Passionate about books, our Braintree clothing designer, Elaine Frost, is also a writer, and she is currently working on her first novel. (It's bound to be a bestseller, just like the pieces she designs!) This month we thought we'd get her expert tips on how to get back into reading if it's slipped off your radar. Over to Elaine... get back into reading As well as being great entertainment, reading is well documented as having many health and well-being benefits, such as Alzheimer's and Dementia prevention, stress relief, as well as improving your general knowledge and vocabulary skills. So if you've lost the reading habit over the years, it is well worth getting back in to.  

How To Rediscover Reading

Most of us today live with hectic schedules, and have to find niches within the day to find reading time. Here are some helpful tips: 1. Read before you go to sleep. Experts suggest if you have trouble relaxing at night and dropping off to sleep, read a traditional, printed, paper book, rather than on an electronic device. Of course, if you’re reading a real ‘page-turner’, chances are you’ll be fighting sleep to keep reading into the night! 2. Turn off the TV, your phone, your iPad, and every other time-sucking device you have. Without them, I don’t know anyone who couldn’t spare 20, 30, or even 60 minutes. It’s amazing, without distractions how much you can read in a short space of time. 3. If you’ve got a long commute to work, you’re lucky if you’re a reader. With your head stuck in a book, your journey will fly by, but be careful you don’t miss your stop! If you have a long drive to make, try an audio book. A traffic jam will become an unexpected delight. You could also try an audio book at the gym. 4. An obvious one is to read in any waiting situation: at the doctors, the dentist, the airport, the laundrette, the vets, sitting in the car waiting for the kids to come out of school – the list is endless. So always keep your book handy. 5. Join a book club, or find a like-minded group of friends and create one. It’s a great excuse to get together with friends, share not only your thoughts over the same book, but probably a bottle of wine too! get back into reading

You've got to read this

With all that said, the next question, is what to read? Here are a few books I’ve read (and loved) recently, to get your reading juices flowing:

For Nature Lovers: The Bees, by Laline Paull

A fictional account of life within a beehive, told from the point of view of an extraordinary worker bee. It’s conceptual, unique, and thought provoking, and if you didn’t already love them, you will see bees from a whole different level after reading this. If you were a fan of Watership Down, you’ll love this.

For Fashion Lovers: Always Pack A Party Dress, by Amanda Brooks

Advice and anecdotes from super-stylish, woman about town, fashion director, socialite, and ex-New Yorker, Amanda Brooks. Her fashion successes and failures are honestly recounted, in a light-hearted book that you can dip in and out of, and how life in the fast lane, became life in the happier, family-orientated, slow lane. get back into reading

For Thriller Lovers: Girl On A Train, by Paula Hawkins

My kind of story. A page-turner, that doesn’t give away ‘whodunnit’, until the end. I felt sympathy, frustration, and horror with all the characters. A great, entertaining read which I devoured at record speed. If you loved Gone Girl, you've got to read this.

For Modern Literature Lovers: The Assassination of Margaret Thatcher, by Hilary Mantel

A collection of contemporary, short stories by the multi-award winner, literary Queen, Hilary Mantel. Her serious, yet darkly humorous, dense stories, reveal the fears of everyday life (without actually killing off our ex-PM!). It’s a great lead in to everything else she has written, Wolf Hall, Bring Up The Bodies, Giving Up The Ghosts, to name a few.

For Mystery Lovers and Carers: Elizabeth Is Missing, by Emma Healy

Told from the viewpoint of an elderly lady suffering from dementia. She has no short-term memory, but an incredibly detailed long-term one. Against the odds she manages to solve the mystery of her sister disappearing seventy years ago, as well as the whereabouts of her friend, Elizabeth. Above all, I took away from this book, a real sense of how it must feel to live with dementia, and that I need to keep reading to prevent it! get back into reading If these suggestions still don’t inspire your reading habit, then best-seller lists are a good place to start. Every bookshop, or online bookstore will have their own listing, and these are a good place to browse. The chances are there’ll be a popular choice which others before you have liked. The ‘official’ one is The Sunday Times Bestsellers which as well as fiction, includes biographies and factual books, if they’re your thing instead of fiction. You’ll find that list in the ‘Culture’ section of the Sunday Times every week. The Man Booker prize longlist, and shortlist always provide quality thought-provoking literature, and an excellent source for the best reading list. And if, like me, you're reading your way through the fiction classics, this great list by The Guardian, provides the top 100 greatest novels of all time.   Happy reading!   We'd love to hear any of your suggestions of great reads, or how you managed to fit more reading into your hectic schedules. Let us know below, tweet us, or tell us on Facebook. Elaine x

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