I'm delighted to share a post from guest blogger Julia Rice to encourage you to pick up a book (or two) over the Christmas holidays. Julia attended a Blogging masterclass I delivered in late November and was inspired to write this piece following the session. I think it's a brilliant read (excuse the pun!) and it's certainly inspired me to finally pick up my copy of 'The Million Dollar Blog' by Natasha Courtenay-Smith, which has been lurking at the foot of the bed for a few weeks. Follow the link to Julia's website 'My Family and other Books' for some fantastic last-minute Christmas present ideas. Happy reading!
Take it away Julia...
As a book blogger, I make it my business to read. Usually I spend about an hour a day reading. I feel so lucky that I have an excuse to do this! I was a passionate reader from quite a young age and although there have been periods of my life when I have had less time or inclination to read (when my kids were very young, for example) I am finding increasingly that not only is it something I want to do, but reading is something I NEED to do. If I don’t read for a few days I am irritable and feel that I’ve had no downtime. And in my household, as in many others no doubt, if Mum’s not on top form then the whole family foundation begins to wobble!
It is scientifically proven that reading is good for you. For children, the benefits are obvious, improving vocabulary and literacy skills as well as expanding general knowledge. For adults, did you know that reading improves memory and the brain’s capacity to focus and concentrate? It also enhances writing ability and is a fantastic stress reliever. What’s not to love!
There is no excuse not to read. Walk into any bookshop and you can find a vast range of titles in so many different genres, short or long, and there are graphic novels for grown-ups if you prefer your books with pictures. Nowadays, there is also a huge non-fiction range available on any topic you care to imagine. We are literally spoilt for choice.
Reading is also possibly the cheapest hobby there is, with most charity shops keeping a healthy book section. Or what about reviving your membership of the local library where you can borrow books for free (as long as you return them on time!). Again, what’s not to love!
Most people I know enjoy reading (my teenager excepted, who has to be cajoled!), but many people just get out of the habit, particularly at this time of year, when we are all so busy. I know my hour a day is curtailed frequently at the moment. If that sounds like you, then Christmas could be the time to reconnect with reading. The longer, darker, colder evenings were made for curling up with a book. Most parents would, I think, prefer their children to be reading rather than on their tablets, and modelling desired behaviours is a great way to get them back into books. You could even instigate a family ‘quiet time’ where everybody reads.
You could start small, maybe just 10 minutes a couple of times a week, and I guarantee it will increase.
And books are THE perfect gift; they’re relatively cheap (most books are under a tenner), can demonstrate that you’ve really thought about the person you’re buying for, and you can personalise with a nice message. They’re dead easy to wrap as well! On my book review blog myfamilyandotherbooks.com I have been posting recently about ideas for books to give for Christmas so for a few suggestions pop along to my site.
It’s very easy to buy books online, of course, and often at quite a discount, but nothing quite beats the pleasure of a bookshop. If, like me, you are passionate about small and independent businesses and keeping our town centres thriving, then look for an independent bookshop near you and use them.
Books are good for your physical health
Books are good for your mental wellbeing
Books make you cleverer
Books are cheap
Books make excellent gifts
What’s not to love!