How will you use the extended break between the fall 2022 and the spring 2023 semesters? This time can be used productively, preparing for coursework next semester, or learning a new language (try the Mango Languages database. NOVA librarians recommend that you choose to read for pleasure.
Why read for pleasure
Research frequently explores the positive effects of reading for pleasure for children and adolescents; fewer studies address the emotional, social, and psychological benefits derived by adults who regularly choose to read for pleasure. Adults attribute increased vocabulary and general knowledge, better text comprehension, improved grammar and writing abilities, and greater self-confidence to their regular reading habits. Beyond this, research shows that reading reduces stress and relaxes. It’s why many doctors encourage adults to turn off their screens and curl up with a book to feel calm, reduce depressive thoughts, and get a well-earned rest at the end of the day. Also, reading can increase your empathy for others around you.
What to read
Choosing what to read can be daunting, but there are places to turn that can assist you. During the fall of each year, various organizations announce the authors winning awards for their work, including:
- The Nobel Prize for Literature is arguably the most prestigious of annual awards.
- The Booker Prize for the best novel published in English and published in the UK or Ireland is better known for the “shortlist” of books announced to be in contention for the annual award.
- The National Book Foundation awards is the premier American prize recognizing literary excellence.
Various institutions use the possibility of gifting books at Christmastime to announce lists of the “best” books of the year. Each organization has its own way of selecting what’s “best” or otherwise limiting their choices by subject. For example:
- Libraries rely on Publishers Weekly for announcements of publications they should include on their shelves. The publication compiles a list each year, so check out their list of the top 10 in each category (fiction, mystery/thriller, poetry, romance, SciFi/fantasy/horror, comics, nonfiction, religion, etc.).
- Throughout the year, the New York Times publishes lists of the best-selling books of the week in their weekly Book Review section. On November 29, the Times will announce their annual 10 Best Books in two categories (fiction and nonfiction) plus 100 Notable Books of 2022.
- The Washington Post’s selection of the “top ten.”
- Lifelong learning site Headway Media has a blog for books categorized in unusual ways: Best books for men to read, CEOs, Strategy books, self-improvement, building confidence. Surely one of the many lists will interest NOVA students.
- The New Yorker
NPR (formerly known as National Public Radio) compiles lists of books by subject, including comics/graphic novels, art, history, music, sports, historical fiction, love stories, mysteries/thrillers, nonfiction, SciFi/fantasy, science, short stories/essays/poetry, young adult, and more. If you’re still undecided about what to read, the NPR book review team polls the organization’s staff for their recommendations. Surely, one title will be perfect for you!
The NOVA librarians use these lists to verify their selection of books acquired throughout the year, so you’ll find many of these titles on our shelves already. If you’re still uncertain, check with a Reference Librarian on your campus for advice!
Editor’s Note: For additional ideas about “best books” or “great reads,” check out last December’s blog, How to find a book to read.
What books are you reading during inter-session?