The term bibliotherapy refers to the use of books as a method of treating mental and psychological disorders. First used in the early 1900s, bibliotherapists would gather information about a patient’s relationship with books and issues they were facing. The therapist would then prescribe a list of books with the intent to inspire the patient, while simultaneously helping them with their problems.

This might sound unorthodox, even slightly outrageous, but it’s a well-known fact that reading brings a myriad of benefits. Studies have shown that reading can improve memory, slow mental decline, and improve concentration just to name a few. Reading fiction especially can make you more empathetic, which I think everyone can always improve.

Despite these facts, the nation’s average leisure reading time declines year after year– not because people are reading less, but because fewer people are reading at all. I mean, why should we? The aforementioned benefits are not ones that we can see, and certainly not experienced overnight. Furthermore, we are in the golden age of instantly gratifying content. With Netflix (and other streaming services), video games, podcasts, music, and social media, when are people supposed to find time to pick up a book?

For most of us during this pandemic, the majority of our time has been spent quarantining indoors. The now-familiar feelings of perpetual restlessness, potential financial stress, and anxiety of uncertainty make it near-impossible to relax. Some of us have been fortunate enough to be playing Animal Crossing, binging new shows, or learning a new skill to pass the time. However, although these are fun ways to keep busy, you might begin to crave an activity that requires more active participation.

What sets reading apart from other activities is that it demands our attention. While the idea of formal book therapy brings skepticism, there is an undeniable value that comes from the discipline required to finish a book and the lessons learned through both written fiction and non-fiction. For those of us who are fortunate enough to be seeking a new way to spend our time, there has never been a better time for us to pick up that book that we’ve “been meaning to read forever.”

Want to start reading but don’t know where to start? Check out some of Frannie’s book recommendations through the links below!





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