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How Does Reading Affect Your Brain?

by Jessalyn Lau

Reading has been proven to increase your focus, attention span, concentration, and to improve memory. This month, we celebrate those who love to read. National Book Lovers Day encourages you to find your favorite reading place, a good book (whether it be fiction or non-fiction) and read the day away!

We asked Neurologist Dr. David Kaminskas, “How does reading affect your brain?” and “What is your favorite book?” Dr. Kaminskas replied, “Under the best conditions it increases neural connections and enlarges neural networks. A good book makes you a better human. My favorite book? Wow wow wow this is hard as there are soooo many, however, my favorite book is….. Long Walk to Freedom by Nelson Mandela. It is a story of hope, idealism, perseverance, inspiration and faith”

"I still prefer my printed books.
I love the novel feeling of carrying my book around and I never have to anxiously wait to read what’s going to happen next because I forgot to charge my Kindle the night before"

It seems that the reading community is split when it comes to paperback books versus E-readers. I personally love the smell and feel of printed books. Maybe it’s just me but I also love seeing my progress as I turn each page. However with E-readers, there is so much more accessibility and you have access to thousands of books right at your fingertips. Plus, you never have to worry about whether or not you have the right reading light and can adjust the text size. As convenient as E-readers are, I still prefer my printed books. I love the novel feeling of carrying my book around and I never have to anxiously wait to read what’s going to happen next because I forgot to charge my Kindle the night before.

For those who haven’t yet discovered your love for books or may have lost your bibliophile way, let me be the first to say that I understand. Growing up, I had always felt forced to read and had associated reading with school work and studying. I am grateful for the persistence and encouragement from my parents as they kept my nose in the books – despite my personal feelings about reading. 10 years later, I now have a different perspective and appreciation for reading. I’d like to say that it was probably due to the wisdom that came with age or the maturity that I’ve gained over the years. However if I’m honest, it’s because the older I get, the more I realize I don’t know. Not only is reading a more fruitful way of passing the time rather than playing Candy Crush, but I now have a new appreciation and hunger for knowledge and self-growth. How did I start this new healthy habit?

The first thing I did was pick up a book, open it, and start reading. Like most things the hardest part for me is starting. I found that once I started reading, I naturally found it compelling! Another tip is to find a book that interests, find a nice quiet reading spot, or maybe even set a goal of reading just 20 pages a day. I also asked those around me what some of their favorite books or current reads were. These tips sound like no brainers but my point in telling you this is that it really is that simple to start! You aren’t looking to start a fire, but rather a spark of interest. <br><br>Here are some favorite books, quotes, and reading tips from our staff!

Favorite Book
⦁ Keep Your Love On by Danny Silk
⦁ Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
⦁ Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card
⦁ Harry Potter (All of them) by J.K. Rowling
⦁ Sacred Marriage by Gary Thomas

Favorite Quote
“I, myself, am made entirely of flaws, stitched together with good intentions.”

– Running With Scissors (Augusten Burroughs) “No conflict can be solved so long as all parties are convinced they are right. Solution is possible only when at least one party begins to consider how he might be wrong”
– The Anatomy of Peace: Resolving the Heart of Conflict (the Arbinger Institute)
“It’s amazing what you can accomplish if you dont care who gets the credit”
– Teaming: How Organizations Learn, Innovate, and Compete in the Knowledge Economy (Amy C. Edmondson)
“Love cleanses, beloved. It doesn’t beat down. It doesn’t cast blame. My love isn’t a weapon. It’s a lifeline. Reach out and take hold, and don’t let go.”
– Redeeming Love (Francine Rivers)
Reading Tips
⦁ Never read in dim lighting.
⦁ Read a variety of books/topics/authors to discover what you love and broaden your understanding of the world and the people around you.
⦁ Start small, set time aside daily, read 2-5 pages consistently – increase your pages as your stamina grows and find topics to read that you are interested in.
⦁ Make an appointment with yourself and stick to it!
⦁ Don’t judge a book by its cover, if you are unsure whether or not a book may interest you, read the summary at the back of the book to get an idea of the story.
⦁ Books are an amazing way to see the world through someone else’s point of view. If you can’t find a book you like, just ask someone. Not only will this be a great conversation starter but you may also learn more about that person.
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