The merits of reading novels
Are you reading too fast?
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You have heard me talk/write about the importance of slowing down in the winter to restore and preserve life force, how it is OK and in fact beneficial to sleep more and to really hone your favorite way of chilling.
The other day I stumbled upon an interesting article on the merits of reading novels. As it turns out, there is a Slow Reading Movement going on out there. And SLOW READING is defined by “uninterrupted reading for 30 minutes or more”. SLOW READING reduces stress, improves concentration, boosts memory and deepens your ability to think, listen and empathize.
Reading novels as opposed to reading non-fiction books can help you become more compassionate by better understanding the emotional patterns, mental states and belief systems of your fellow human beings and might make you a better listener as well.
This is sharply contrasted with reading short bits and pieces as in SMSs, tweets, FB posts and constantly switching from one medium to another, even reading a webpage were you need to move your eyes around pictures, watch short videos or listen to sound snippets. Apparently, all this has been found to lower comprehension and cognitive function.
While the fast and short ways of communication have their place and will not go away, how about balancing off their detrimental mental affects by settling in with a good book or two this winter season? Set yourself up with a cozy cup of tea and lose yourself in the mystery of a different time period, the lifestyles of citizens in far away places or the intricacies of human interactions in a foreign culture. I hope you will heed my advice and truly enjoy reading your next book! And it will be an even better experience now that you know that it is most beneficial for your mind. Never again will you think of reading as a waste of time or an indulgence you cannot afford because of your busy schedule.
A book that I just finished reading and totally loved is Elizabeth Gilbert’s “The Signature of All Things”