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5 Books to give a read on your down time this season

5 Books to give a read on your down time this season

Life can get busy during the Spring time; there’s hard deadlines and fast-paced workplaces, and everyone is trying to get ahead before their Summer plans. Sometimes it feels like there’s no room for down-time in your schedule except for sleep — this is not true. There should be at least one thing to do that helps wind down the mind and body. Reading is one of the best ways to wind down and signal to your brain that it’s time to relax. If you are looking for suggestions, here are five books, both fiction and nonfiction, to read this season.

  1. Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens 

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“For years, rumors of the "Marsh Girl" have haunted Barkley Cove, a quiet town on the North Carolina coast. So in late 1969, when handsome Chase Andrews is found dead, the locals immediately suspect Kya Clark, the so-called Marsh Girl. But Kya is not what they say. Sensitive and intelligent, she has survived for years alone in the marsh that she calls home, finding friends in the gulls and lessons in the sand. Then the time comes when she yearns to be touched and loved. When two young men from town become intrigued by her wild beauty, Kya opens herself to a new life - until the unthinkable happens.” 

Reading this novel on Summer nights I felt like I was in the story itself. Owens writes with beautiful imagery and never skips an opportunity to make the reader feel emotionally attached. If it’s hard for you to get interested in a novel, you won’t have trouble with this one!

2. Bless the Daughter Raised by a Voice in Her Head by Warsan Shire

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“With her first full-length poetry collection, Warsan Shire introduces us to a young girl, who, in the absence of a nurturing guide, makes her own way toward womanhood. Drawing from her own life, as well as pop culture and news headlines, Shire finds vivid, unique details in the experiences of refugees and immigrants, mothers and daughters, Black women and teenage girls. In Shire’s hands, lives spring into fullness. This is noisy life, full of music and weeping and surahs and sirens and birds. This is fragrant life, full of blood and perfume and shisha smoke and jasmine and incense.” 

Shire, Somali British writer, allows the readers to change their point of view through her lines of art. If you’re looking for an astonishing, educational read, start with this one; poems can be a lighter read with a deeper message. 

3. Activities of Daily Living by Lisa Hsiao Chen 

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“A searching, sharply observed debut novel on the interconnection between work and life, loneliness and kinship, and the projects that occupy our time. How do we take stock of a life—by what means, and by what measure? This is the question that preoccupies Alice, a Taiwanese immigrant in her late thirties. In the off-hours from her day job, Alice struggles to create a project about the enigmatic downtown performance artist Tehching Hsieh and his monumental, yearlong 1980s performance pieces. Meanwhile, she becomes the caretaker for her aging stepfather, a Vietnam vet whose dream of making traditional Chinese furniture dissolved in alcoholism and dementia.” 

With the increase in hate crimes against Asian Americans, now is the best time to be supporting them. Chen is vulnerable with her work, showing readers of all kinds that we all have similarities. 

4. Atomic Habits: An Easy & Proven Way to Build Good Habits and Break Bad Ones by James Clear

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“If you're having trouble changing your habits, the problem isn't you. The problem is your system. Bad habits repeat themselves again and again not because you don't want to change, but because you have the wrong system for change. You do not rise to the level of your goals. You fall to the level of your systems. Here, you'll get a proven system that can take you to new heights.”

If Habits 365 was a book, it would be this one. Clear does a great job breaking down each of our bad habits, and instead of sticking to that, he gives solutions to turning them into healthy ones. If you want a book that will give you hints of inspiration, this is a great one to start with. 

5. The Motivation Myth: How High Achievers Really Set Themselves Up to Win by Jeff Haden 

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“It's comforting to imagine that superstars in their fields were just born better equipped than the rest of us. When a co-worker loses 20 pounds, or a friend runs a marathon while completing a huge project at work, we assume they have more grit, more willpower, more innate talent, and above all, more motivation to see their goals through. But that's not at actually true, as popular columnist Jeff Haden proves. "Motivation" as we know it is a myth. Motivation isn't the special sauce that we require at the beginning of any major change. In fact, motivation is a result of process, not a cause. Understanding this will change the way you approach any obstacle or big goal.”

Another nonfiction novel is Haden’s motivational read. Habits are created from change, and in order to change you need that motivation. This applies to everyone: athletes, students, parents, even artists. If you have a hard time getting away from work or school, this novel gives you that spark of productivity while having down time. 

I hope that at least one of these novels inspires you to pick up the healthy habit of reading before bed and any other time throughout the day you have some free time. Books are written in endless ways, so you’ll never run out of ones to try! There’s only great benefits, cognitively and emotionally, that you can receive from a good read, so why not give it a try? 


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