It’s World Book Day today, but this may be something that has escaped your notice if you’re not a parent as it’s predominantly the time of year children ask Mum and Dad to make a last minute Peter Rabbit costume. However, WBD is not just a day to dress kids up as a famous literary character, it is also a celebration of everything to do with books and reading.
Increasingly from adults I hear the same excuses about their lack of time spent nose-forward between the pages. ‘I don’t have time to read,’ or ‘I’m too tired after work,’ are all too familiar. I completely understand these; even I struggle to keep my eyes open to read a chapter of a book after a particularly stressful day managing expectations and a long commute. But I really do think World Book Day is just as important for adults as it is for children, not only does reading expose you to a whole world of knowledge but it also boosts brain power. Regular reading gives your brain a good work out and helps improve memory (so no more work surfaces covered with reminder post it notes) Recent studies have also shown that those who engage with reading or puzzles could be 2.5 times less likely to develop Alzheimer’s disease.
For me reading helps relax me, knowing that I can escape to a different place with exciting characters and gripping storylines, really helps me unwind after a stressful day. Also if you do something like read one chapter or a couple of pages before bed on a daily basis, your body will receive signals telling you it’s close to bedtime, which means you will sleep better. Although I must say that my Dr told me to avoid reading books on a Kindle or tablet as the light can affect the melatonin levels (this is the hormone that helps you sleep) so you’re best of sticking to a trusty paperback. Beside they smell better; weird I know but trust me.
I know reading can feel like a chore for some people, my husband has started reading a lot more since we have been together than he ever did. Often it can be people associate reading with school where you were forced to read certain books as part of your exam criteria, but guess what? We’re adults so YOU can choose exactly what you want to read. Saying that I think we all have that one (or five books) you read as a kid and absolutely adored. One of those books that is impossible to talk about without developing a cheesy Cheshire cat grin. It’s about getting that same level of excitement for reading again, that you had as a child but perhaps lost along the responsibility laden path to adulthood. Here are some books that have helped me, excited me and inspired me and you never know they may have the same effect on you too.
Matilda by Roald Dahl – I fell in love with this book as a child. Matilda’s passion for reading resonated with me so much, and it was the book that made me realise that it’s ok to be different. I think reading a book that meant a lot to you as a child is a great way to get in touch with your younger, more carefree self.
The Great Gatsby by F.Scott Fitzgerald – The book that kick-started my romantic fascination with one of the definitive authors of the Jazz Age. For me, this book has it all, unrequited love, an affair and tragic deaths. It’s not a lengthy novel so you could probably get through it in a few days even if you’re a slow reader.
To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee – Granted this was one I had to read as part of my English GCSE but I fell in love with it. Looking at the cruel world of racism and social segregation, through the eyes of a child, made this book even more powerful. Although Go Set a Watchmen wasn’t all I anticipated it to be, this book will forever remain on my top 5 books of all time.
The Martian by Andy Weir – I’ve always had a fascination of all things space so when someone recommended this book to me, I had to buy it. Following the story of Mark Watney who presumed dead by his fellow crewmates get left behind on the red planet. When Mark comes to he realises how dire his situation is and has to find a way to grow food and survive for four years. This book kept me gripped, so much so that I read it in a couple of days. It’s a page turner and in a refreshing twist, the film adaptation is a fair representation of the book.
If you have little ones then why not head on over to the official World Book Day website which is packed of full of ideas and resources to make it a memorable one. And if you’re an adult then why not get creative, have a literary themed dinner party and get your friends to come round dressed up and have an evening of dishes inspired by books (here’s how one blogger did it) You could even start a monthly book club with your besties with chocolate, wine or takeaway food, discussing your thoughts on the book or which characters you related to the most. Regardless of what you do this World Book Day, be sure to pick one up. In a world that’s bogged down with the need for instant results and technology there’s something rather delightful about escaping between the pages of a book.