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The Health Benefits of Reading

The WSJ has an interesting article on “reading parties,” (skip the comments). People are getting together to read in silence, which is fine, I guess?

The really interesting thing is the list of health benefits to reading, which is included in this handy graphic.

Hot-linked Pseudo-Venn Diagram of the Benefits of Reading

“Reduces stress” is vital, and “Improves listening” makes me think I should have my son read three or four times a day.

But I’m still stymied by the idea of reading parties. I get that it can be pleasant to meet new people doing the thing you love (especially if you’re the type to bring “impressive” books so everyone could see how smart you are) but it still seems like putting yourself in a position where the people around you will, with your permission, police your own behavior. “I’d never stay off Twitter for 30 minutes if I were alone, but if I have all these people watching me…”

I’m not saying there’s something wrong with it, but it’s not a choice I would make. If I realize the book I’m reading can’t keep me so absorbed that I stay off Twitter, I put the book away. Then again, I’ve never been the sort who tried to impress people with my reading choices.

ADDED LATER: I took the speed reading test. While my comprehension was perfect (partly because I knew I’d be tested) my wpm was 261, slightly above average. That surprises me, because I’ve always believed I was slower than average. I guess I’m just slower than everyone I know.

Mirrored from Harry Connolly. You can comment here but not there.


( 7 comments — Leave a comment )
Sep. 16th, 2014 07:40 pm (UTC)
reading is an addiction for me.. I have to read every day, or... I just dont feel right. I cant sleep unless I have been reading in bed before I turn the light out..
Sep. 16th, 2014 08:18 pm (UTC)
If you're going to have an addiction, that's probably the least harmful one.
Sep. 17th, 2014 06:28 am (UTC)
and with books, there are no *empties* .. grin.
Sep. 16th, 2014 10:45 pm (UTC)
I think average reading speed is a mostly useless metric. It probably depends on all kinds of variables. Have you seen this thing? http://shortlist.com/entertainment/books/how-long-it-takes-to-read-the-worlds-most-popular-books

It takes people just as long to read the Twilight tetralogy as it does to read War and Peace? It only takes the average person 12 hours to read Crime and Punishment? I suspect there's at least a bimodal distribution of reading speeds, compounded by the students and others who are not necessarily reading for pleasure.
Sep. 17th, 2014 05:39 am (UTC)
Psh. The test I took listed "average" as 250 wpm, which seems about right. What's more, reading a few hundred words at a crack when you know it's going to be timed is much different than reading all day w/out being distracted. And texts are not identical in their ease of reading.

So yeah, that infographic is full of dumb.
Sep. 17th, 2014 03:20 am (UTC)
I used to have introvert parties where people could bring books or crafts, and talk or not talk as they liked. Sometimes it's nice just to be around people without interacting.
Sep. 17th, 2014 05:40 am (UTC)
That's me whenever I leave my apartment.
( 7 comments — Leave a comment )