Suzie's story - Reading for Wellbeing

30 November 2022

[Image: The Dinner Guest at Usk Community Hub, Monmouthshire County Council]

Suzie from North Yorkshire told us about her experience of World Book Night. Suzie was gifted The Dinner Guest by BP Walter from the Reading for Wellbeing Virtual Book Group at York and Scarborough Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust.

Tell us a bit about yourself

I’m Suzie from North Yorkshire and I’m beginning to read for pleasure. Work-wise, amongst other things, I worked for a long time as a bus driver which I love. I have been a carer for a number of years now and I currently work part-time as an administrative assistant at York and Scarborough Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust; and I also work as a volunteer for the Youth Justice Service. I learned to ride a motorbike recently, I play the piano, love walking and seeing new places and trying new activities. I’m also learning Japanese.

Have you taken part in World Book Night before?

No, I haven’t. I wasn’t much of a reader until the pandemic and this was the first time I had taken part.

Which book did you receive this year and who gifted it to you?

The book was The Dinner Guest by BP Walter. It was given to me by our Reading for Wellbeing Virtual Book Group at York and Scarborough Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust.

How did you find the book?

Well reading it, the act of reading, really helped me to feel calm and gave me a sense of distance from the pressures of the day. It helped me relax and feel good. It also boosted my confidence as I am not a confident reader and am very slow, so I had a sense of achievement when I finished it.

How much do you usually read?

Before the pandemic I didn’t read, and when I did pick up a book I would take years to read it. During the pandemic though, our hospital Trust developed a reading for wellbeing virtual book group. I joined that, nervous that I wouldn’t be able to keep up with everyone else, but as we started with The Reading Agency’s Quick Reads it was manageable. That got me into the reading habit, and now we more or less read a full-length novel every other month, with a Quick Read in between. I guess I read every day now, and finish a novel every two months😊.

Did taking part in World Book Night change your perceptions of reading in any way?

Yes, I think being given a book is a real treat. The fact that it was specifically associated with World Book Night focussed my mind on reading during that night and the days/weeks surrounding it. It felt like I was being given something very special. Plus, it felt like maybe loads of other people might be reading along with me, which was a lovely thought, after we have all been separated from each other for so long during the pandemic. It felt like we were connected through reading. I liked this book and the genre of being a mystery, however I didn’t like the format. It has inspired me to look for more books in this genre until I can figure out what style/format I like.

This year, World Book Night gave away 84,000 books as part of the giveaway. Do you think books and reading are important?

I think reading is very important. You learn new words, new ideas and perspectives on the world through reading books. As you are creating the pictures in your own mind as well, I think the things you gain from reading go much deeper than if you were watching them on the TV or in a film. It helps you to play around with concepts and helps you look at your own life, through the characters’.

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