Book Reviews Over 50s Lifestyle

Reading & Relaxation the perfect remedy for stress

July 22, 2022

If you are feeling anxious or stressed open your favourite book and take time to read. A 2009 study from the University of Sussex revealed that reading for as little as 6 minutes can reduce stress by up to 68% and is more effective than any other stress relievers such as listening to music (61% reduction) or going for a walk (42% reduction).

Researchers concluded that stress is reduced when reading because reading:

  • helps distract the brain from anxious thoughts
  • reduces heart rate and muscle tension

“It really doesn’t matter what book you read, by losing yourself in a thoroughly engrossing book you can escape from the worries and stresses of the everyday world and spend a while exploring the domain of the author’s imagination.”

Dr. David Lewis, a cognitive neuropsychologist who conducted the study

I’ve been taking a break from social media and blogging mainly because there is quite a bit happening in my life at the moment and I just don’t have enough hours in the day. Although there are some exciting changes happening we have had some stressful moments and one of my favourite ways to reduce my stress and anxiety is reading. Where would we be without a good book?

Some books which I’ve enjoyed and would like to recommend for this month are:

The Lost Flowers of Alice Hart is a debut novel by Holly Ringland.

The book has had mixed reviews and whilst some of the subject matter around domestic violence there is also a story of secrets, the language of flowers, the stories we tell ourselves to survive and finding one’s place in the world

The House of Silk – Anthony Horowitz

I loved Sherlock the television series  starring Benedict Cumberbatch as Sherlock Holmes and Martin Freeman as Doctor John Watson, I wondered what The House of Silk would be like. I totally enjoyed The House of Silk. Authorised by the Arthur Conan Doyle Estate, Anthony Horowitz has brought Sherlock and Dr Watson back to life. As the creator and writer of the television series Foyles War, Anthony has also written episodes for Midomer Murders, Poirot and Murder in Mind. I knew I would enjoy his work.

Magpie Murders – Anthony Horowitz

I read the book after seeing the television series and enjoyed both.

Book Lovers – Emily Henry

A great ‘holiday read’ whether Summer or Winter. The storyline is predictable but it was just the book to lose myself in and not have to think too hard.

Book Club

Our Book Club meetings have been a bit hit and miss as we’ve all had ‘life happening’ and it has been hard to meet up. We did finally have our meeting to discuss our latest Jane Austen book, Sense & Sensibility. Personally, it wasn’t my favourite book compared to Persuasion and Pride and Prejudice which we have previously read.

I’m not sure of the reason for my dislike. Perhaps it was that at the moment it is difficult to concentrate or perhaps because it was Jane Austen’s first book. I may re-read Sense & Sensibility again and see if my view is the same.

My Book Club members had a different view and after our Book Club discussion, I came to view the book differently and then I watched the 1995 adaptation starring Emma Thompson and Kate Winslet. Loved! Loved! Loved! it and will now re-read the book with a more open mind.

What I do love is that we can all have an opinion and no one is really right or wrong.

There has certainly been an uproar around the new Netflix Persuasian! I’ve not seen it but I belong to a couple of Jane Austen Facebook Groups (J A purists) and I can’t believe the number of negative comments almost on a daily basis. I might just have to watch it to see what all the fuss is about. For me though, you can always switch off and not keep watching – can’t you?

Have you seen it? I’d love to hear your comments if you have.

The Ladies Guide to Fortune Hunting – Sophie Irwin

I found this nod to society and finding a husband in Regency England very entertaining. It was recommended by my friend Donna a co-host of WOYBS. A fun read.

A whip-smart debut that follows the adventures of an entirely unconventional heroine who throws herself into the London Season to find a wealthy husband. But the last thing she expects is to find love…

Good Reads

What have you been reading lately? Why not join us at What’s On Your Bookshelf and share it with us? You can link up your post below.

What’s On Your Bookshelf is a monthly link-up co-hosted by Debbie (Deb’s World), Jo (And Anyways), Sue (Women Living Well After 50) and Donna (Retirement Reflections). #whatsonyourbookshelfchallenge

What's on your bookshelf?

Donna, Jo, Debbie and I are delighted to co-host What’s On Your Bookshelf? Link Up. To join us and share what you have been reading, you can share in the comments, pingback with your own post, or use the handy InLInkz bar below. Please be sure to tag #whatsonyourbookshelfchallenge. We look forward to hearing your thoughts as well as your book suggestions!

Happy Reading!

Sue Loncaric

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Women Living Well After 50

Living Life Your Way


  • Reply Toni Pike July 22, 2022 at 10:15

    Hi Sue, I agree – reading is the perfect way to relax and it’s good for your brain. I loved all your books, and also Emma Thompson’s version of Sense and Sensibility. Toni x

    • Reply Sue Loncaric July 23, 2022 at 08:26

      It is definitely my go to when I’m feeling stressed, Toni as I can get lost in a book. Of course I also have my exercise as a go to which we all know reduces stress. Thanks for your comment and enjoy your weekend.xx

  • Reply Retirement Reflections July 22, 2022 at 12:00

    Hi, Sue – I’m so glad that you will give Sense and Sensibility a second chance. I LOVED the book, and am snuggled up watching the Emma Thompson movie version right now. Good luck with all that is all that is on you plate. PS – I am also glad that you enjoyed A Ladies’ Guide to Fortune Hunting. Such a fun read!!

    • Reply Sue Loncaric July 23, 2022 at 08:27

      Hi Donna, as I mentioned in our Book Club discussion I think when I read the book my mind was elsewhere and you really need to give Jane the time don’t you? A Ladies’ Guide to Fortune Hunting was certainly a fun read – who knew there were different curtsies for different ranks and titles LOL 🙂

  • Reply Lydia C. Lee July 22, 2022 at 16:53

    I’m keen to read House of Silk because he sort of makes fun of it in one of his Daniel Hawthorne novels. If you haven’t read any of those, they’re hilarious. They really gave me a boost in lockdown. He’s so clever. I’ve downloaded the audible of Alice Hart as a friend raved about it but the cover puts me off a little…we shall see…

    • Reply Sue Loncaric July 23, 2022 at 08:30

      Hi Lydia, I haven’t read any Daniel Hawthorne novels but after reading House of Silk I will try to read some. I really enjoyed House of Silk. Alice Hart was either raved about or reviled. I enjoyed it but there were moments I just felt – ‘let’s get on with this’ and it didn’t quite reach the mark. Still worth a recommendation though. x

  • Reply Debbie July 22, 2022 at 17:37

    So many great books and reviews Sue. You are so right that reading reduces stress and lately I’ve had to resort to listening to books due to an eye issue – it has helped me pass the time! I’ve got a few of these ready for my upcoming trip and look forward to reading them. I also loved the Sense and Sensibility movie and it brought the book alive for me as I was struggling a bit! I love our linkup and how we all have something different to offer. Thanks again!

    • Reply Sue Loncaric July 23, 2022 at 08:31

      Hi Deb! I enjoy audio books driving to and from Brisbane. An hour each way gives me time to get into a book and lately it has been our Book Club selections. I love our link up too! So much variety and recommendations to choose from. Thanks for co-hosting my friend. x

      • Reply Debbie July 23, 2022 at 16:00

        So many new books to discover!

  • Reply rawsonjl July 22, 2022 at 20:03

    I think that some people just love to have something to complain about so if they turn off the show and walk away they can not longer do that. LOL. I don’t get it myself but I feel like the more I sit back and just listen the more people seem to love to air their grievances. I find reading is a great way to loose myself and calm my anxiety; I think it’s also a reason I can read in the car and not get sick. I’m able to tune out everything around me and just dive into the story.

    • Reply Sue Loncaric July 23, 2022 at 08:32

      I know, Joanne, I was getting a little ‘over it all’. I’m going to watch the movie with an open mind and not compare it to the book. Reading is a great way to tune out of the world, but I’m not sure about reading in the car. I haven’t done that since a child when I would get car sick LOL 🙂 x

  • Reply Anne July 23, 2022 at 08:05

    Thanks Sue for the great reviews Yes reading is not only a relaxer it’s an escape from the everyday. I’ve just read Indira Naidoo The Space Between the Stars, so beautifully written, very engaging.

    • Reply Sue Loncaric July 23, 2022 at 08:33

      Hi Anne, thanks for your lovely comment and also the recommendation for Indira Naidoo’s book. I will definitely check that one out. I remember her from SBS. Take care and hope all is well in your world. xx

  • Reply Suzanne@PictureRetirement July 23, 2022 at 11:06

    Sue, I loved Persuasion, with Dakota Johnson, but if you consider yourself a ‘purist’ you might not appreciate the ‘modern take’ on the classic tale. I found it fascinating to watch. Thanks for the book recommendations.

    • Reply Sue Loncaric July 23, 2022 at 12:13

      I haven’t seen Persuasian but it is on my agenda hopefully for this weekend. I will have an open mind and I’m not really a ‘purist’ so hopefully I will enjoy it. x

  • Reply Denyse Whelan Blogs July 23, 2022 at 14:24

    I have Sense and Sensibility ready for another viewing as a DVD after I finish another viewing of Pride and Prejudice…1995 version. Cannot “read” the books but can enjoy the nuances of times then via their visual adaptation. I have around 5 books on the go Audible wise for driving in the car, from a repeat of Lost Flowers of Alice Hart, to Bittersweet by Susan Cain (wonderful!!) and The Patient Doctor by a young Australian man who became a doctor after having cancer and knowing that the medical profession needed more caring doctors! He is lovely. We have connected on twitter which is fun. I hope things are going OK with you too Sue. Thanks for the link up. Denyse

    • Reply Sue Loncaric July 24, 2022 at 16:03

      Hi Denyse I don’t think I had actually watched S&S before but I loved it. I find ‘reading’ the books challenging and often find I understand them much better after our book club discussions and if I listen on Audio. x

  • Reply Denyse Whelan Blogs July 23, 2022 at 14:33

    Hi again Sue, I did leave a comment but unsure where it went. Thank you for the link up, Denyse

  • Reply Jo July 24, 2022 at 07:53

    I loved those Horiwitz books – he is sooo clever. I also love how our discussions can have us all seeing the same book through different eyes and perspectives.

    • Reply Sue Loncaric July 24, 2022 at 16:02

      Yes I didn’t realise Horiwitz wrote some of Midsomer Murders and other shows. I really enjoy his books. I also agree that it’s great to hear other’s opinions about a book and understanding their thoughts. Love our book club and this link up! x

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  • Reply Jennifer Jones July 24, 2022 at 17:44

    Hi Sue I loved the Lost Flowers of Alice Hart. I was astonished to hear that there’s a new Netflix Persuasion coming out. I really don’t keep up with these things at all. Not sure If I would want to watch it as I’m not sure how they could improve on perfection. I’ve added your books to my list as they look like books I would enjoy

    • Reply Sue Loncaric July 26, 2022 at 04:30

      I really enjoyed Lost Flowers too, Jen. There seems to be quite a few period dramas at the moment. I will watch Persuasian with an open mind. I only just discovered that Sanditon was a Jane Austen book! Hope all well in your world. xx

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