Reading for Stress Relief: More Than 65 Books to Help You Escape the Real World for a While by Elisa All Schmitz 30Seconds

Books
12 days ago
Reading for Stress Relief: More Than 65 Books to Help You Escape the Real World for a While

It's a normal part of life to feel stress from time to time. But when stress overloads the system, it can create debilitating physical health conditions. When that happens, you need to take action to combat and reduce stress, stat.

Like so many others, my life has been filled with ups and downs, and plenty of challenges along the way. Some days it seems like just as you get one shoe under control, the other shoe drops. We become masters at the art and science of crisis management, putting out one fire after another. Like boats, we need to learn to ride the waves rather than fight them, in order to keep ourselves afloat.

About a year ago, my doctor recommended that I add reading fiction as a tool to keep stress in check. While I nearly laughed at the suggestion (who has time to read a book, for goodness sake?!), I finally decided to give it a try. I remembered that as a child, escaping to my room to read used to be my favorite pastime, so maybe I could try to fit it into my life at least occasionally.

I went to a local bookstore and quickly became overwhelmed by all the choices. In a world of great books, what to pick? So I turned to my friends and Facebook community for their suggestions. Here's what I posted:

"I’m at the bookstore, buying my first fiction book in years. Doctor’s orders, for stress relief. But I’m overwhelmed with all the choices and don’t know what to pick. I need your escapist book recos, stat! If you had to suggest one book to escape the real world for a few hours, what would it be? Help a sister out?! Thanks!"

Boy, did my tribe deliver. Below are their recommendations, and my feedback if I have read the book. I hope you will pick up a few of these titles and enjoy the escape that reading provides. Reading is a form of mindfulness, and it has helped me a lot to lose myself in a good story. We all need to do that more often. Make time for it, for your health's sake!

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The Woman In the Window by A.J. Finn
The Woman In the Window by A.J. Finn $8
"Do you like mysteries/suspense? This was a fast read if you're not looking for anything deep and profound!" Recommended by Ruth Tait, who also notes: "I have always loved reading fiction so much! It's a wonderful escape to caught up in the lives of the characters for a while." This book also was recommended to me by Jessica Williams and Kelli Schulte, who notes: "I’m with you on the stress and escapism. My niece is my go to on this. On her recommendation I just read 'The Woman in the Window.' Suspenseful and good escapism. My niece also suggested 'The Wife Between Us' by Greer Hendricks and Sarah Pekkanen." Elisa's Feedback: I read this book based on the recommendations above and really enjoyed the suspense. It keeps you guessing the whole time and truly was a great escape!
The Wife Between Us by Greer Hendricks and Sarah Pekkanen
The Wife Between Us by Greer Hendricks and Sarah Pekkanen $14
Recommended by Kelli Schulte's niece.
The Last Song by Nicholas Sparks
The Last Song by Nicholas Sparks $8
Recommended by Egan Patricia.
The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern
The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern $12
Recommended by Stephanie Cornett.
Alice Hoffman Books
Alice Hoffman Books $3 & Up
Recommended by Stephanie Cornett.
The Hidden Side by Heidi Chiavaroli
The Hidden Side by Heidi Chiavaroli $11
Recommended by Evie Polsley.
The Outlander Series by Diana Gabaldon
The Outlander Series by Diana Gabaldon $6 & Up
Recommended by Tina Pietila, who says: "You won’t be sorry. The whole series is fantastic, but the first book will steal your heart! It’s about a WWII nurse who travels back in time to 1700s Scotland and becomes involved with a Highlander. It’s part adventure, part romance, part comedy and simply can’t put down." Rebecca Daniels adds: "This series is a bit like an addictive drug ... and there are nine volumes!" This book was also recommended by Marianne Clyde and Kendeyl Johnasen, who said: "ABSOLUTELY LOVED IT! I was hooked and gobbled up all of the Outlander series!"
Firefly Lane by Kristin Hannah
Firefly Lane by Kristin Hannah $10
Recommended by Ann Marie Gardinier Halstead, Samantha Martin and Donna John.
The Girl With the Lower Back Tattoo by Amy Schumer (Non-fiction)
The Girl With the Lower Back Tattoo by Amy Schumer (Non-fiction) $10
This autobiography is recommended by Ann Marie Gardinier Halstead and Donna John.
Gone Girl by Gillian Fynn
Gone Girl by Gillian Fynn $7
Recommended by Ann Marie Gardinier Halstead, Kelli Schulte and Kendeyl Johansen.
The Girl On the Train by Paula Hawkins
The Girl On the Train by Paula Hawkins $13
Recommended by Ann Marie Gardinier Halstead and Donna John.
Me Before You by Jojo Moyes
Me Before You by Jojo Moyes $16
Recommended by Ann Marie Gardinier Halstead, Kelli Schulte and Carla Young, who notes: "A lovely read. I also enjoyed the next two books in that series."
Domestic Violets by Matthew Norman
Domestic Violets by Matthew Norman $15
Recommended by Ann Marie Gardinier Halstead.
This is Where I Leave You by Jonathan Tropper
This is Where I Leave You by Jonathan Tropper $13
Recommended by Ann Marie Gardinier Halstead.
Jodi Picoult Books
Jodi Picoult Books $3 & Up
"Several of Jodi Picoult’s books are quick, enjoyable reads," says Ann Marie Gardinier Halstead.
Born a Crime by Trevor Noah (Non-fiction)
Born a Crime by Trevor Noah (Non-fiction) $7
"If you want to laugh, Trevor Noah’s book 'Born A Crime' is amazing!" says Sheri Doyle. Jan Mostrom adds: "I’m listening to Trevor Noah’s new book, 'Born A Crime,' about his youth in pre- and post-apartheid. It’s amazing ... Totally worth listening because he reads it and does all voices!"
The Book of Joy by The Dalai Lama (Non-fiction)
The Book of Joy by The Dalai Lama (Non-fiction) $14
"If you want to find lasting peace, then 'The Book of Joy.' It changed who I am and how I deal with life," says Sheri Doyle.
Vaclav & Lena by Haley Tanner
Vaclav & Lena by Haley Tanner $16
"'Vaclav & Lena' is a great book about two kids growing up and their incredible love for each other. This author's style is beautiful!" says Sheri Doyle.
Fierce Kingdom by Gin Phillips
Fierce Kingdom by Gin Phillips $9
Sheri Doyle says if you want a good book you can’t put down, then read "Fierce Kingdom" by Gin Phillips. "How can you go wrong with gin, ha ha."
The Last Order by Steve Barry
The Last Order by Steve Barry $17
Steve Barry throws some history in as well, says Sheri Doyle.
Marie Force Books
Marie Force Books $5 & Up
Recommended by Cheryl Butler.
The Hundredth Queen by Emily King
The Hundredth Queen by Emily King $8
Recommended by Kathy Ast-Kutzbach.
When Never Comes by Barbara Davis
When Never Comes by Barbara Davis $11
Recommended by Kathy Ast-Kutzbach.
The Hate You Give by Angie Thomas
The Hate You Give by Angie Thomas $6
Recommended by Kathy Ast-Kutzbach, Egan Patricia, Ann Marie Gardinier Halstead and Eileen Campos, who adds: "Off to read now. I had no idea reading was a stress reliever! I guess that’s why I give zero shits about anything LOL!!!!!"
Whisper Me This by Kerry Anne King
Whisper Me This by Kerry Anne King $11
Recommended by Kathy Ast-Kutzbach.
Bill Bryson Books (Non-fiction)
Bill Bryson Books (Non-fiction) $4 & Up
"Any of Bill Bryson’s books entertain," says Kathleenellen Ford.
Lilac Girls by Martha Hall Kelly (Historical Fiction)
Lilac Girls by Martha Hall Kelly (Historical Fiction) $11
Recommended by Ann Marie Gardinier Halstead.
The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah (Historical Fiction)
The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah (Historical Fiction) $12
Recommended by Ann Marie Gardinier Halstead.
The Paris Wife by Paula McLain (Historical Fiction)
The Paris Wife by Paula McLain (Historical Fiction) $8
Recommended by Ann Marie Gardinier Halstead.
Daughters of the Dragon by William Andrews (Historical Fiction)
Daughters of the Dragon by William Andrews (Historical Fiction) $11
Recommended by Ann Marie Gardinier Halstead.
Brave by Rose McGowan (Non-fiction)
Brave by Rose McGowan (Non-fiction) $13
Recommended by Kathy Ast-Kutzbach.
Never Stop Walking by Christina Rickardsson (Autobiography)
Never Stop Walking by Christina Rickardsson (Autobiography) $12
Recommended by Kathy Ast-Kutzbach.
Life Is Short by Jennifer Arnold (Autobiography)
Life Is Short by Jennifer Arnold (Autobiography) $11
Recommended by Kathy Ast-Kutzbach.
Fannie Flag Books
Fannie Flag Books $4 & Up
"Anything by Fannie Flagg," says Lauren Flanagan.
Andrea Thome Books
Andrea Thome Books $4 & Up
Recommended by Kandice Cole.
Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen (Historical Fiction)
Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen (Historical Fiction) $7
Recommended by Donna John. Elisa's Feedback: I read this book a few years ago and enjoyed it! I remember it being a great story set at the circus, centering on difficult relationships. I think I need to read it again!
Loving Frank by Nancy Horan (Historical Fiction)
Loving Frank by Nancy Horan (Historical Fiction) $13
"Reading 'Loving Frank' now about Frank Lloyd Wright’s affair," says Terri Jones.
White Houses by Amy Bloom (Historical Fiction)
White Houses by Amy Bloom (Historical Fiction) $10
Recommended by Terri Jones.
All the Light You Cannot See by Anthony Doerr
All the Light You Cannot See by Anthony Doerr $11
Recommended by Kathleen Henrichs and Ruth Tait. Elisa's Feedback: This book was recommended to me at the bookstore. I have yet to read it, but it is near the top of my list!
Island Beneath the Sea by Isabel Allende
Island Beneath the Sea by Isabel Allende $15
Recommended by Cassandra Conyers.
Crazy Rich Asians by Kevin Kwan
Crazy Rich Asians by Kevin Kwan $10
"For a good laugh," says Jaqueline Shim Bryant.
Pachinko by Min Jin Lee
Pachinko by Min Jin Lee $9
"A great sweeping story line," says Jaqueline Shim Bryant.
Let The Great World Spin by Column McCann
Let The Great World Spin by Column McCann $11
"Read this book for excellent writing and a good story," says Jaqueline Shim Bryant.
Wonder by R.J. Palacio
Wonder by R.J. Palacio $10
Recommended by Mindy Hudon.
Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty
Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty $7
Recommended by Amy Fothergill. Elisa's Feedback: Now that I've watched both seasons of "Big Little Lies," featuring Reese Witherspoon, Nicole Kidman, Laura Dern, Shailene Woodley, Zoe Kravitz and even Meryl Streep, I definitely need to read this book. Loved the show!
The Husband's Secret by Liane Moriarty
The Husband's Secret by Liane Moriarty $8
Recommended by Amy Fothergill.
Liane Moriarty Books
Liane Moriarty Books $3 & Up
Recommended by Stephanie Cornett.
You Enter a Room by Nancy Dafoe
You Enter a Room by Nancy Dafoe $11
Recommended by the author herself!
Food Fight for Parents by Chef Gigi Gaggero (Non-fiction)
Food Fight for Parents by Chef Gigi Gaggero (Non-fiction) $14
Recommended by the author herself, Chef Gigi Gaggero.
Arto Paasilnna Books
Arto Paasilnna Books $3 & Up
"Anything from author Arto Paasilinna," says Klement Podnar.
The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald
The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald $10
Recommended by Kendeyl Johansen. Elisa's Feedback: I read this in high school and was floored by it. Another book that I need to read again!
The Stand by Stephen King
The Stand by Stephen King $14
Recommended by Kendeyl Johansen. Elisa's Feedback: I read this book in college, along with several other books by Stephen King. The man is a master of the horror genre. Just keeps you guessing!
Barbara Kingsolver Books
Barbara Kingsolver Books $3 & Up
Amy Millman recommends anything by Barbara Kingsolver.
The Great Alone by Kristin Hannah
The Great Alone by Kristin Hannah $13
Recommended by Leslie Levine, who says: "It will take you away with its crisp descriptions of Alaska, the inner workings of a young girl growing up in the '70s, raised by her Vietnam vet dad and free-spirited mom, etc. Highly recommend."
Awakening Shakti by Sally Kempton (Non-fiction)
Awakening Shakti by Sally Kempton (Non-fiction) $16
Recommended by Lisa Weber.
The Winter Bees by Jill Katz
The Winter Bees by Jill Katz $15
Recommended by Kim Hemphill Schmitz.
Caramelo By Sandra Cisneros
Caramelo By Sandra Cisneros $11
Recommended by Jessica Carranza.
Ink by Sabrina Vourvoulias
Ink by Sabrina Vourvoulias $15
Recommended by Jessica Carranza.
David Bowles Books
David Bowles Books $4 & Up
Recommended by Jessica Carranza.
Brownsville Stories by Oscar Casares
Brownsville Stories by Oscar Casares $8
Recommended by Jessica Carranza.
Dagoberto Gilb Books
Dagoberto Gilb Books $4 & Up
"Anything by Dagoberto Gilb," says Jessica Carranza.

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Mindy Hudon, M.S., CCC-SLP
I love this list. I too am overwhelmed by what book to read. Thanks for these stress free reading suggestions. Thanks Elisa All Schmitz 30Seconds
Meredith Schneider
Elisa All Schmitz 30Seconds I Love this list! I'm reading Lilac Girls. Well at least trying to. LOL! Once the kids go back to school on Monday I'll have more quiet/uninterrupted time.
Dieter Schmitz
This is amazing. Not just the list, but the incredible energy of the 30Seconds Community. Reading a book needs to revert from rarely to regularly!!

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