Posts Tagged ‘Books’

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Anyone go the gym here or wake up early and go jogging? Yeah, me neither. BUT – reading is like working out but for your brain, and it’s a whole lot easier and more enjoyable too!

So, without further gossip, here are the 5 reasons why you NEED to be reading a book everyday.

1. It’ll reduce how quickly your brain ages
Most are aware of how debilitating and hurtful mental illness like Alzheimer’s can be, but reading is your solution to slowing down the onset of you losing your wits. For mental health stimulation is key, and the best way to do that is by engrossing yourself in the world of fiction. Sure, you could play chess against friends but that’s even harder than reading.

2. Improves your memory
Okay so this one is my favourite – reading makes your memory much better. Because when you read you get to know more characters, places and events, and you’re constantly ‘recalling’ those things when you read new material that connects with the past. This not only improves your short term memory and your ‘synapses’ (which are your brain pathways), but making these can also improve the stability of your mood. and speaking of mood….

3. Reduce how stressed you feel
Life can be hard sometimes and at other times it can be downright unfair. But when you feel totally overwhelmed if can be beneficial to pick up a book and lose yourself in the world of someone else. And who knows, you might see aspects of your life from a whole new perspective.

4. You learn new words
In the 21st Century we’re all very good at #tagging and ‘lol’ing while really ‘wtf’ing about it all. But something you can’t get from the internet is the vast collection of words that are expressed in books. When you read you’re exposed to new words and more importantly, you’re exposed to those words being used in context – so you understand what they mean and how they can be used. And WHY is this helpful? Well knowing more words makes you better at talking to a wider range of audience. Sure, you’re not going to be talking in high-English to your mates at the pub, but what about your boss? Or your parents?

5. Bolstering your analytic skills
Reading a book can be hard, especially with there are multiple story lines happening concurrently to another. But being able to keep track of these is a skill that transcends the pages of a book. Have you ever read a mystery novel and figured out who or what’s happened before it’s revealed to you? Well that’s your analytic skills being put to work – and these skills apply to all aspects of your life, whether it’s figuring out the best bus to catch or how to deal with a particularly difficult colleague.

So now you know why reading is so important to developing and stimulating your brain. But when it comes down to it the biggest reason to read is that it’s so enjoyable. Whether you love reading or haven’t picked up a book in awhile, I challenge you to read something everyday!

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Whether you love the authentic feel and smell of a paperback, or if you like the convenience and and storage of using an electronic library, like a Kindle, you need to know the differences between the two.

and  it’s in your head…

That’s right! Your brain reacts very differently when you read words on paper instead of reading words on a screen. You’ve actually trained your brain to think  based on what device you’re reading on. When you read a book your eyes move down the page in a chronological order – left to right & top to bottom. However, when you read on a screen your eye constantly darts over the page looking for the most ‘important’ piece of information, processing it before it continues scanning – this happens because of the way web pages are laid out, you tend to scout around the ads and instead look for titles and hyperlinks.

This phenomenon is called the bi-literate brain – it means that you use different parts of your brain that do different things. Linear processing occurs on paper and nonlinear processing happens with screens.

But what does all this mean?

Well, as you may have experienced in your own life, there has been a massive shift away from paper to computers – think about how many hours you spend on your laptop, tablet and phone versus the time you spend with a book in your hand. The brain is like many of your muscles and the old saying applies: “use it or lose it”. By neglecting books you are losing the ability to process complex linear text, which makes it much harder for you to understand similarly complex ideas.

You see, linear processing works like building a Jenga tower. If we read something we don’t quite understand, then the foundation for everything else we read will be less stable because we haven’t fully understood the connections between these ideas that are presented in dense chronological order. Have you ever been reading a book and realised you’ve read two paragraphs and are unable to recount what has just happened? If you miss some of the founding blocks, by the time you reach the end the whole tower will come crashing down.

BUT THERE IS A SOLUTION!

That’s right, you can regain your deep reading skills by putting a side time each day to read a book. A PAPER book. and just like that, you’ll pick it right up again. The digital age is dominating our lives, screens everywhere demand our attention with beeps and flashing and fancy scrolling options. But books feel different, they carry memories in the way they smell. And reading a book everyday is going to make you a much better thinker.

Thank you to Oscar Ferrer, from Flickr for this image.

Further Reading.

http://niemanreports.org/articles/our-deep-reading-brain-its-digital-evolution-poses-questions/

http://www.pri.org/stories/2014-09-18/your-paper-brain-and-your-kindle-brain-arent-same-thing?utm_content=bufferf4439&utm_medium=social&utm_source=twitter.com&utm_campaign=buffer

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Science Fiction, short story

Writing 8

Story 7.5

Characters 6

Readability 9

“The word ‘intellectual’, of course, became the swearword it deserved to be. You always dread the unfamiliar. Surely you remember the boy in your own school class who was exceptionally ‘bright’, did most of the reciting and answering while the others sat like so many leaden idiots, hating him. And wasn’t it this bright boy you selected for beatings and tortures after hours? Of course it was. We must all be alike. Not everyone born free and equal, as the Constitutions says, but everyone made equal. Each man the image of every other; then all are happy, for there are no mountains to make the cower, to judge themselves against. So! A book is a loaded gun in the house next door. Burn it. Take the shot from the weapon. Breach man’s mind.”

Ray Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451 creates a dystopic world enshrined in communism, where firemen burn rather than soothe. Engorged by mass media, society has become lost, along with personality and humanity. A good portion of  Montag’s (Bradbury’s protagonist) time is spent figuring out why he’s so unhappy, nay, what unhappy even feels like.

At times, the book feels devoid of love. its inhabitants suffer terrible fate, make poor decisions and administer injustice without much thought – and yet it is the daft verging on banal treatment of conscience which creates tension and propels you to read further. Incredulous, we are made to swallow devastation as entree whilst gorging ourselves on Montag’s (and his alone) inner conflict.

But that’s not to say that there isn’t light in Fahrenheit 451, but victory is scare, hope; scarcer still. On finishing the book you might feel unsatisfied but that’s the genius of it. This book makes you think, reflect – feel.

This story is not a roller coaster, rather, it’s the slow wave that gradually overcomes you.

“It was a pleasure to burn. It was a special pleasure to see things eaten, to see things blackened and changed. With the brass nozzle in his fists, with this great python spitting its venomous kerosene upon the world, the blood pounding in his head, and his hands were the the hands of some amazing conductor playing all the symphonies of blazing and burning to bring down the tatters and charcoal ruins of history.”