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Reading is good for the soul

by Janet Carson | January 18, 2019 at 5:32 p.m.
A good book is a treasure!

I just read a study from the Pew Research center that says 26 percent of American adults have not even read a part of a book in the past year! I think that is shocking. I read voraciously, and if I am driving, cooking or gardening, I will listen to an audio book. Reading has been a hobby since I was old enough to read. I remember trips to the book mobile as a child where I would load up with books and spend the day reading. My mother always encouraged my reading and even allowed me to sign up for a subscription book-of-the-month club when I was in high school--and she paid for it! A good book is a treasure, and if it is something I enjoy, I get so engrossed with the characters that I am often sad when it comes to the end. For that reason, if I like an author, and they have multiple books, I start at the beginning and read them through. It is sort of like coming home each time you open a new one. One such author is Louise Penney. I would dearly love to visit Three Pines and meet all the characters, but since I can't, I have to content myself with reading about them, and I eagerly await the next installment. I just finished her latest book Kingdom of the Blind. It was a good read, but maybe not my favorite of hers. I now have to be patient and wait for the next one.

I was intrigued by the study on reading so investigated a few other studies. There are a lot of positive things attributed to readers. Reading supposedly can improve your memory and concentration, and relieve stress --as long as you are reading something that you enjoy. Reading fiction is supposed to help you be more open-minded and creative, and there was one study from Yale that said people who read books live longer! Yale researchers studied 3,635 people older than 50 and found that those who read books for 30 minutes daily lived an average of 23 months longer than non-readers or magazine readers. Kind of sad that they say older people are 50 plus. I don't feel old, and I am 60.

I not only like to read, but I like to discuss the books I read with others. I was in a book club for over 15 years but got busy and had to quit several years ago. I didn't realize how much I missed it until a few friends and I started one back up last year. It is small and everyone reads the books. It is interesting to get so many different perspectives on the same words. Sometimes we all agree that something was wonderful and sometimes it is a mixed bag of likes and dislikes. Being in a book club makes you read outside your normal reading material, which also broadens your horizons. If you are a reader, I would suggest you try joining a book club. Many libraries offer them or find a group of reading friends and start your own.

Ours just finished A Gentleman in Moscow. It was very well-written and one of the favorites of most of the members.

We are now reading Breakfast with Buddha. While I still like to hold a book, I am also downloading as many as I can from the library or buying them online to read on my kindle. Books take up a lot of space and I don't think there is a room in my house that doesn't have a bookshelf crammed with books. But that also means I am never without something to read.

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