Thrive by IU Health

March 01, 2024

Books, Nooks, and Kindles: While they pass the time, they read

Books, Nooks, and Kindles: While they pass the time, they read

Whether they are in a hospital bed or sitting in the waiting room, patients and family members pass the time with a favorite hobby - reading. Here’s a look at what is popular.

By TJ Banes, IU Health Senior Journalist,

Sarah J. Maas, David Grann, and Colleen Hoover were some of the top-selling authors in 2023. There was also an eclectic mix of favorite reads at IU Health hospitals.

Laura Andrew passed the time at IU Health Simon Cancer Center turning the pages of Kelly Rimmer’s “The Things we Cannot Say.” The love story focuses on a Russian refugee during WWII.

“I like historical fiction,” said Andrew. One of her favorite authors is Isabel Allende, whose novels are sometimes based on her personal experiences and pay homage to the lives of women.

Author Tom Clancy is a favorite for patient Robert Lane. Clancy is best known for his espionage storylines set after the Cold War. Clancy died in 2013, but his books continue.

Robert Lane reading on his kindle

“What some people don’t know is that his publishers hired ghostwriters to write in the ‘Clancy style’ after he died,” said Lane. “I especially like the Jack Ryan character.” The fictional character came to life from book to screen by such actors as Alec Baldwin (“The Hunt for Red October”), Harrison Ford (“Patriot Games”) and Ben Affleck (“The Sum of all Fears”).

Patient Elissa Vernon reads about four books a week. One of her favorite reads for 2023 was Nora Roberts’ “Dark Witch,” the first in a trilogy. Vernon likes to read anything with an exciting twist and said she has one piece of advice for avid readers: “Never start a new book before bedtime or you’ll never put it down.”

According to YouGov, an online research data group, 54 percent of Americans read at least one book last year; 82 percent read 10 or fewer books last year. The research also indicates that physical books are more popular with Americans than e-books or audiobooks. However, people who read digital books have read more books than those who read in other mediums.

What were the most popular genres in 2023? Mystery and history books.

James Glad has spent hours with his son in the transplant unit of IU Health University Hospital. While he waits, he reads Clive Cussler’s American adventure novels. Glad estimates he has read a book a week.

Linda Hoffman reading on her iPad

As she waited on a family member, Linda Hoffman focused on her e-book and, “The Heaven & Earth Grocery Story.” The book takes readers through the working-class neighborhood of Jewish, Black and European immigrant families in Pottstown, Pa.

“I like a variety of books and find it’s a great way to relax,” said Hoffman.

Aside from reducing stress, research shows reading may strengthen your brain, build your vocabulary, prepare you for a good night’s rest, and may even extend your life.