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Guest blogger: Laura Boon

19 April 2020

Romance reading in the time of corona

I admit my heading is a terrible play on Gabriel Garcia Marquez’s novel Love in the Time of Cholera. It’s one of very few modern classics that actually qualifies as a romance (trope: second chance at love). Given the times we’re living through, I haven’t been able to get the (amended) title out of my head for weeks.

Reading is my defence against the grim news headlines bombarding us from all corners of the globe. With a heap more time on my hands than usual, I’ve curled up on my couch with a paperback or my Kindle in hand and departed for happier times and places, populated by sassy heroines and swoon-worthy heroes. When I finally lift my head to pat my dog or make a cup of coffee, I feel better. Much better.

Science is proving what ARRA’s members have always known. Reading is good for heart, soul, body and mind. A Sussex University study proved that reading can reduce stress by up to 68%. It also increases empathy and intelligence—I don’t know about you, but I didn’t learn everything I need to know in kindergarten; I learnt it on the pages of many books. Reading also helps reduce depression, and strengthens existing neural pathways and creates new ones, improving short-term memory and recall capabilities.

The Mayo Clinic even says that creating a bedtime reading ritual can help you sleep better … hmm. I’m not sure about that one. I’ve never been able to put down a book if I’m reading at bedtime. Are you also familiar with the morning-after-reading hangover?

When we are under stress, it can be hard to read. We feel fidgety and jumpy and find it hard to concentrate. When this happens, I try a new genre or author. Sometimes you just need a change of pace to get you settled comfortably in your favourite chair. ARRA has been fantastic at ferreting out legitimate free reads and highlighting them on the members’ loop. A free book is a great way to try a new author, and sharing them is a community benefit. By the way, they are also sharing puzzles—another activity that is really good for our brains. We may all qualify for MENSA by the time this pandemic passes.

So … read more. It’s good for you, and it’s good for those around you. And it’s good for the authors who write the stories you love. And if anyone accuses you of being frivolous or suggest you do something more ‘productive’ with your time: smirk. You’re going to live a happier, healthier longer life than they are.

If you want to know more about the health benefits of reading, try these articles from Business Insider and Real Simple.

PS: If you’re thinking about giving Love in the Time of Cholera a whirl, it’s ideal for those who like long books and a Latin turn of phrase.

Laura Boon was a romance reader long before she became a romance writer. It’s still her favourite pastime, especially with a cuppa and a chocolate to hand. Her favourite genres are contemporary, historical and paranormal, but she’ll try just about everything. Except dinosaur romance. She was named ARRA Debut Romance Author of the Year in 2018. Her most recent release is the ebook novella Lion Dancing for Love. You can buy it from Amazon or your regular online bookseller.

You can find Laura here: Website | Facebook | Twitter

Lion Dancing for Love

His love died. Hers cheated. Can two broken hearts learn to trust again?

Licking her wounds after a bad relationship, San Diego accountant Caitlyn Summers travels to Willow Springs to help her friend gear up for the annual Maple Sugar Ball. She isn’t planning on staying long, but one encounter with the delicious Corey Duncan has her re-evaluating her plans.

Corey swore off love when his wife Annie died from breast cancer. Caitlyn is too young, too citified, and vibrates with a passion and energy that will upend the safe, comfortable rhythm of his life. Corey has to choose between playing it safe and taking a risk on love. Caitlyn needs to find the patience to let Corey lead. If not, the Maple Sugar Ball might end in a sticky mess, instead of a slow dance with the man who has captured her heart.

  1. E Campion permalink
    20 April 2020 11:08 am

    Wonderful piece Laura! I like your advice about changing genres. Stay well 🙂

  2. Pamela Cook permalink
    19 April 2020 6:52 pm

    Couldn’t agree more Laura. Reading is a wonderful escape and with the added health benefits you’ve mentioned we should all be going more of it!

  3. 19 April 2020 10:10 am

    Love it,. Thanks.

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