Time on your hands? Maybe it is time to read a book
30 March 2020

These regular public service announcements are prepared for by William Murray to help assist our readers and subscribers as they deal with the coronavirus crisis. With two and a half billion people self-isolating, many are finding themselves alone at home with plenty of time on their hands. Literature can be way out of boredom, explains William in today's contribution

At the start of another week of isolation, people will be looking for interesting and constructive ways to fill their time at home. For bookworms and casual readers alike, literature can provide a form of escape - an especially valuable quality in such turbulent times.

Whilst it will come as no surprise to avid readers, studies have shown that reading has many benefits for our mental health, and there are entire fields of psychology that promote the practice. Research has shown that picking up a book for as few as six minutes can lower stress levels, relaxing the brain more so than listening to music or playing video games [1].

While some will cherish the opportunity to spend time tackling their ever-growing stack of book recommendations, others will be looking for a good place to begin. As a starting point, the publishing house Penguin lists its '100 must-read classic books...' - a definitive selection as chosen by book readers [2]. Or for those looking for something more contemporary, The BBC this week published an article on 'The best books of 2020 so far', listing 16 acclaimed novels released this year [3].

Although reading is largely a solitary activity, the internet provides many forums to discuss and debate the books you are interested in with other people. Whether you want to share your thoughts or are looking for recommendations, both Reddit's /r/books [4] and goodreads [5] are great places to start.


[1] The Telegraph - 'Reading 'can help reduce stress'':

[2] Penguin - '100 must-read classic books, as chosen by our readers': 

[3] BBC - 'The best books of 2020 so far':

[4] Reddit - 'Books':

[5] goodreads:

source: This public service announcement was prepared by William Murray for