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The University of Pittsburgh's Daily Student Newspaper

The Pitt News

The University of Pittsburgh's Daily Student Newspaper

The Pitt News

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Opinion | Believe victims even if you don’t like them
Opinion | Believe victims even if you don’t like them
By Delaney Rauscher Adams, Staff Columnist • July 12, 2024
Opinion | Women pop stars and the pressure to evolve
By Livia LaMarca, Assistant Opinions Editor • July 10, 2024

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Get Pitt and Oakland news in your inbox, three times a week.

Opinion | Believe victims even if you don’t like them
Opinion | Believe victims even if you don’t like them
By Delaney Rauscher Adams, Staff Columnist • July 12, 2024
Opinion | Women pop stars and the pressure to evolve
By Livia LaMarca, Assistant Opinions Editor • July 10, 2024

Fully Booked | A chapter a day keeps the stress away

Fully Booked is a bi-weekly blog that dives into the world of all things books, including recommendations, to-be-read lists and the benefits of reading.
Fully+Booked+%7C+A+chapter+a+day+keeps+the+stress+away
Carrington Bryan | Staff Illustrator

Reading is one of my absolute favorite hobbies, and because of that, I also love raving about a book I’ve just read to convince someone else to read it. Unfortunately, the most common response I get to my recommendations is. “I just don’t have time to read.” If you’re like me, you probably understand the desire to roll your eyes at that response, but if you’re the one giving that response, you’re probably annoyed because people don’t seem to understand how busy you actually are.

Recently, I found myself stuck between both perspectives. As much as I wanted to continue reading books at the rate I did over the summer, I had to adjust to life as a first-year college student, and when this semester began, I didn’t have much time set aside to read. Classes and homework quickly became my top priorities, and I placed my hobbies on the back burner, which is the case with so many other people, especially college students. I didn’t fill any of my free time with reading because it honestly didn’t sound very appealing. If I had already read three chapters of a textbook that day, why would I want to read anything else? It’s obvious that I had very quickly forgotten the enjoyment I got from reading books of my choice for so long.

It’s true that reading from a textbook or academic article for a school assignment typically isn’t very, if at all, enjoyable, and that was causing me to ignore all of the books I had lying in my room. When I came to this realization a few weeks ago, I decided to buy a book that I had wanted for two years simply because I missed the exciting feeling of reading something new. When I started Elizabeth Gilbert’s “Big Magic,” which I highly recommend, I very quickly fell back into my pattern of reading daily.

Most days, I shoot for about 30 minutes of reading. I’ve noticed how spending that time to focus on nothing other than the words in front of me takes me out of the stressful cycle that schoolwork can cause. The more often I take reading breaks instead of scrolling on my phone, the more productive I am when I return to writing an essay or studying. Even though “Big Magic” isn’t a fiction book that took me into some fantasy world, it did take me into someone else’s life and into their ideas, helping me think about something aside from the essay I was too stressed about to even start. And afterward, I did end up writing almost the entire essay nearly stress-free.

After finishing “Big Magic,” I set a goal to read at least one chapter per day — or at least ten pages, because I don’t consider 30 or more pages to be a reasonable chapter length. It doesn’t seem like much, but it’s an effective stress reducer, just as it was before this semester began. 

Whether it’s a few minutes in the morning, before I go to sleep or in the middle of the day, reading gives me a break from reality when the stress of it starts to feel like a bit too much. And since I love recommending books so much, here are a few easy but amazing reads from different genres to help anyone who wants to get — or get back — into reading: 

Just Kids” by Patti Smith (memoir), “The Midnight Library by Matt Haig (fantasy), “Daisy Jones & The Six by Taylor Jenkins Reid (historical fiction/romance), “The Handmaid’s Tale” by Margaret Atwood (dystopian) and, of course, “Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert (creative nonfiction/self-help).