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National Read a Book Day at Refresh!

It’s National Read a Book Day! On this day, the 6th of September, every year both adults and children are encouraged to take a break and set aside some time to read a book.

Reading is incredibly beneficial, both professionally and personally. It can help to improve our vocabulary and writing skills, develop our analytical thinking, increase our knowledge and help with focus and concentration. Not only does reading develop our skillsets, but it‘s also great for our wellbeing, reducing stress and aiding relaxation. It can even improve sleep and prevent cognitive decline!

There are a few avid readers amongst the team, so if you’re in need of some inspiration for a book to read, see below for some of our best recommendations:

Elizabeth, account manager – A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini

“To me, the most striking thing about this book is the way it makes you feel. This is the first and only novel to bring me to tears.

“The story follows the lives of two Afghan women whose paths interconnect. Hosseini wrote the book after a trip to Kabul where he saw the resilience of women whose voices, faces, and their incredible stories of survival were always with him as he wrote this piece.

“Hosseini is such an incredible storyteller that when you read this book, you too can hear those voices and see those faces. I read this book quite a few years ago now but the way it made me feel and what I learnt when reading it has stuck with me and has been my favourite book ever since.”

Lottie, senior account manager – A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman

“I don’t think I’ve ever read something that’s had the ability to make me laugh and cry so much in equal measures! The main character in the book, Ove, reminds me of a very funny grumpy old man in my life (Grandad Dave!), especially with the similarity and accuracy of descriptions of certain mannerisms and behaviours. It has sadder themes of loss and loneliness running underneath, but overall it’s a lovely story about love and friendship (and finding it in unexpected places.)

“In terms of why I like to read, I find it’s one of the only things that makes my brain focus on one thing, especially when it’s something really interesting or gripping. It’s a nice break from the business of day-to-day life (and the PR world!) and I love that, whatever you’re reading, you usually also absorb new knowledge or are made to think about things from a different perspective.”

Lucy, associate director – A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara

“I love reading, always have since I was little. I read pretty much every night before bed for at least 30 minutes – it really helps me switch off and for my brain signals that it’s time to think about sleep. I prefer fiction and what I love most about reading is that it forces you to be creative and imagine the world and characters in your head; I really like the thought that two people could read exactly the same book yet have completely different pictures in their head about what things/people look like.

“One of the best books I’ve read in the past few years is A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara. I don’t think a book has ever stuck with me like it has. I love books that could be described as ‘character studies’ and this is the ultimate one for me. A beautifully written book about four friends navigating their 20s/30s in New York City but not for the faint hearted – it explores a lot of pretty traumatic subjects but despite this, it’s become one of the most critically acclaimed books of the past decade and I can see why. Might be time for a re-read.”

Danielle, account executive – The Silent Patient by Alex Michaelides

“I must admit that I’m not a big reader, but one book that did manage to captivate me is ‘The Silent Patient’ by Alex Michaelides. The psychological thriller is narrated by a criminal psychologist, Theo, who has waited a long time for the opportunity to work with Alicia. Alicia hasn’t spoken a word since shooting her husband in the face five times. His determination to get her to talk and unravel the mystery of why she shot her husband takes him down a twisting path into his own motivation.

“I read this during the pandemic and from the moment that I picked it up, I could barely put it down. I pride myself on my ability to predict what’s going to happen next but I did not see the twist in this one coming!”

Curved bookcase in a library, filled with books

Claire, account manager – The First to Die at the End by Adam Silvera

“This is the prequel to the fictional book ‘they both die in the end’ – both are just as good as one another, but I’ve just finished ‘The First to Die at the End’ and, wow. You know it’s a good book when you shed a tear at the end!

“Both books follow different characters through a similar story line and each character gives you a different perspective on the same scenario – it makes you really think about the fact no two people will see the exact same perspective, even if they’re being faced with the same thing. The story focuses on a future where people are notified that they’re going to die, on the day they die – this ultimately encourages the characters to live their last days on earth to the full. Reading the book makes you realise that you should live every day to the full and truly embrace every opportunity you get in life.

“My love for reading has really flourished since the start of the pandemic. I tend to stick to fictional books as they really help me to switch off and just focus on the storyline – there’s no opportunity for daydreaming or scrolling aimlessly through social media when I’m reading, which is why I love it!”

Laura, managing director –  Harry Potter and The Philosopher’s Stone by J. K. Rowling

“My favourite books of all time are the Harry Potter series – I like all of them but particularly ‘The Philosopher’s Stone’, as it’s the first introduction to his magical world.

“I wish I had the headspace to dare to think of half the things J.K. Rowling did. I’m now reading them with my eldest and she’s as in love with the books as me.”

Naomi, senior account manager – The ‘Orphan X’ series by Gregg Hurwitz

“A series of books that I particularly enjoyed reading in the last few years are the Orphan X series by Gregg Hurwitz. The books are centred around a man who was taken from a group foster home as a child and trained as an off-the-books government assassin.

“The series is brilliantly written and within a matter of pages I was absorbed. I love reading and always have done. It’s such a great option for escaping reality for a few hours and I found that this series of books were straightforward enough to read that it was very much generating the scenes for me in my head so it became relaxation rather than another task to concentrate on. This series is definitely one to throw into your reading list as a break from more heavy-going, technical novels which are great for broadening your vocabulary, but really require some concentration!”

Happy National Read a Book Day from Refresh!

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