I cannot live without reading, can you? And with reading I mean reading fiction, actually. The way I feel when I get back into my novel is so extremely powerful, like entering a completely different world, being transported into another life. The best books to me are those in which the language captivates me, so it feels like floating in water and when they carry some sort of a message.

I lead a very busy life. I love my job and working hard and I could spend all my time reading and writing for work, which is all about non-fiction. There are many occasions when I believe I should really devote myself to work rather than read my novel. I get that creeping sense of guilt when sitting on my commuter’s train reading that gripping piece of fiction.

I could not resist reading Dave Eggers’ The Circle whenever I got the chance, just prior to the Christmas Holidays. His book is more than ‘just’ fiction. It is also a social manifest of some sort, yet done in the form of fiction. That is the best, for me at least.Image

The Circle’s describes our world where the public is the private and vice versa. Are real lives only those that are shared through social media? Read Margaret Atwood take on this in her article ‘When Privacy is theft’ in the New York Review of Books. Should ‘behind the scenes meetings’ be something that belongs to the past? Could the intention of doing good actually turn out to be not so good? Read all about this and much more in this book.

I recently came across an argument to read more fiction, hooray! My lovely friend Bianca tweeted a piece from The Independent on the 30th December 2013 ‘Brain function boosted for days after reading a novel’. In this article new research carried out by a team the Emory University in the US states: ‘reading a good book may cause heightened connectivity in the brain and neurological changes that persist in a similar way to muscle memory’. Yet, Malcolm Jones of The Daily Beast wonders whether reading is not just about curiosity and pleasure in today’s article ‘Can great literature really change your life?’

During the Christmas Holiday period I joined Harold on his journey in ‘The unlikely pilgrimage of Harold Fry’ by Rachel Joyce.   ImageIt was mesmerising. I felt both uplifted when reading as well as in between the reading. That uplifted feeling stayed with me when doing other things than reading the book. I felt a sense of curiosity and pleasure. But I also experienced an increase in my energy level. Was I possibly experiencing Harold’s walking? Was the team at Emory University research right? Professor Gregory Berns, lead author of the study, says: “We already knew that good stories can put you in someone else’s shoes in a figurative sense. Now we’re seeing that something may also be happening biologically.” 

Whatever reading does, I cannot live without it and I will continue to read with a passion. Are you an avid reader? What does it do to you? Do you recognise any of the above? I would love to know. And do share any recommendations for great novels. I will now back to my book, 🙂

One thought on “Reading – oh joy!

  1. Hi Inge,
    Because of a sort of subliminal persuasion I assume, I bought the book from Dave Egger today (I vaguely remembered the illustration on the cover). It might be valuable input for the international minor on engaging and connecting we’re developing right now. I’ll let you know!
    Besides that, I am in desperate need of a brain boost.
    Best, Monique Abbenbroek

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