A 2013 study confirms that reading, especially a book where tension builds up, lights up the brain’s connectivity. This increase in brain activity was sustained for a few days after the reading period was complete. Interestingly, the study had the participants read a novel. Typically, when we think of reading for wellness, there is a focus on literally fiction, biographies or self-help books. Reading for pleasure, be that comic books, magazines, novels or newspapers, is just as important as reading to learn new ideas or skills.
That being said, reading the stories and ideas of others is important too. It helps us relate to other people and feel empathy for their situations.
Since reading is a “brain exercise,” reading of any sort helps to prevent age-related cognitive decline. The earlier you start reading the better, which is why many schools and libraries encourage the “raise a reader” movement.
Reading is just as much a hobby as any other activity. Whether you love delving into the lives of adventurers, learning about historical battles, following a chef on adventures around the world, delighting in the colourful pages of manga, solving cozy mysteries or gasping in horror at true crime, you’ll be engaging your senses and increasing well being.
You can enjoy books on your own, but as with most hobbies, it’s important to find those that share your passion. Most libraries have book clubs or can point you in the direction of a local book club. However, if there is no club in your area, don’t be shy about starting your own!
Book clubs can be in-person or virtual. Thanks to Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp, Zoom, Teams and more, you can connect remotely with those that share your love of the same book genre. Use calendar invites to set meeting times and include both typed chat and video so each participant can engage as they feel comfortable.
For in-person clubs, unless you know all the members, hold meetings in a public area. On nice days, meet in a park. Ask your local coffee shop (if your club is on the smaller side) if it’s okay to take up a table or two for an hour if each participant makes a purchase. Your library may have a room that can be used. Get creative! There are many ways to meet safely and grow a book club in your own town.
Reading is a passion for many and it’s never too late to start. Pick up a book, newspaper, magazine, manga or comic and dive right in. Join a book club to share your hobby with others or start a book club of your own. However you enjoy reading and whatever you enjoy reading, you are doing your brain a valuable service.