Reading and Stress Reduction: 10 Books that Inspire Me


stress reductionI love to read. Although once in a while I’ll read something non-fiction, I tend to read novels. My husband doesn’t quite understand it. He reads primarily non-fiction for the purpose of gaining knowledge. He considers novels as a pure form of entertainment. But there are so many benefits to reading. One of them is stress reduction.

I love stories. But not just any story. There is something inspirational about a character that triumphs over their adversity–that shows courage, strength, self-control and does the right thing, even when it’s hard.

The author of one of my favorite trilogies, The Muirwood Trilogy, wrote a blog post that describes exactly how I feel about stories.

Reading is a way for me to escape. When I’m going through a difficult time, instead of soothing myself with a drink or other things, I turn to stories. Somehow, I think that if Frodo can get the ring back to Mordor, or if Harry Potter can overcome The Dark Lord, I can have the strength and courage to overcome my trials.

So here is a list of 10 books that inspire me:

Not in any particular order…

1. Pride and Prejudice (by Jane Austen): There is something about going back to a place where manners and self-control have value. I love that Darcy is so much more than it seems on the outside. He lets go of social expectations and pressures and becomes the ultimate hero. I love that Elizabeth and Darcy overcome their weaknesses to realize that they are the perfect match.

2. Lord of The Rings Trilogy (by J.R.R. Tolkien): Epic fantasy is not my favorite genre, but this story is so gripping. It has so many characters that show courage and sacrifice. My favorite scene in the entire trilogy is when Samwise Gamgee carries Frodo up the mountain because his friend has no more strength. His loyalty is something to emulate.

3. The Muirwood Trilogy (by Jeff Wheeler): This is another epic fantasy. I absolutely love the theme that someone who may seem worthless at first can become the greatest of all. We all have potential inside of us, whether we see it or not. Even though this is not a romance, it has the best romantic tension that I have ever read. Tension makes for great romance, not smut.

4. The Harry Potter Series (by J.K. Rowling): One of the main themes of this series is the power of love. This series is my all time favorite!

5. Between Shades of Gray (by Ruta Sepetys): This book is about the forced relocation of the Lithuanians by Stalin during World War II. Some of the things they had to go through are not easy to read, but this book has stuck with me through the years. It shows the unconquerable human spirit.

6. Edenbrooke (by Julianne Donaldson): Some books leave deep impressions and some are just fun and take you away to another world. This is a true escapist book with one of the best love letters ever!

7. The Lunar Chronicles (by Marissa Meyer): So far the first two books have come out, Cinder and Scarlet. Everyone likes a fairy tale and there are so many re-tellings out there, but this series is quite original. Again, I love the theme of the underdog. Everyone has potential and those who seem worthless might have the most potential of all.

8. A Tale of Two Cities (by Charles Dickens): A lot of people might not consider this a favorite of Dickens, but it was the first classic book I read and the sacrifice of one man so that another can have happiness has stuck with me for years.

9. Les Miserables (by Victor Hugo): I have to admit, I haven’t read the book. But I love the musical! There is so much oppression and misery in the world. The ability to rise above it and become better than your surroundings is truly inspirational.

10. My Story (by Elizabeth Smart): This book is difficult to read because it tells of Elizabeth Smart’s experience in captivity after being kidnapped from her bedroom at age 14. She underwent some horrific experiences. The thing that I love about this book, however, is her resilient spirit. Her ability to rise above her circumstances and find a happy and fulfilling life. The love of her family and her faith got her through. I actually read this while I was going through a very difficult time in my life. It inspired me!

I could go on and on. There are so many books, authors and stories that I love. I had a really hard time determining what to put on this list.

Now it’s your turn. What are some of your favorite stress-busting books?