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 has a small collection of fiction and 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 all together on the second floor, up the wooden staircase from the Atrium, in author order at shelfmark 820.72.

Ebook platforms such as Amazon’s Kindle often offer classic fiction ebooks for free that you can read on your laptop or other existing devices after downloading the free app or through your web browser.

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

Portsmouth public libraries offer membership to all students. 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). They offer a huge fiction collection both in print and online.


Public library website

Click here to open the Portsmouth public libraries website (depending on your browser setup, it will open in a new browser tab or window.

Click the “Join the library” link to sign up for ebook access online and for joining current instructions if you want to borrow printed books. You can join at any library branch. On the “Join the library” page, click on the “About us” pull-down menu at the top of the screen and choose Library opening hours for a list of library branches. Click on the branch that is nearest you for full details of where they are located and when they are open.

If you have any questions or need any help finding or joining the public library, you can ask any member of library staff or call the public library directly on (023) 9281 9311.