By Angie Georgeff
Almost everyone wants to live a longer and healthier life. We already know that we should give up bad habits, get a good night’s sleep, exercise regularly and eat our veggies, but to that list we can add reading a book for at least 30 minutes a day. A 2016 study by the Yale School of Public Health determined that adopting this simple habit can add nearly two years to a person’s life span. I happen to enjoy eating vegetables, but reading is even more fun than a big steaming bowl of broccoli, cauliflower and carrots.
Exercising your neurons by reading can also reduce symptoms of depression and even help to ward off dementia. A part of the brain called the default-mode network deteriorates in patients with Alzheimer’s disease. Researchers have discovered that reading a novel stimulates that network as we imagine what it would be like to walk a mile in another person’s stilettos, hoop skirt or suit of armor.
Once upon a time many academics looked down their noses at fiction the same way a health nut glares at a cupcake. Now the long-maligned novels – and particularly literary fiction – are proving to be a healthy choice. Life would be perfect if scientists could just discover nutritional value in a doughnut, especially the ones iced with chocolate!
I enjoy reading non-fiction, particularly history and biographies, but almost all of my favorite books are literary fiction. Some titles that I can recommend are Geraldine Brooks’s “Year of Wonders,” Peter Carey’s “Parrot and Olivier in America,” Alice Hoffman’s “The Marriage of Opposites,” Hilary Mantel’s “Wolf Hall,” David Mitchell’s “The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet” and Dominic Smith’s “The Last Painting of Sara de Vos.”
And then there are the classic novels of the Bronte sisters, Thomas Hardy and Jane Austen. Do your brain a favor and spend half an hour reading today simply for the pleasure of it. It just makes Sense…and Sensibility.
It’s the most wonderful time of the year, and I don’t mean the kids going back to school. State funds for books and other library materials have just been released! Many of the books that you have placed on our wish list will not be published for weeks or months, but those which are currently availabIe for shipment have already been ordered.
Please let us know if there is anything you want to add. Our “new book” shelves will soon be bulging. If you have requested a book that we are able to order, we will call you when it is barcoded, cataloged, stamped and covered. Don’t worry: It usually doesn’t take nearly as long as it sounds it would. Happy reading!