Books are good for your brain. That’s a vitamin I can gladly swallow. The title seems a bit of a loose statement coming from someone who makes it a practice to write every day. The old saying is “Writers are readers.” By looking at my two stacks of current reading projects, I‘m guilty as charged. You can’t see my online reading list.
Needless to day, I like to see statements proclaiming the benefits of reading. It gives me an excuse to pick up another good book. Also, since it‘s the new year, I’m working on establishing some better routines to my day.
When I can back up my routines with science, it‘s even better. Read here “permission slip to read a new book” =)
A recent article titled
on the Popular Science magazine website proclaimed:
Reading is good for your brain.
But, it was a quote in the article that sparked my interest.
“Other studies show that reading continues to develop the brains of adults. One 2012 Stanford University study, where people read passages of Jane Austen while inside an MRI, indicates that different types of reading exercise different parts of your brain. “
As you get older, another study suggests, reading might help slow down or even halt cognitive decline.”
It seems that back in 2012, when they conducted the study, the scientists used reading material that wouldn’t have normally been on someone’s reading list. The science concluded that the reading of material not expected helped the adult brain to grow.
But, I locked in on the phrase ‘read passages of Jane Austen.’ If you don‘t know her, she was an English novelist who died in 1817. She wrote the books such as “Pride and Prejudice” and “Sense and Sensibility.” The plots of her books often focus on a women’s independence over the social norms. Her writing wasn’t embraced by all readers.
Gutenburg.org as a source for free reading
Why am I interested in Jane Austen and the connection to a scientific study where the scientists had people read passages of her books?
Because, for the past few months I‘ve been trying to have daily deliberate short reading times I call “Gutenberg Reading.” This is time I spend reading from books or magazines found on the website www.Gutenburg.org. Her books are there, as well as thousands of others.
This website is a treasure trove of books that have reached their copyright expiration. Therefore, the contents of the books can be freely and openly posted on websites. You can re-publish the works, and can even make close replicas of the works without worrying about copyright rules.
PopSci gives you some great hints to help you make reading more of a habit. But, I encourage you to take it a step further.
Spend time every day reading from the older texts. Join me in what I call ‘Gutenberg Reading Time.’
Try reading from genres of books not on your usual reading list
I’ll be the first to admit. The antiquated writing may slow you down. You may have to decipher a sentence. I even have to slow down when reading the children‘s books. The children’s books of the early 19th century are far above the reading level of children today, and sadly adults as well.
But, when you think about all the possibility of works you can read at Gutenburg.org for free isn’t it worth taking a few minutes to expand your brain and exercise parts of your gray matter you may not have exercised in a while?
I spend a lot of time reading children’s books. So, that’s the reason I decided to spend time at Gutenburg.org reading the types of works not on my usual radar.
I encourage you to explore the website. Find something to read for a few minutes a day to exercise your brain. At least, that’s what the Stanford University study said.
P.S. You could even start a new journal called “Your reading journal.” Jot down a few notes or thoughts you learn along the way. I’ve discovered new words to add to my vocabulary, names for character development, and story ideas.