Happy National Read a Book Day!
Updated: Aug 31, 2022
September 6th, 2022 is National Read a Book Day!!
If you don’t already know, I’m an avid book reader. I wake up and read. I go on road trips and sit in the passenger seat reading. I have a weekly “reading day” where I don’t turn on my television and make sure I read all day off and on. Reading checks a few self care boxes for me:
It keeps me present.
It calms me.
It allows me to learn about new topics and people.
That being said, there are two specific groups of texts that I absolutely refuse to read. Those texts are anything blatantly psychology related and self help texts. I know, that feels like it goes directly against what a therapist should be reading and that’s kind of the point. I spent years studying psychology and therapy in school. Pleasure reading is about exploring other aspects of myself and the interests I have. More importantly, mental health is related to everything in life. Reading books forces me to connect to mental health in a unique way that keeps me in tune with myself and how I process the importance of mental health.
I guess what I'm trying to say is that I wish more people practiced pleasure reading.
As an attempt to spread the word that reading is a therapeutic act, I’m sharing a few of my favorite books from this year so far. My reading goal this year was to read 50 books. I crushed that goal on July 27th and am currently on my 57th book this year!
I can barely believe it.
Thus, without further ado, here are some of my favorite reads of 2022!
1. Favorite Nonfiction Read
The Deepest South of All by Richard Grant
Potential triggers: Emotions and reactions around slavery
Short summary: This is a collection of true stories and first hand accounts from Natchez, Mississippi. A British writer spent time there and decided to share the details of his stay. It's weird, quirky, and emotionally driven with its strong ties with slavery, the Confederacy, and how the past still influences their present. I learned about a lot of cool and unique folks while reading this book and it's a good read to grasp some complexities of the American South.
2. Favorite Long Read (500+ pages)
A Book of American Martyrs by Joyce Carol Oates
Potential triggers: Gun violence and sexual violence
Short summay: The first chapter begins with one man, an extremely religious blue collar worker, assassinating another man, a progressive abortion doctor and follows both families as they cope with this event and other life happenings. Similar to the book listed above, it's insightful about a piece of America that is extremely relevant.
3. Favorite Romance Novel
Potential triggers: Anxiety/Panic attacks, drug abuse, parental neglect, and bullying
Short summary: This book follows a couple with anxiety disorders trying to make their relationship make sense while dealing with loneliness and familial trauma. It's just down right adorable.
4. Favorite Collection of Short Stories
Her Body and Other Parties by Carmen Maria Machado
Potential triggers: Identity struggles and sexual harrasement/rape
Short summary: This collection of short stories tells various stories of women and their struggles through many stages of life and challenges that come along with each stage. The stories are unique and honestly, kind of creepy at times, but overall a fantastic read.
5. Favorite (blatant) Mental Health Read
The Girls at 17 Swann Street by Yara Zgheib
Potential triggers: Eating disorders, rape, and suicide
Short summary: This book is about a woman who recently moved to St. Louis, Missouri from France with her husband. It follows her journey dealing with living in a new environment, coping with the distance she has from her family, and accepting that she's deep into an eating disorder. It's a sweet, sad, and inspirational read.
6. An Unexpected Favorite
Potential triggers: Violent scenes
Short summary: This book truly surprised me and I can't give too many details without spoiling the story. Thus, all I'll say is that it's a fantasy story about a group of badasses hunting Ku Klux Klan members in the South.
7. My Overall Favorite
Under the Whispering Door by T. J. Klune
Potential triggers: Suicide and conversations around death
Short summary: Read this book if you want to cry because you totally will. It's about a man who recently died and his afterlife journey. My favorite part about this book is that it's not a religious story. Rather, it's a story that celebrates life through the lens of death. I think it's a must read for everyone.
I hope reading this made you excited to pick up a book of your own! If you do end up celebrating National Read A Book Day, let me know! I'd love to hear what you're diggin' into.