Help For Counseling Students: Reading Can Improve Mental Health

 

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Many seasoned counselors are worried that the pervasive use of social media is resulting in a decrease in people, particularly counseling students and upcoming counselors to be less interested in gathering more knowledge that is required to become the best at what they do. Additionally, the habit of reading a book has way more benefits mentally and emotionally compared to just relying on the web and having fun navigating through the lives of others through social media.

Counseling students – and all students for that matter – could find it difficult to meet the demands of their education and may only read as a responsibility. However, reading books as a form of leisure can be quite rewarding and beneficial. For upcoming counselors, reading books required of them and the genres of fiction, bibliography, narratives, and even romance has been shown to help improve their mental health. But how can they get motivated to grab a book instead of their phones?

Here are some reasons that would surely encourage you to do just that.

Reading Brings New Perspective

Books can take you to a whole new world and present you to various people and the challenges that they’re confronted with every day. You’ll learn about various situations and outcomes, how people tackle them, and the different consequences for their actions. In our daily lives, we are incapable of getting into the mind of another individual and know their intentions and struggles. But books allow us to read people’s minds, know where they’re coming from, and how their past and current experiences influence their choices.

Through all this, we can discover that many areas in people’s lives are hidden, and because of this, we may not completely understand their objectives and behaviors. Additionally, we can improve our capacity to show empathy towards others when we have had the opportunity to comprehend the story from their perspective.

Reading Enhances One’s Communication Skills

Reading books of various niches widens not just our vocabularies but also the ways by which you use words to express a message. By dissecting the myriad ways that people express things and methods that communication is successfully conveyed or not may lead you to think about how to communicate efficiently. Not everyone is blessed to be a wordsmith and can precisely convey how others feel and think. However, all of us can learn from prolific writers and the vocabulary that they use to describe various states of mind.

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Reading Offers A Healthy Getaway

Each one of us has been confronted by times in life when we try so hard to find some distraction to forget our present difficulties, even just for a while. This desire to disturb our messy lives with something more enjoyable is not uncommon. But then we face the problem of what the distraction could be. Some people decide to get away from misery by eating too much, drinking alcohol, or using drugs. Still, others prefer the healthy escape of reading a wonderful find from their local library. With a range of books that we can easily access, you could set aside your mental and emotional burdens and get away to a different period, a different place, and even a different planet! Taking yourself to somewhere new and surrounded by your favorite people – characters from the books – could certainly be just what you have to do. It’s very cheap, safe, and healthy. It’s the kind of temporary escape that sets you up for healing and reenergizing.

Reading Is Great For Me Time

Spending time for yourself has positive benefits and is quite necessary for all of us. How to utilize that alone time is a usual question, particularly when there are many things that we want to do with others. A perfect choice for spending ‘me time,’ despite how many people you live in your home, is reading. You can stay in bed or your favorite couch and scan the pages of the book that you’ve always wanted to read but can’t find the time to. Me time allows you to be with your own thoughts, and it’s actually good for your heart and soul. You can think and feel whatever you want without anybody arguing or refuting you.

Reading Promotes Sleep And Relaxation

Sitting silently and permitting your body to relax while reading is not bad at all. When your thoughts are focused on that book you’re holding, your body is free from tension, and your heart rate decreases. Additionally, if you don’t usually get sufficient sleep, try grabbing a book, a romantic or a self-help book, something that doesn’t thrill or excite you too much.

Reading can also be a good transition practice from everyday toxic activities to that profound sleep you never got for some time. It helps you gradually wind down and get rid of the contemplation or anxieties that often precedes sleep.

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Takeaway

In summary, books are a precious yet underestimated resource that can instill compassion, improve healing, and inspire those who are going through suffering or mental health disorders. Reading must be encouraged for everybody, particularly for aspiring counselors.

To end, here’s a quote from world-renowned author Lord Thomas Macaulay:

“…That I have not utterly sunk under this blow, I owe chiefly to literature. Literature has saved my life and my reason.”

 

 

Recommended Books For Counselors

 

 

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If you’re still in your first years of counseling, you can read these are among the most popular books. Seasoned counselors, world-renowned writers, mental health experts perk our interest as they write books with an appealing approach regarding the human mind. Truly, a successful therapist or counselor is just as great as the experiences, books, and other resources that he gets his hands on to learn more about his profession. Whether you desire to help the couple in need of advice for a relationship or a middle-aged adult undergoing depression, there is just a wide library of counseling books to guide and motivate you to become the best counselor there is.

 

Below is a list of recommended books that startup and seasoned counselors will find interesting and beneficial.

On Becoming A Person: A Therapist’s View Of Psychotherapy

In this book, psychologist Carl Rogers changed the world of psychotherapy through his client-focused approach. He collected essays that he had written over ten years and more, unraveling the idea that a positive and trusting relationship between counselors and patients is helpful and actually more workable compared to present drug=based substances or the customary hierarchy or power.

The Resilient Practitioner: Burnout Prevention And Self-Care Strategies For Counselors, Therapists, Teachers, And Health Professionals

For Thomas Skovholt, a counselor’s optimal performance is tremendously affected by his lack of personal care. In an area where the value of communication between the client and counselor is essential, counselors must always be healthy. The Resilient Practitioner recognizes the significance of burnout and scientifically-based techniques for keeping yourself sane despite the challenges of the counseling profession.

Man’s Search For Meaning. In the 1940s, Viktor E. Frankl, the author of this inspiring book, was among those who worked in the Nazi death camps while his own family suffered. He used what he went through to express his past miseries and finally finding purpose in life. Logotherapy, a technique that he created, states that an individual’s primary motivation is not to seek pleasures in life but rather to explore and seize the things he finds important constantly. The book became very popular, selling about 10 million copies up until he died in 1997.

Source: wya.net

The Man Who Mistook His Wife For A Hat And Other Clinical Tales

Writer Oliver Sacks continues to be among the most brilliant minds of the past decades. Here, Sacks focuses on the more extraordinary cases of mental health disorders. He explains situations where people’s memories have vanished and real-life stories of patients that were unable to remember the faces of their loved ones. Described as ‘bizarre yet appealing,’ this find by Dr. Sacks shows his storytelling skills at its best. You won’t want to put the book down until you’ve reached the last page.

The Power Of Habit

Most patients who visit a counselor’s clinic go there because it has become a habit. It’s something that they want to do regularly. The Power Of Habit offers the basics of incorporating habits in daily life. Moreover, it unravels the many ways that a person’s ability to form habits and how elements of society affect them.

Becoming Attached: First Relationships And How They Shape Our Capacity To Love

The study of childhood attachment is fundamentally important in childhood emotional development and how it impacts parenting approaches. It prepares the stage for intuitive learning of adult social, behavioral patterns.

The Bell Jar

This book by Sylvia Plath is one of the most preferred reads by counselors and other mental health professionals, perhaps because of its remarkably true-to-life portrayal of insanity. Esther Greenwood, who plays the main character, is a beautiful and brilliant lady. She is the epitome of success, but eventually, she breaks down and becomes insane, and her insanity runs every part of her daily life. The Bell will walk you through the bleakest corners of the human mind, and all these will linger in your own mind even after you finish reading it.

Every Silver Lining Has A Cloud: Relapse And The Symptoms

Scott Stevens offers this wonderful find especially to addiction counselors and recommends this to recovered addicts as well. Approximately nine in ten individuals relapse after staying sober, and the story centers on why and how this happens. The journalist’s journey with sobriety and the difficulties of staying sober will capture your heart and mind. Stevens also understands why sobriety is merely an initial step on the path to recovery and healing.

Source: nytimes.com

Love’s Executioner And Other tales Of Psychotherapy

Irvin D. Yalom incorporates ten short stories of ten patients who are empathetic and humorous. Yalom unravels the intentions behind people’s desires and objectives as he attempts to connect his function as a doctor with his own humanity.

 

Takeaway

Throughout your journey in the counseling field, you will get to know more about the areas that you are more passionate about and the skills that you can effectively utilize. Eventually, you will be more driven to delve into the more profound areas of psychology. However, if you pursue your counseling degree, these books will definitely set a robust foundation and become worthy partners that you can read and reread as your practice progresses.

 

 

Is Reading Steampunk Novels Good For My Mental Health?

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One might say that I was a fussy editor. Meaning, I only chose to edit books or articles that I found interesting. The publishing company that I worked for was cool with it since they could always rely on me to give my 120% in every book I edited. Hence, I paid attention to romance novels, business guides, and mental health ebooks for many years.

Why did I like those three topics, you might ask? Well, for one, I got a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology a decade ago (aside from a Communications degree); that’s why I understood mental health a little more than others. I was also deeply fascinated with businesses and even got an MBA so that I could fact-check the guides well. As for romance novels, I chose it because we all needed to believe that love existed every once in a while.

I could continue being picky with the books that I edited forever, but I was wrong. One morning, I received an email that the publishing company I worked for was in the process of filing for bankruptcy. They offered to write recommendations for us and provide our separation pay at once, and I figured that was considerate of them. However, it did not erase the fact that I was already jobless because of that.

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Finding Steampunk 

I became slightly depressed for a little while since reading that email. I tried to live off of my separation pay and did not try to look for another job. Unfortunately, it merely lasted for two months since I had house bills to pay. Thus, I started searching for publishing companies that would hire me again.

After three weeks of hanging out at virtual job sites, I got an invitation from a company focused on steampunk novels. I honestly hesitated to accept it and send my application because: a) I was not interested in the steampunk subgenre at the time, and b) it was much different from the usual books that I edited in the past. Out of desperation, though, I clicked the Accept button and tried to make my application stand out from the others.

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The next day, I found out that I was shortlisted for the editing job. I sent some samples of my previous projects, but I had no choice but to let the HR manager know that I never edited a steampunk novel before. Instead of kicking me out of the shortlist, though, they gave me a chance to edit a 2,000-word excerpt from an existing book.

Before I opened the document that the manager sent to me, I did a quick research about steampunk. I realized that it was still under science fiction, though its two governing subjects were Victorian style and steam technology. When I got the gist, I read a steampunk excerpt for the first time.

Reading Steampunk For The First Time

I must admit that I was blown away by the vast imagination of steampunk writers. It was a fantasy novel, all right, but it went beyond the magical powers and paranormal creatures commonly found in most books. Steampunk was filled with exciting characters who wore out-of-this-world costumes and lived in an extraordinary city, albeit make-believe.

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I realized that reading steampunk novels would be suitable for anyone’s mental health because:

It Could Pull You Into Another Realm

Getting sucked into another dimension would be effortless once you got a steampunk novel on hand. From the first page of the book, you would notice how the setting was different from others, even though they technically occurred in familiar cities like London or Paris. The writers could describe the places in a way that you would recall it, but then they tend to add small details that would fit the subgenre.

It Would Push You To Use Your Imagination

Since you could hardly see people living in a steampunk city (unless you go to their convention), reading the novels would naturally push you to use your imagination. This would be ideal for people who complain about having a mental block because you need to imagine the scenes to understand the flow of the story.  

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It Won’t Bore You To Death

Steampunk novels were far from boring – that’s another thing that I understood after reading the excerpt. I managed to prove that my observation was correct after editing three stand-alone books and seeing that each one was interesting on its own. If I’m honest, I would say that this subgenre is more interesting than romance because you wouldn’t know if the characters could get a happy ending (because they sometimes could not).

Final Thoughts

I never envisioned myself becoming a full-time fiction editor – a steampunk editor, no less. It was way out of my wheelhouse; the scenes could not be explained by logic most of the time. But I loved every second that I got to read such novels. It did incredible things to my mental health, so I would not be surprised if it could do the same to yours.

Cheers!

Must-Read Books That Celebrate Family

 

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Among my favorite family hobbies are reading a book together with my children and my spouse (most of the time). They’re now old enough to read by themselves so what I do is let them be the reader twice a week. That way, they get to improve their reading and storytelling skills. Plus, it’s a chance for us to cuddle up in their small bed, bond, and read as a family.

If you’re a parent who wants to start a reading journey as a family, here are some of the must-read books that I would recommend. These are beautiful stories that celebrate family, togetherness, and keeping the love for each other.

Ivy And Bean: One Big Happy Family

This duo is on its comeback for its eleventh book. Ivy is the only child in the family and thinks that she’s pretty spoiled, but really there’s nothing she can do about it. Bean, her best friend for years – and for life – is Ivy’s sounding board and adviser. She suggests that Ivy needs a brother or a sister. Or a twin perhaps.

The story revolves around the challenges that these two friends are confronted with and their adventure in finding relevance to having a sibling and a family.

Mary Poppins

The heart of the Mary Poppins story is truly about the family. Because although Mary possesses magic, the triumphant ending of the story occurs when the family Banks bonded together and learning to acknowledge the importance of spending quality time together.

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This book is designed beautifully, with illustrations and lovely colors, including a catching front cover. You can read this with your toddler on your lap while you enjoy this classic yourself.

Up The Mountain Path

Mrs. Badger, one of the main characters, walks through her lovely garden to the Sugarloaf Peak every Sunday. There she talks to her friends and tries to help them with what they need. On one particular Sunday, she gets to know Lulu, a little cat that has always been curious about what the top of a mountain looks like. Mrs. Badger, the helpful and cheerful character that she is, teaches her the way to the mountain path and introduces her to some new furry friends while they are traveling.

In the end, Mrs. Badger got so weary that she decided to leave Lulu to finish the travel on her own. This book is filled with lessons of generosity, love, and a reminder to always choose your family over anyone or anything else.

The Family Book

The book talks about the love we have for our families amidst the various kinds that they may present. We can have two dads or two moms, a family with one parent, a chaotic family, or an organized one. The author wishes us to realize that our families are special in every way, no matter what type of family we have.

Now That I’m Here

Life truly is an adventure, especially when a new baby joins the fold. Previously, dad and mom only dreamed of how beautiful it would be to have a little fellow in the house. It was quite boring for them sometimes. They used to have quiet meals and serious television shows to watch. Now, the home is filled with varying tones of the baby’s cries. The dining table is now decorated with colors of baby food, and the living room delights with sounds of children’s songs and movies. Finally, mom and dad have someone to read a book before bedtime. The family is complete and happy.

Families, Families, Families

This book describes the family as someone who shows love, respect, support, and affection. It doesn’t matter if you’re not related by blood. As long as you have a love for each other, you are family! Your mom can be your aunt, who has raised you since you were little. Your brother or sister can be your best friend who has known you for ages. Here, different kinds of animals portray friendship and family and how they are connected no matter how different they are.

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Stella Brings The Family

Stella, being part of a non-conventional family, is worried about their school’s Mother’s Day Celebration. She actually has two dads that love her dearly, along with other members of the family – except for a mom. She doesn’t have one in the family. The story of how she finds a wonderful solution to her problem revolves around the true definition of family – acceptance, respect, and a whole lot of love.

Life With My Family

The character is a young girl who is rather frustrated about the messy life that she has with her family. She imagined herself being with animals as her family, thinking that she would be happier with her lion, pelican, and buffalo friends. In between paragraphs, the reader learns various names of animals written in a creative and very interesting way, and of how special and important it is to be with family.

 

 

Internalizing “Desiderata” During The COVID-19 Lockdown

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I am not keen on reading thick books and novels. It bores me, and I find it a waste of my time. I do, however, love to read and re-read self-help and self-development books and poems. One prose that got me through this pandemic lockdown was Max Ehrmann’s DESIDERATA. This poem was about living life with high ideals while practicing ethical values along the way. It was said that the poem was a lesson for her daughter back then, which became a timeless piece of written art that has a very powerful meaning that will never go out of date.

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How The Coronavirus Pandemic Is Affecting The Book Industry

Perhaps we all know by now that the current situation of the pandemic is affecting every individual’s life. There is a challenge in the supply of food and other necessities. There is a complicated situation concerning the loss of jobs and shutting down businesses. Small enterprises and large ones suffer from respective cutbacks as well. Therefore, we can conclude that this global health crisis is obviously changing the economic status of the world. But in this article, we will try to discuss how this pandemic is also hurting the book industry.

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Authors

Perhaps we might have seen that some books are having their release dates changed. It might not seem a big deal for some book lovers out there. But for the authors, changing the release date makes a huge difference in their income. Aside from that, it takes a toll on their schedules, too, since most of their events are getting canceled. Obviously, this situation is upsetting and can entirely make authors emotionally and mentally exhausted. That is primarily on particular conditions such as authors of children’s books. Some of these writers only survive getting paid by doing keynotes and school visits. And now that there is a pandemic and that people are required to practice social distancing, authors like them can no longer work for an income.

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Publishers

On the publishers’ side, this pandemic situation affects them massively. Some people think that publishing companies since they do not require a large number of people can still operate. At some point, there are publishing companies that allow work from home. However, the challenge within the industry is not the workload, but instead, it is the publication. Since the world is focused on the global health crisis, it is entirely impossible to get any media attention for books right now. And not to mention the independent presses that only rely on indie-bookstores to sell, that is also an additional financial burden. That is because indie-books don’t stand very much of a chance compared to those well-published ones. There are some ways that publishers can work on book publicity since there are online events, book clubs, live streams, social media attention, and digital advertising. However, the whole process needs more than just a post, especially in an uncertain time of this pandemic.

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Bookshops

Thinking about the fact that this global health crisis is causing authors an emotional and mental breakdown, and leaving publishers with complicated marketing tasks, what is worst than being the seller of those books? Bookshops are struggling nowadays in selling whatever they have. And since all bookshops are required to close their stores, the demand and supply for the books are hanging on the line. But for a different vibe, some bookshops offer shipment and do curbside pickups for their online stores. Some book stores appreciate that although there is a pandemic, they are still inundated with orders, and people still want their book. However, the struggle of the book owners is the unexpected cancellations, unscheduled events, as well as prank buyers. That is the reason why some shops close completely.

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Disclaimer And Takeaway

Obviously, this pandemic situation is affecting a lot of industry, not just the book industry. Thus, this article means to imply that we should not be taking care of a specific industry more than the other ones because this situation complicates things in so many different ways. So if you think about it, this struggle only proves that the Coronavirus pandemic is a serious thing that will eventually make us work on new standard ways.

Books To Read To Instill The Love Of Reading In Your Kids

Teaching kids the value of money was discussed in the 2017 Barefoot Reader Event. It is indeed necessary to explain it to your children at a young age, and you know what else is essential?– introducing to them the joys and wonders of reading. Not only does it help develop your child’s imagination and critical thinking skills, but it also shapes their vocabulary and communication.

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There’s no better way to introduce reading to your kids than reading books with them! Here are four books you can read to and with your kids to develop their love for reading.

How To Read A Story by Kate Messner

This picture book teaches us how to read a story. And it starts with you and your kid picking a book that you both like. What better way to start reading than to learn about reading, right? After reading activity, follow the steps with your children and get a chance to read another book with them.

The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle

This picture book has interactive pages where your child can poke his finger and follow what the caterpillar eats. Besides being highly engaging, it also teaches your kid counting, the life cycle of a butterfly, and moral values, like overeating and eating the right kind of food.

Do Not Open This Book by Michaela Muntean

Read the title of your child and ask them what you should do if the book says, “do not open this book.” This interactive and funny picture book stars Pig, a writer who’s trying to write his book while you are reading it. Accompany Pig as he puts his best effort to pen a masterpiece while you and your kid constantly “interrupt” him.

Mathilda by Roald Dahl

The best way to develop a love of reading in your children is to introduce to them this character who has a profound passion for books and reading: Mathilda. She’s not only super smart because she reads a lot, but she also has some powers! Do a shared reading with your older kids and have fun exploring Mathilda’s life in the pages. As an added activity, you can watch its film adaptation after!

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Grab that book and start reading to and with your kids and enjoy the wonders on each page.

Books That Help Improve Relationships

                                                      

Our relationship with others is the most critical skill we can develop. At some point, there’s nothing we can accomplish that has any value if we don’t have anyone to share it with. Our relationship skills are the key for us to determine who to marry, who we befriend with, what job we get, how we connect with people, and many more. Here are the books that can help us improve our relationship with others.

 

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How To Win Friends And Influence People By Dale Carnegie

This book talks more about how we interact with people. It focuses on our objective to gain positive contribution to an individual. Its primary goal is to win a conversation and focus on the other person’s interest or the things they like to talk about. It is a book that allows us to know the importance of diverse personalities and perception.

 

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The Fred Factor by Mark Sanborn

This book talks about how a certain relationship can change over the course of altering one’s perception. It talks about how people should build a foundation for success. It focuses on understanding the value of loyalty and teamwork to be able to establish a firm basis of connection. Some valuable lessons you may find in the book are the 7 b’s, which include the following: be real, be interested, be a better listener, be emphatic, be honest, be helpful, and be prompt.

 

Never Eat Alone by Keith Ferrazzi

It is a book that promotes a positive relationship by focusing on helping others. Its primary goal is to teach us to build a network and use it as a stepping-stone in finding ways to help people become successful. It talks about how we value a new person in our lives and think of him as someone who will stay with us and will share a friendship for a lifetime.

 

The Science Of Likability By Patrick King

It is an influential book that talks about our relationship with others and how we affect them by thinking negatively. It is like we condition a certain person to attach the negative emotions we have so they can also feel the same negative vibe towards the other one. It goes the same as thinking positively about an individual. When you talk about a person’s positive characteristic, you encourage other people to feel positive about him as well.

 

Daring Greatly By Brene Brown

One main focus of this book is a person’s vulnerability. It talks about the different imperfections we have as a human. This book tells us more about what it takes to fight the fear of not being perfect enough for people that matter to us. It inspires us to do great on things that we love and convert our weakness into our source of strength.

 

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These inspirational relationship books are a great way of getting information on how we should treat other people. Not only those people whom we just met or those significant persons we love but also those people we surround ourselves with.

Books For Mothers Like Us – Journeying With God  

Five years ago, I started my spiritual journey by joining a group of women who meet together once a week studying God’s word and how to apply it in our daily lives.  The Bible is said to be God’s diary that He left to us so we will know Him more. It is a manual that could tell us how we should live our lives.    

 

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Why Book Reviews Are Important – Love It Barefoot

 

Life is never easy.  An unfathomed, exciting, and scary part of life is the uncertainty that revolves around it, how life has its highs and lows, the ups and downs.  But no matter where we are in that state, books are our sanctuary.

 

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Read To Happiness

Though we live our lives seeking ways to make life easier, we sometimes forget the toll it brings to our welfare.  The quest for happiness often takes a toll on our bodies, both physically and mentally.  We get tired and confused because of all the problems, and challenges life throws at us.  These times are when we seek advice to understand better and allow us to cope with the hardships of life.  We look for guides to direct us to where we want to be, how to be there, and when the right time is for everything.

 

Never Judge A Book Unless You Read What’s In-Between The Covers

Many of us seek books for inspiration, for advice, for answers.   But of course, we can’t just purchase and read any books on the shelves.  We can’t say what’s inside by merely looking at the titles printed on the cover.   What the book is in its entirety is not always what the cover conveys.  You must know what exactly are on those pages, not just the riveting book cover.

Those who make book reviews are the judge if the book is worth your time reading or if the book is written primarily for you.

 

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Book Reviews Can Sometimes Be Your Road Maps

Most of us read a wide array of books and read book reviews which offer an extensive selection of different point of views about books that share wisdom and insights about life.  Book review sites have a collection of a broad category of the book for users to be able to pick and choose what book they desire to read at the moment.  There are book reviews that are comprehensive and personal, wherein the people who wrote the reviews took their own time to read and understand every book to be able to provide other readers a subjective, yet relatable, review of every book.

 

Book review blogs provide users book reviews that deal with the personal welfare of an individual.   They sometimes categorize books depending on what it offers and who it caters.  It can be about books on mental health, spirituality, families and relationships, home guide, DIY stuff, and many more.

 

Readers will find reviews that may help them determine what books deal with the same problems or dilemmas they are feeling at the moment.  Book reviews will be essential for book lovers to have an idea of what book they want to read about.  Recommendations also come from these book reviews where the authors have specifically targeted those that would greatly benefit from reading a specific book depending on what topics or lessons a book contains between its covers.

 

Reviews are often insightful and educational, written to provide the users with a fresh take on topics that most matter.  Short but exciting reading for those who are looking for exciting things to casually read.

 

These book reviews will undeniably provide wisdom and insights for those who seek it, discussions about books written and designed to guide those who are lost and are looking for answers to the questions of life.

 

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Those who do book reviews should read and give their analysis barefoot, without the burden and without showing bias to offer the readers truthful and fair information.   What readers are looking for is a place of solace for their troubled minds, a place where they can find peace within the comfort of a book.