After years of screen-based distractions, our collective attention span could use a spa day. Most of us have fallen out of the habit of reading and getting back into it can feel laborious. However, once that early speed bump is accelerated over, the world of reading, with its many energizing and vital benefits, is as easy to enter as a warm bubble bath, (also a good place to get lost in a fun and easy book).
Reading is a euphoric break from the refresh-scroll-refresh-scroll lifestyle. It improves sleep, brain function, and aids empathy which is becoming more and more elusive. Reading also lowers blood pressure and combats cognitive decline in older adults. Not to mention, there are no rage-inducing algorithms or pop-up ads in books. So grab your rechargeable reading light, and let's explore some easy ways to get back into reading.
Great Books Made Into Movies and TV
That sinking feeling when your favorite TV show or movie comes to an end and you're left wondering, "how will I scratch that itch ever again?" A great way to start is to figure out which of your favorite movies and television shows also come in book form and visa-versa. Everyone has a movie or show that they can watch over and over and continue to receive some sort of cathartic payload. However, sooner or later, the feeling of comfort disappears and we are left searching desperately for a new binge outlet.
Books to Movie Adaptations
"Jurassic Park" and "The Lost World" by Michael Crichton - The Jurassic Park franchise is familiar, even nostalgic. Both of these books have just enough difference from the movies that they induce both a feeling of familiarity, and surprise.
The Harry Potter-Verse - These books are extremely easy to read and offer an escape to a world where magic not only exists, but is taught at school. This take on the hero's journey is not just for children either. Harry's challenges with Voldemore make everyone, including adults, feel less alone.
"The Godfather" by Mario Puzo - Brutal death, heartbreak, and love, this is another page-turner that expands that familiar world of "The Godfather" movies.
"The Shining" by Stephen King - This book pushes the aesthetic from the movie into a deeper place, which is a good thing for adrenaline junkies who love scary movies. If you become a King fan, you may never run out of books to read.
"Wonder Boys" by Michael Chabon - This story revolves around several perfectly flawed and lovable characters and does not abstain from unexpected plot twists. Written at the intersection of slice-of-life, and drama, "Wonder Boys" does not feel too heavy, making it a good everyday reader. Chabon is a Pulitzer Prize winning author who is quite prolific, so there are plenty of books to dig into.
Book to TV Adaptations
TV shows are also one of those cathartic payoffs that inspire us, comfort us, and are so readily accessible that they can become addicting. Having said that, if you ever feel bad for binging, don't. We are allowed to distract ourselves and not feel bad about it. Having said that, no one has ever felt bad because they read too many books.... why not break the getting back-into-reading seal with something you KNOW you will love.
"Fleabag: The Scriptures" by Phoebe Waller-Bridge - The television show, "Fleabag," used a cutting edge technique of not just breaking the 4th wall, but doing so rapidly and repeatedly. In the short two seasons that it was around, a staunch fanbase grew. Originating from a one-woman play, reading the script that the show was adapted from gives Waller-Bridge enthusiasts more to chew on while they wait for her next offering.
"Paddle Your Own Canoe" by Nick Offerman Ron Swanson has got to be one of the most lovable characters in the history of television. The writers of "Parks and Recreation" used real examples from Nick Offerman's life to create differnt dimensions in the character. For example, Offerman is a woodworker by trade, plays the saxophone, and is to-the-point and hyper articulate. "Paddle Your Own Canoe" is a book of appreciations and humorous societal observations. Offerman not only has upwards of five books, he also records his own audiobooks in that familiar, dulcet tone.
"Little Weirds" by Jenny Slate - Another "Parks and Recreation" alumna, comedian Jenny Slate (Mona-Lisa Saperstine) has written a memoir-focused book of essays. It's easy to read, funny, and the language really jumps off the page.
"No One Belongs Here More Than You" by Miranda July - Miranda July is a sought-after screenwriter reminiscent of the cool art-school crush you always admired. Her writing is quirky, just the right amount of experimental, and contains off-the-wall plots. This earlier collection of short fiction was the winner of the 2007 Frank O'Connor International Short Story Award. July continues to crank out more and more popular and angularly written books.
"How To Be Perfect" by Michael Shur, creator of "The Good Place" - This hilarious book offers guidance on all things human while maintaining the same humor from his beloved television program.
Books About Music
Being a musician is one of the hardest professions to excel at. There is no one way to succeed and attempts at measuring success are elusive 99% of the time. For the few who rose to enough acclaim to warrant a book, their stories are guaranteed to be page-turners.
"Just Kids" by Patti Smith - Patti Smith bleeds cool. If you look at some of her interviews, she always seems to say both the right thing and something you would never expect. It makes total sense that she was able to take the art of writing to the next level just like she has done for decades through music. Smith has continued to write many more iconic books that are widely appreciated in music and literary circles.
"Let's Go (So We Can Get Back): A Memoir of Recording and Discording with Wilco, Etc." by Jeff Tweedy You don't have to be a fan of Wilco to get into the autobiography of frontman, Jeff Tweedy. Famously reclusive, Tweedy articulates beautiful stories about his upbringing, his unique recording process, and his struggles with addiction and depression. This is a great read all around.
"The Tao of Wu" by The RZA - The RZA's path to enlightenment is unique, combining all sorts of Eastern religions and personal, philosophical revelation. RZA uses lyrics from Wu-Tang verses to illuminate his life's turning points, and an open path for everyone to find inner peace.
"The Bob Dylan Chronicles" by Bob Dylan - There are so many books on one of the world's most mysterious musicians. This memoir cuts through all the questions and gets right to the point.
"Devils House" by John Darnielle - This one is a bit different as it is not autobiographical or even non-fiction. John Darnielle of the "Mountain Goats" has written a book of fiction that is getting love, not just from the cool music kids, but the writing community as well.
Chances are, if you were an independent author during the early days of Amazon, you might've found yourself on the phone with Mr. Bezos himself. Rumor has it, he was polite, kind, and very appreciative to authors for choosing his budding online service. Buying books on Amazon is not just stylish and old-school, it's extremely convenient. Further, if you use the new Kindle Paperwhite, you are doing your part to save trees and can get the books in a matter of seconds, rather than waiting for them in the mail. Last, if you buy a book from an up-and-coming author, positive Amazon reviews are very helpful and take next to no time to write.
Stay tuned for more book-related blogs in the future.