Readers Live Longer? Really?

Not that this is necessarily a blessing, but a New York Times report suggests that reading books is tied to a longer life. As little as half an hour a day of book reading seems to give us what they succinctly refer to as a “survival advantage.” Only by an average of two years, which is not that much, but still. I always knew reading was good for me.

Highlights from the article on which the report is based:

  • Book reading provides a survival advantage among the elderly.
  • Books are more advantageous for survival than newspapers/magazines.
  • The survival advantage of reading books works through a cognitive mediator.
  • Books are protective regardless of gender, wealth, education, or health.

forgettingtimeIs writing good for me or not, longevity-wise, I wonder. If writing were to parallel reading or add to its good effects that would be grand. If not, well then, maybe, at the least, it does me no harm. Or maybe it’s bad for me, in which case I could be back where I started and it all cancels out.

In any case, I had better finish the book I’m reading now, The Forgetting Time by Sharon Guskin, which has me by the throat at the moment and will not let go. (Thank you, Karen Rivers, for this thoughtful gift.)

As a writer who writes for young people, I used to scramble to try and keep up with each year’s new offerings. Now I read children’s and YA books regularly. But I also make it a point to keep reading grownup books often, for my own pleasure. It’s reassuring to be told now that I can live longer by indulging myself this way.

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