“A room without books is like a body without a soul.”
— Marcus Tullius Cicero
As a book lover, I cannot imagine a room, a house, a journey or even a phone/tablet without books. It’s the first thing I look forward to packing in my handbag and/or storing on my phone when I am going on a journey. It’s the only thing that gives me solace and a homely feeling when I am in a new place. Even if it’s just a magazine, a borrowed book or an old re-read, I need to have something to read.
When I see a book in someone’s hand or a bookcase full of books in someone’s home, there’s an instant connection with another book lover without having to say anything, even if they do not share similar tastes in reading material. In my younger days, I have been known to sleuth around (read: snoop around) looking for books in people’s homes and reading them cover to cover. I am not proud of it but neither do I regret it.
A book is the perfect cure for many maladies. Bibliotherapy, a term first coined in 1916, is a growing branch of alternative healing which prescribes reading literature as a way to cure mild depression and act as a supplement for severe depression. According to a research conducted by the University of Liverpool in 2010, reading is a therapeutic way of managing depression and increasing well-being. I am not surprised. Books have got me through some terrible times and I cannot deny their miraculous powers. Reading an empowering book seems to make problems seem less significant and easier to get through. I have talked about a book that personally changed my life here.
If suffering from insomnia, a book in bed is the safest drug. Try staying awake after reading a few pages or chapters of a book which does not excite but calms the senses and you’ll find it’s almost impossible. Reading can also help reduce stress levels by about 68% as reported by a research study conducted by the University of Sussex in 2009.
As a much younger bibliophile, an activity that always used to bring a sparkle to my eyes was going to the library. My friends had a permanent home there and I could even bring them home for a few days. Before you think I am being over dramatic, there’s a significant relationship between visiting the library and happiness. The UK Department for Culture Media and Sport conducted a study in April 2014 and found that visits to the library were found to be one of the positive reasons for life satisfaction and well-being.
Reading may have lost importance in the past decade in favour of new media but it’s certainly time to bring quality reading material back in fashion. A good book is a permanent companion who will never leave your side.
Other Reading Sources:
- Book clubs, ‘biblio-Rx’ keep printed word alive, The Japan Times, January 2015
- To Cure What Ails You, Bibliotherapists Prescribe Literature, NPR, September 2015
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