Reading is always time well spent

Thanks to a day of unseasonably warm weather, I was reminded of the simple pleasure of reading.

On a recent Sunday afternoon, I had very sensible, very productive plans. My goal was to clean out the home office, organize some files, straighten some shelves and on and on.

Being a few days after Thanksgiving, it seemed like something the crew of the Mayflower would approve of if they lived in an era of paper clutter.

When I stepped outside and it felt like a spring day in the park instead of late November, I ditched my cleaning plans.

I plunked a chair in the middle of the yard and just read a book for a few hours. And even though no cleaned room emerged from this behavior, I felt like I had a productive day.

Thinking about it, I was right - it had been productive. The productivity came in the change in my mood. I felt relaxed and calm.

Sometimes I think libraries focus too much on the practical side of reading.

Just as bench presses and squats strengthen the muscles, reading certainly strengthens the brain.

But more than that, reading is a pleasure.

This is something to keep in mind during the holiday season, which can be wonderful but also notoriously stressful.

We can be reminded of the loss of a loved one. Or we can put a lot of pressure on ourselves to make the holiday season perfect for everyone.

There are a lot of great articles out there on managing holiday stress. Some recommendations you'll come across are good for the whole year.

But one thing I'd recommend is taking some time to read. It can be a solitary activity, giving you a break from the crowd at a family gathering.

Or you can read to a friend or a relative, making it a social activity.

Too often, you hear from schools and libraries how reading is good for you, as if activities are foods and reading is a vegetable you don't like but still eat because it is so good for you.

Think of reading as a healthy dessert—good for you, but very delicious.

—from The Sandspur, December 10, 2014