How books help us to examine the experience of being a human
Tarnia who works in our Children and Young People programme as part of our anti-stigma project, Time to Change, tells us how our in-house monthly book club helps us to examine the human experience and enjoy moments of connection.
In a world that is increasingly fast paced, with technology taking up more and more of our time and energy, books can offer a powerful sense of release.
Research carried out for The Reading Agency and funded by the Peter Sowerby Foundation found strong evidence that reading for pleasure can increase our empathy and improve wellbeing.
At the end of last year, a monthly staff book club was launched as part of the Rethink Mental Illness Wellbeing Initiative. The book club, which is held in a local tea shop, asks colleagues to bring and share a book of their choice that they feel links to a particular given theme. This could be a book they are currently reading or one they read years ago as a child; the main objective is to share what the theme evokes for them through their chosen text.
The varied subject matter, characters and plots of the books placed on the table each month, always provide an inroad into discussions about loss, humour, memory, discovery, strife and love; in short, the human experience. In learning about each other’s books we also learn a little more about each other and in doing so we enjoy moments of connection.
Whether it be poetry, prose, graphic novels, biographies …, we read to gain greater understanding of ourselves and others, gain new perspective and a sense of possibility or simply to slow down and escape for a while. We’re able to immerse ourselves in new ideas, worlds and often lives of others and in doing so we enrich a part of ourselves.
When was the last time you felt genuinely excited to get back to a book at your bedside or in your bag? Is there a particular book you often gift others? Was there a book that had a profound effect on how you viewed something, someone or yourself? This World Book Day, take time to reflect on what your relationship with books is and treat yourself or someone in your life to a trip to a bookshop or library, then make time to read even a single page.
Find out more about what you can do to support your wellbeing here.