This article by Gail Rebuck is really preaching to the converted as far as this blog is concerned—if you’re reading this, then you do not need to be told that reading is not only a pleasure but it’s also good for you. But it made some important points, and I thought it was worth sharing.
“The discovery that our brains are physically changed by the experience of reading is something many of us will understand instinctively, as we think back to the way an extraordinary book had a transformative effect on the way we viewed the world. This transformation only takes place when we lose ourselves in a book, abandoning the emotional and mental chatter of the real world. That’s why studies have found this kind of deep reading makes us more empathetic, or as Nicholas Carr puts it in his essay, The Dreams of Readers, ‘more alert to the inner lives of others’.
“This is significant because recent scientific research has also found a dramatic fall in empathy among teenagers in advanced western cultures. We can’t yet be sure why this is happening, but the best hypothesis is that it is the result of their immersion in the internet and the quickfire virtual world it offers. So technology reveals that our brains are being changed by technology, and then offers a potential solution – the book.”
Read the article on the Guardian website.
Photo: Ed Yourdon (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0 via Flickr)