De-Stress Books


The dreaded time for college students is just around the corner: final exams week. For many of us, this is a time of lost sleep, caffeine jitters, heavy amounts of stress and anxiety, last minute assignments, fractured final papers, and frantic activity of all kinds. Luckily, New Rivers Press is here to help you calm your personal whirlwind of panic. This week, I will be sharing some of my top de-stress books to get your mind off that pile of unfinished assignments and study guides. While stress may be a natural reaction to finals week, too much can leave you frustrated, burnt out, and brain-fried. So, sit back with some of these (short) reads to help you rebalance your life and relieve the pressure of finals. Here are my book picks, as well as links to other great book and poetry lists from the web.

Best De-Stress Books:

Mr. Putter and Tabby series, by Cynthia Rylant

This was one of my favorite early chapter book series growing up, and still is. Each book is only 20-some pages, with charming illustrations by Arthur Howard.Every book features the day-to-day quiet adventures of senior citizen Mr. Putter and his devoted older cat Tabby. Many of the books also feature Mr. Putter’s wild neighbor, Mrs. Teaberry, and her excitable bulldog Zeke. These books are great for making us appreciate the little moments in life that make our lives so much more enjoyable, and the books themselves can bring a ray of sunshine to your day.

Skippyjon Jones series, by Judy Schachner

Skippyjon Jones is the most adventurous Siamese cat you will ever meet—especially his Chihuahua alter-ego self, El Skippito, a sword-fighter of epic proportions. This heartwarming story tells of Skippyjon Jones’s bold adventures into his closet, and his own imagination, as he battles banditos of all shapes and sizes. This series reminds us of the positive power of creativity, and that sometimes all you need is a world of your own to escape to.

Garfield cartoon series, by Jim Davis

Full of sarcasm and wit, this long-running series follows Garfield, his owner Jon, and their dog Odie. We see many moments of daily humor, from Jon’s failed dates to Odie’s overzealous affections and Garfield’s relationships with creatures of all sorts. Garfield’s pointed humor and laid-back style give us all a reminder to wind down, drink some coffee, and take a nice nap.

George’s Marvelous Medicine, by Roald Dahl

In true Roald Dahl fashion, this story features a wacky misadventure and magical occurrences. After being stuck with his cranky and intimidating grandmother, George mixes her up a new medicine using everything he can find in the house, from antifreeze to gin and paint. When he gives it to his grandma, unexpected things happen, much to the surprise of his parents when they finally return home. While a little bit darker, this story is unusual and interesting enough to grab your attention away from any impending classwork.

The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, by Sherman Alexie

This book used comics before it was cool. Sherman Alexie tells the story of Arnold Jr., a Native American living on a reservation near Spokane, WA. He is smart, but extremely dorky, and he is also a cartoon artist. He tells the story of going to a nearby white school with humor, wit, and insights into the harsh realities of being a tiny minority in white America. The hilarious illustrations, created by Ellen Forney, add layers of depth and comedy to even serious moments in Arnold’s life. This book is a quick and easy read, but the content and craft behind Alexie’s writing will have you thinking about it long after you’ve finished the book. The award-winning novel is a great combination of humor and insightful commentary on the world as Arnold views it.


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