We all know that there are readers and there are readers. What kind of reader are you?
- Land of the lost reader: You open up a book and get so caught up in the characters that you are completely unreachable. Friends and family try to talk to you, but you have no idea they are in the room, much less trying to communicate.
- Self-improvement reader: You are serious about your how reading can improve your business, your family life and even yourself. You rarely indulge in fiction, preferring to use your reading time for more lofty purposes.
- Vacation binge reader: Books are the first thing you pack in your suitcase, because you finally have some down time to relax and read.
- Classics upper cruster: Hold the fluff, please, you only go for the complex stuff. While family members relax on the beach with the latest bestseller, you delight in Victor Hugo’s interminable sewer narrative in Les Miserables.
- Tapas bar taster: You have a stack of books this high on your nightstand, and you are reading all of them! With so many delicious books to read, you can’t stand to read them one at a time.
- Grown-up getaway reader: Reading is your escape, and you deserve it, after the day you’ve had! Mysteries, romance or adventure, you jump into reading to escape from the humdrum of life.
- Lobby looky-loo: Let’s face it, at the pace you run, you barely have time to shower, much less read a book! You leaf through magazine articles or glance at internet stories while waiting for the hairdresser or at the doctor’s office.
No matter how and when you read, here are some reasons to read more, read better and read often.
- Reading makes you smarter. The complex task of reading engages several different regions of the brain. (1) Reading builds crystallized intelligence, which simply means stuff you know about the world and stuff you know about language. (2)
- Reading fiction is better than self-help. Brain scans showed that reading complex fiction engages parts of the brain responsible for autobiographical memory and emotion — which suggests that as we read, we reevaluate our own experiences through the new lens of the story. (3)
- Reading improves empathy. Empathy scores for students at University of Toronto went up after having read a short story. Researchers found that participants who had made a habit of reading fiction over time were better at identifying emotions captured in photos.(4)
- Reading delays mental decline. Older adults who rarely read were found to have 48% faster mental decline than their reading counterparts. (5) Reading may even protect from Alzheimer’s, as lifetime engagers in mentally stimulating activities like reading have significantly less of the protein indicator for the disease, according to Berkeley researchers. (6)
- Reading the classics lights up your brain like a Christmas tree. Participants read “She lived unknown and few could know, when Lucy ceased to be. But she is in her grave and oh, the difference to me,” a passage by Wordsworth. Brain scans showed several regions of the brain lighting up like crazy. But the brain showed a rather more lackluster response to the same passage translated into more modern language: “She lived a lonely life in the country, and nobody seems to know or care, but now she is dead, and I feel her loss.” (3)
Looking for a new book? Check out the links below.
Barnes & Noble bestseller list
Goodreads classics list
Just for fun, see these Read posters featuring celebrities from Orlando Bloom to Bill Gates.
- Dye L. How reading a novel can improve the brain. ABC News website. Jan 12, 2014. Accessed Nov 30, 2016.
- Cunningham AE and Stanovich KE. What reading does for the mind. Journal of Direct Instruction. 2001;1(2):137-149.
- Henry J. Shakespeare and Wordsworth boost the brain, new research reveals. The Telegraph. Jan 13, 2013. Accessed Feb 14, 2017.
- Djikic M, Oatley K, Moldoveanu MC. Reading other minds: Effects of literature on empathy. Scientific Study of Literature. 2013;3:1.
- Why reading is good for the brain. MSN: Health and Fitness. Feb 29, 2016. Accessed Feb 16, 2017.
- Yang S. Lifelong brain-stimulating habits linked to lower Alzheimer’s protein levels. Berkelely News online. Jan 23, 2012. Accessed Feb 14, 2017.