Just after finals week every year, just when the stress of the semester has finally caved to the relaxation of summer, I’m hit with a new source of anxiety.
No, not finding a job or internship with which to occupy my time – although that is certainly a concern – but a task that’s at least a little more fun to complete: putting together my summer reading list.
Yes, like a seventh-grader dutifully preparing for September book reports, I assign myself a summer reading list every year in an attempt to catch up and compensate for the lost reading time of the school year.
One of my life goals is to eventually have a well-stocked personal library (ideally like the one the Beast builds for Belle in The Beauty and the Beast), but I want to have read all of the volumes that line the countless shelves of my imagined library, and summer is the perfect time to catch up.
The fragrances of chlorine, sunscreen, and salt water are all thoroughly compatible with the enjoyment of a new good book. But reading also pairs well with some rest after a long, taxing day at an internship.
If my nerdy daydreams of a slightly scaled-down private Library of Congress aren’t enough to convince you to draw up your own summertime list of must-reads, here are a few other reasons to become a warm-weather bibliophile:
Reading has health benefits.
Developing a regular reading habit can help to train your brain and better enable you to concentrate, in addition to strengthening your brain tissue and improving your memory. Reading routinely also works to regulate and enhance your sleep cycle and can help to control and ameliorate stress levels.
Reading can help you to feel like a kid again.
So Fifty Shades of Grey isn’t your cup of tea, but you still want to stay abreast of pop culture without the pressures of classes.
You can always read books that are slightly below your age level, perhaps in preparation for the next Hunger Games film or Harry Potter movie marathon (or the last Twilight movie release, if you must).
With series like Harry Potter now widely available both in print and e-reader editions, summer is the perfect time to catch up on your favorites, and maybe feel a little bit better about your life problems in comparison to Harry’s or Katniss’.
Researchers have found that reading a book a second time can result in a more satisfying reading experience as you are better able to connect with the characters emotionally, from which advantages like personal growth and reflection can spring.
Reading can provide a sense of accomplishment.
If you’re anything like most college students, summer tends to get pretty boring pretty quickly.
Even with a job or internship, laziness engulfs us as easily as the waves at the beach, but a reading list creates a goal to achieve. Finally completing a lengthy, laborious read like Anna Karenina can lend your summer a real sense of accomplishment and keep you from languishing in lethargy.
Reading can impart valuable knowledge.
So you’re a history major but have always been curious about medicine?
Nonfiction books are a great way to learn more about a topic you’re interested in but about which you could never fit a class into your schedule, and summer is the perfect opportunity to craft your own lesson in the subject of your choosing.
Of course, if you’d like to be a bit more industrious, you could consider reading some of the books for your fall classes, but who wants to think about classes when the summer has just begun?
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