A Stronger Mind & Body: The BodyRock Summer Reading List

Summertime isn't just the time to hit your HIIT hardcore; it's also time to hit the books. Most of us know that reading is one of the best ways to keep your brain healthy, but it can also help you get closer to reaching your physical goals. As little as 30 minutes of reading a day has been shown to improve memory, bolster focus, increase empathy, reduce stress, alleviate depression and even cut the risk of developing Alzheimer's.

Reading a book before bed can also help signal to your brain it's time to wind down, thereby preparing you for a better, more restful sleep. The catch? You have to read paper books. E-readers are screens, and studies show screens can and most often do lead to disrupted sleep. And by now, you probably don’t need us to tell you that poor sleep results in poor choices throughout the day  — especially when it comes to food choices. It’s also been definitively linked to increased stress and unhealthy weight gain.

It looks like there’s a lot more to love about reading, aside from good ol’ fashion escapism. Reading can help you become a happier, more productive and more successful person.

What kinds of books are best?

The ones you like! You don’t have to read a book on health and fitness to become a healthier and more fit person. (But it won’t hurt. Check out our nutrition guides if you want to learn how to eat for a better life). To reap the rewards of reading, you just have to crack a book  — any book.

Lazy summer afternoons are perfect for chilling out with a cool drink and a great read. What’s on our summer reading list?

Read on to find out!

Hysteria by Elisabeth deMariaffi

Genre: Fiction

If thrillers are your bag, then you’ll love this book. It brings some serious literary talent to the world of genre fiction, and will leave you feeling all the chills you crave, while also bringing you into a world of rich, lush imagery. Hysteria centres around Hieke, a woman controlled by equally terrifying past and present horrors. Set in the post-WWII era, Hysteria leads readers into a world where the line between what’s real and what’s not is thrillingly obscure.

No Ashes in the Fire: Coming of Age Black & Free in America by Darnell L. Moore

Genre: Non-Fiction

Here’s a real (and really awakening) look at the facts we assume and the truths we take for granted. Written by a Black Lives Matter activist, this memoir burgeons from the origin tale of how three boys drenched him gasoline and tried to set him on fire. This is a serious read, no doubt, but one that is mind expanding. No matter who you are or where you come from, Moore’s account of his life within violence will help you understand yourself, and question what you stand for  — and what you don’t.

Florida by Lauren Groff

Genre: Fiction, Short Stories

If you are a keener for the uncanny, then this wonderful collection of short stories is likely going to be your favourite summer read. While not overtly supernatural, many of the stories have an eerie, skin-prickling feel that makes them perfectly wicked for reading while camping, or at the cottage. As the title suggests, place is the main theme and driving force behind many of these tales.

The Möbius Strip Club of Grief by Bianca Stone

Genre: Poetry

Set in a strip club in the afterlife, this breathtaking collection of poetry assumes the identity of many different women, or different shapes, sizes, and ages, who bare all, showing themselves as they wouldn't have dared while they were alive. It's macabre, it's humorous, it's bawdy and bodily beautiful. It's an examination of the female body, mind and spirit in a way you've never seen before.

Do you have recommendation for summer reading? Share it with us in the comments! Want some reading for your fitcation? Then remember to check out our lineup of nutrition guides. These are more than just recipe books: they provide in-depth information to help you live a healthier life.


Thanks for the great list of books! I’m always up for great recommendations. And there are no “left leaning” books on the list. If you think sharing what it’s like to grow up Black in America is political, you clearly need to read the book. The stories of growing up as a minority are not political, they are someone’s truth, and that is not political.

Jill August 04, 2018

So if you are going to put a very left, liberal book on your list why not put a conservative book as well? I don’t mind seeing both sides of things, but to enter into politics and activism on only one side is a turn-off.

Jennifer August 04, 2018

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