Monday, February 22, 2010

Why I Read Books: The Addiction I Embrace

I don’t (and never will) attend “Readers Anonymous” meetings. Reading is one addiction shared with enthusiasm and society’s stamp of approval. Studies have now proven that reading is one activity that can help prevent Alzheimer’s disease and it is now understood that “too much reading” (an oxymoronic phrase?) won’t ruin your eyes. Those of us who are committed readers have found ways to combine reading with other activities, including exercise and travel (books on tape can substitute for page-turning when we’re driving or on the treadmill).

You will find that books and reading will be an important subject for my blog-posting, so I thought it only fair to write a bit about why I read and how I choose what to read. I understand that there are other reasons for reading than my own, but that’s an opening for a discussion, isn’t it? Here are my own reasons for reading books:

• Books are a great escape! They take me to another place or another time, sometimes offering me a needed break from my own.

• Books can provide me with a different perspective on my life and the lives of others. This can lead to greater self-knowledge and greater understanding of others’ values and beliefs.

• Reading books can be a wonderful incentive or reward. I can do almost anything for a given amount of time if I know that I can read when I finish.

• I want to be informed and many issues deserve more in-depth attention than TV, newspaper, or Internet coverage can offer. Books can provide the information I need to make good decisions in the marketplace, in the election booth, or in relationships.

• Books are an inexpensive form of entertainment, especially if I borrow them from the library. They can provide hours of relaxation or stimulation (depending on my mood) and can be passed on to a friend or family member for their enjoyment.

• Reading books can help keep me young! Recent research shows that lifelong learning can boost longevity. Zorba Paster, M.D., author of The Longevity Code, recommends reading for pleasure, reading to stay informed about the medical problems you have or are predisposed to, and reading for your job. Learning through reading can prepare us for many of the challenges and opportunities that aging presents.

• Reading books sets a good example! Jim Trelease points out the importance of children observing their parents reading for pleasure in his book, The Read-Aloud Handbook. And David Snowdon, Ph.D., author of Aging with Grace: What the Nun Study Teaches Us About Leading Longer, Healthier and More Meaningful Lives, says that parents have asked him what they can do for their children to build the brain density needed to offer protection about Alzheimer’s. His answer: “Read to your children.” More than playing Mozart to babies, buying them expensive teaching toys, prohibiting television, or getting them started early on the computer; reading to your children pays lifelong dividends. One of those dividends might be having a willing reader when you're unable to read for yourself!

These are just a few reasons I read books. My timer has just gone off and it’s time to get back to my book!  Bye for now,

Annie Joy

p.s.  You may be interested in reading the following books:


Granny Sue said...

Are you sure we're related?! LOL
I'm not much of a reader. Just a chapter or two a day of a good Robin Cook or James Patterson book while I take a relaxing bath seems like a lot of reading to me! Who knows though...if my reading more now means someone will visit me in my old age (even if I do have to listen to them read)...perhaps I'll increase by a chapter or two! Love you!!!!

Annie Joy said...

That's why you've always accomplished so much around your house (and why I was drawn to a book-related career). I've been using my 30/10 minute plan since I've been retired; work 30 minutes and then read ten. I get much more done and can read, too! (Our new puppy we'll be getting the in summer may not understand that concept!)


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