Sunday, November 21, 2010

Reading for stress relief

Greetings from Downunder.

This time of year in the US seems a little weird to us in Australia. Holidays galore! I mean, you have Halloween which is massive, then just around the corner is Thanksgiving and then blammo there’s Christmas. And that doesn’t even begin to go into other celebrations – Ramadan, Hannukah, Festivus…

From Why yes, I do love Seinfeld :)

While we also have the main religious festivals, we don’t have Thanksgiving (our major national holiday is Australia Day, in late January) and Halloween is starting to take off here but it’s no where near as massive as it is in the States.

So three major celebratory holidays within two months. I can’t say I envy you. Just thinking about Christmas and all the organising involved in that is enough to give me the shivers. Having to do it two more times between October and December – right now, I’m very happy to be Australian.

So I guess the thing to think about now is – how to deal with that stress? People will recommend a lot of things – eat well, exercise, get plenty of sleep, meditation, chamomile tea…

For me, one of the things I do when I’m stressed is reach for a book. Not just any book – generally you won’t find me reading a new book at this time. No, I grab the books that I love – books that make me feel good, books that require not a lot of work, books that I can sink into and forget about the world.

My all-time favourite for stress relief is Warrior’s Woman, by Johanna Lindsey. It was the first book I’d ever come across that combined my two favourite genres – romance and speculative fiction. I know the story really well and it holds no surprises for me. I can grab it, open it and I’m there with Tedra fighting the barbarians and then falling in love.

Other oldies but goodies include pretty much anything written by Judith Garwood and Amanda Quick.

There’s a few other books that I’ve read this year that I think will fall into the re-read for stress relief category. Gail Carriger’s Parasol Protectorate are a fun read, and I'm in love with Sarah Rees Brennan’s Demon Lexicon series.

What about you? As you go through the stressful times of preparing for the holiday season, what are the books that you can grab that will save you – if only for a short time.


Monica said...

This is an excellent post, and I think it doesn't seem crazy to us because we are raised with it.

I go after The Goddess Summoning series by P.C. Cast or The Harry Potter series by: J.K. Rowling. They are my comfort reads!

kjovus - my life with books said...

Your post cracked me up. Truly, I have wondered the same thing. For me it breaks up the boring winter cycle. But truly I think all the hype is over food, we americans love us some candy, big dinners and any reason to eat. LOL

I am glad halloween is taking off in australia, it is a fun holiday when adults can dress up and act like kids.

SOOO HAPPY HOLIDAYS AMERICAN STYLE. At least you can enter some great Thanksgiving giveaways ;)

Cass (Words on Paper) said...

While the US has all of that, I also want to say that I'm glad that we don't have so much going on in such a small time span. Though I'd loved to have gone Trick or Treating, at least once in the my life. Sadly I think I'm too old now. :/

Anonymous said...

Yeah, it's a crazy time in the US now. I don't get too stressed with it, though. It's just part of the routine to avoid every shopping store I can for about two months. LOL.

I return to books I'm familiar with sometimes, such as the Twilight series, the House of Nigh series, and spend lots of time editing/critiquing MS for fellow writers.

That always calms me down. Once, though, I started a novel. Yep, that was fun, too, because I could just escape the hustle and bustle by hunching over my computer and getting lost in the word I created. :_

Thanks for this post. Have a great day!!

SandyG265 said...

I always try to do most of my holiday shopping before Thanksgiving. But when I need a break I read mysteries. They are usually short enough that I can read one in a couple of days.

Melissa (Books and Things) said...

Anything that engulfs me into the book's world so I can leave my own for a good amount of time helps. Don't have a go to novel, but have a bookshelf of books that help me. :)

Sharon S. said...

love that cover!!! . I don't reread books per say. I will flip to my favorite parts and read again so I can get a quick escape. The Black Dagger Brotherhood series and The Immortals After Dark are good for that. They have very emotionally charged scenes that are easy to get caught up in.

Becky LeJeune said...

Ah, the holidays. Yep, they can be stressful. But we get time off of work (some of us) and school for the holidays, too. My high school sisters get all this week (and a box of books from me) and then two weeks between Christmas and New Year's off.

It's usually authors that save me. I reach for new reads, but will frequently return to favorite author's with their latest around stressful times. I have King's new one waiting on my bedside table as we speak!

Cylver said...

I work in retail, so for me the end of the year is especially crazy. I never get my shopping done on time, because after being at work all day, the last thing I want to do is go to another store!
My favorite stress-relievers are probably the Black Dagger Brotherhood. Even though their lives can hardly be described as stress-free (instead "angst ridden" is how I'd describe them most of the time) it's good to see other people coping with problems and difficulties that are even more problematic and difficult than my own!

HelenL said...

I agree, Nicole--there are books that are like old friends: you just sit down with them, relax and put your feet up. Georgette Heyer novels really fit that bill for me, as do authors like Robin McKinley (Beauty, The Blue Sword, Sunshine), Patricia McKillip (The Riddlemaster of Hed trilogy, The Chageling Sea) and Guy Gavriel Kay (The Fionavar trilogy, Tigana, A Song for Arbonne.) Why do I like these authors so much? I think with all of them it's a combination of loving the stories and the characters, but they also write beautifully, with humor as well as pathos in their story telling.

Nicole Murphy said...

Thanks for all your thoughts, everyone. People KEEP mentioning the Black Dagger books - I really do need to read them :)

Sharon S. said...

@Nicole, yes, you need to let a little Wrath into your life ;)

Claire Dawn said...

Yes! I read to relieve stress. This is why I hardly read literary. Who needs to solve problems in books, when there are so many in life?

I don't really re-read books, but my fave stress relievers are paranormal and YA contemporary books.

Lisa R/alterlisa said...

Anytime I'm reading it's a stress reliever as I'm totally taken away to a new world and place. Unless of course I'm reading a murder mystery or romantic suspense.


alterlisa AT yahoo DOT com