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DIVE INTO THE WORLD OF LITERARY HEALING WITH A BOOK EXPERT


Lucy Pearson

Love reading? Meet book expert Lucy Pearson, who spends her life exploring people's relationships with books. Here, she tells Lifestyle News how a good book can reduce stress, help you sleep and let you escape into other worlds.


Q: I must admit, I have never heard of a bibliotherapist! What is it and why did you decide to do that as a career? 


I launched my bibliotherapy sessions during Covid, when the demand for book recommendations was at an all time high.


Many people had more time on their hands and so wanted to tackle a meaty classic that they’d never previously got around to doing, while others were after some much-needed escapism given everything that was going on in the world. 


I’ve been an avid and ardent reader for as long as I can remember. There simply is no before - there has never been a time when I wasn’t a lover of the written word - and an obsessive one at that.


I’ve been a book blogger for over a decade, books have long been both my biggest passion and a huge part of my identity.


Launching these sessions, and putting my knowledge of books to good use, seemed like a natural step in my career and is something I do alongside curating libraries for hotels and freelance writing.

 

Q: How can books improve your mood?


Books have the power to improve your mood in various ways, from both an entertainment and therapeutic standpoint. 


Escapism: Reading allows you to escape from the pressures of daily life by immersing yourself in a different world. Fictional stories, in particular, can transport you to faraway lands, providing a break from reality and helping to reduce stress.


Emotional connection: Characters in books often face challenges and experiences similar to those in real life. As you empathise with the characters and their journeys, you may find solace and understanding. Connecting with characters can help you feel less alone in your own emotions.


Mindfulness: Engaging with a good book requires concentration and focus. When done in what I call a deep reading state - i.e. with your phone in another room - it can become a mindful practice that will divert your attention from negative thoughts or worries, helping to foster a sense of calm.


Life is full of interruptions, so swapping your phone for a Kobo eReader device allows for undistracted reading time. 


Stress reduction: Engaging in a page-turning tome can lower your stress levels. As your mind is occupied with the narrative of the story, it has less room for anxious or negative thoughts, which can help provide a much-needed  mental break.


Improved sleep: Establishing a pre-sleep reading routine can contribute to better sleep quality and help avoid dreaded doom scrolling before bed.


Reading a calming book in the evening can relax your mind, making it easier to unwind and fall asleep.


Kobo eReader screens are made with technology that is easier on our eyes and you customise blue or yellow light and adjust to how dark it is, perfect for nighttime reading.


Q: What are the best books to help you find inspiration in your life? 


There are so many books out there that I find inspiring, and it really does depend on what area of your life you might be lacking in inspiration.


I love The Miracle Morning by Hal Elrod for anyone wanting to improve their morning routine, Atomic Habits by James Clear if you want to harness healthy habits, How to Fail by Elizabeth Day for some rather great life advice, and then Shoe Dog by Phil Knight is an excellent choice for anyone feeling stagnant in their career.


Q: How does a book prescription work?


If someone books in for a bibliotherapy session with me, I start by sending them a questionnaire to determine what they want to get out of their session.


It could be anything from wanting to harness healthier reading habits, to getting over a break up or wanting to try their hand at reading classics - something that a lot of readers shy away from.


I then have a one-hour Zoom consultation with them, during which we’ll go into further detail over why they read, what they read, and what might be holding them back from reading.


After the consultation, as well as a digital book prescription with a curated list of recommended reads, they will also receive a book prescription from me in the post, which includes three books, and some bookish goodies to help them on their reading journey.


Q: How long do you recommend people spend reading every day? 


As long as they are able to! I think an hour a day is a good amount of time to aim for. It might sound like a lot, but if you check the amount of time you’re spending on your phone a day, and aim to replace even a quarter of your screen time with a good book, you’ll be surprised by how quickly the minutes add up.


For those who find it hard to find time to read, there’s so many ways you can integrate reading every day that’s not a paperback, having a Kobo eReader or app on your phone means you can take a book everywhere with you to simplify reading on the go.


Plus Kobo’s library integration means you can borrow books with ease straight to your eReader.


Q: Please tell me three of your favourite fiction books: 


A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara, Giovanni’s Room by James Baldwin and The Scapegoat by Daphne Du Maurier.


Q: And your favourite non-fiction books?


Places I Stopped on the Way Home by Meg Fee, Wild by Cheryl Strayed and Grey Boy by Cole Brown.



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