times, reading does not solve all of our concerns and worries, but it can help. Here are some of the ways we are using books to get through this tough period.

I just can’t focus…how am I supposed to read?

Listen, we hear you. When our attention spans are exactly the length of one tik-tok video, we use these tips to get back into reading.

Picture books aren’t just for kids.

Reading something that is beautifully illustrated and has fewer words per page helps us to get our minds re-engaged. Check out some of our suggestions:

Try a new genre.

We tend to have go-to genres but when we are stressed or tired, we might try a new subject or type of book to engage our brains differently. Here are some picks by genre:

Switch how you are reading.

Perhaps you only read print books? Try to read an e-book or explore an audiobook. Or have you only read on a Kindle for the last couple of years? Try listening to an audiobook through your phone or pick up a print book through our curbside pickup.

Reread a favorite.

Our librarian Carri says, “I like to reread books I’ve loved in the past. Mostly giant fantasy epics or other series where I feel like I know the characters well.”

“Reading has been an escape for me — but I am choosing books that allow me to escape because that’s what I need right now.” – Crystal, Library patron

Stop the Scroll

Numerous studies have proven that the more time that we spend on social media, the more we tend to be anxious. We are too distracted by every notification on our cell phones, every text message vibration, or email alert. How many hours have you spent this week aimlessly surfing social media? We don’t want to incriminate ourselves but we’re pretty sure our weekly screen time report could be included as evidence in a trial on why our brains can’t stay focused on one task. Use these tips to help curtail your scrolling time (except the Library’s social media- you should definitely be following us).

  • Before bed, instead of logging onto social media to doomscroll, open up the Libby App and dive into an e-book instead of going down an anxiety rabbit hole.
  • Waiting in a line or before an appointment? Carry a book on you and instead of grabbing your cell phone, grab the book instead. We especially like to carry an e-reader on us since they give us endless possibilities for reading.
  • Swap out your internet browsing time for an educational app instead. Rebuild those lost foreign language skills with Mango Languages, build new skills with LinkedIn Learning, or watch a craft tutorial on Creativebug and then make it. All free with your library card.

“Reading is a learning adventure and escape. When I discover a new author and I really like them I read more of their books and then I also want to find out more about that author” – Theresa, Librarian

Books Can Help Us Feel and Help Us Start Conversations

Books can help us feel different. We turn to books when we want a good laugh or when we want a good cry. Books can help us to express the feelings that we want to feel but more importantly, they can help us to express the feelings that we need to feel.

Books can help us escape. When the days feel long and the wind chill is Arctic, escape to a sunny paradise or get lost on an island. Travel the world or explore a new galaxy without ever leaving your couch or treadmill.

Reading can help us start conversations with friends, family members, and medical professionals. If how you or a loved one is feeling right now is more than the pandemic-blahs, reading can be a way to start a discussion or go into a doctor’s appointment with more information. Reading helps us gain knowledge but also empathy. Here are just a few of the lists that the IndyPL staff has put together on health and wellness: