Reading for wellbeing

Reading for pleasure is good for you

Reading for pleasure has been found to have a profound impact on wellbeing. It really doesn’t matter what you read, only that you escape everyday life from time to time by losing yourself in a book, exploring the world of the author’s imagination. Reading for just six minutes reduces stress levels by two thirds, easing muscle tension and taking the strain off the heart: a bigger effect than the best known stressbuster, listening to music.  Losing yourself in a book has been described as the ultimate relaxation, comparable to an altered state of consciousness.

Reading for pleasure for just 30 minutes a week is associated with increased life satisfaction, higher self-esteem, better sleep, more creativity and happiness. It helps us rediscover all of who we are as we recognise feelings and situations faced by characters, reminding us of our common humanity and helping us remember and reconnect to all that we are and not just those aspects of ourselves we feel reduced to by the doubts and anxieties of the moment.

Reading also helps people socialise more effectively. With a broader vocabulary, more practice empathising with characters in fiction or biographies and more interesting things to talk about, reading can help people connect more easily and deeply with others.


"Let us read, and let us dance; these two amusements will never do any harm to the world." ~ Voltaire


How to find good things to read

The University Library offers a large collection of fiction together with a wide variety of biographies and a huge number of books on subjects that might interest you but are not studying.  You can find our fiction books, including a selection of prize-winning literature, between shelfmarks 810 - 820.72 and a great many more at shelfmark 823.  You can find them all by heading up the wooden staircase from the Atrium to the second floor and turning left.  We have even more fiction available online as ebooks and through the creative writing magazines available online.

Why not start with this list of prize-winning literature

Portsmouth Libraries offer a public library membership to all students.  They offer a huge fiction collection both in print and online.  You can sign up online and read ebooks straight away through their website. To borrow printed books, you need to register in person and show proof of identity and term-time address (your student card and any bill in your name will do).  You can be an active member of the public library both in your home town and in the town where you are studying at university.  You can find the location of every public library branch online, email the public library service on or call them on +44(0)23 9268 8057.

Project Gutenberg offers tens of thousands of out-of-copyright ebooks available for free.

Ebook platforms such as Amazon’s Kindle often offer classic fiction ebooks for free that you can read online or after downloading the free Kindle app.