Catasauqua Press

Tuesday, September 25, 2018

Public Library of Catasauqua: Stimulate your brain and release tension with reading

Tuesday, July 3, 2018 by The Press in Columns

Once our formal educations are complete, at whatever age, at whatever level, the reading we do most often is for pleasure.

It may come as a surprise that while we are enjoying the latest blockbuster, several really wonderful things are happening in our brains. Even if we are reading for specific information, for instance, how to put together the TV stand you just bought, your brain is processing way more than the obvious. So, what exactly are these brain perks?

Researchers have found that we automatically create pictures of objects in our minds from the words that are used to describe those objects. When you actually see that object for the first time, you will recognize what it is because your brain has already “seen” it. This would explain why something altogether new can seem familiar.

Reading about an experience is almost the same as living it. Whether you are reading about sky diving or you are actually sky diving, the same neurological regions in the brain are stimulated. Reading is the original virtual reality experience, at least for your brain, and that may be why so many people enjoy virtual reality games. This may also explain why it is so easy to get hooked on electronic virtual reality games.

Just about everyone who has experienced the feeling of getting lost in a book enjoys that experience. Letting go of everyday concerns enables us to feel what the characters in a story feel. Often, the result is we become more empathetic, more aware and more in tune with the lives of others.

In a six-month, daily reading program from Carnegie Mellon University, scientists discovered that the volume of white matter in the language area of the brain actually increased. Reading changed brain structure for the better. We’re pretty sure that means reading makes you smarter!

You’ll be happy to know that the library staff is always available to help you find a book that you are sure to enjoy.

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NEW BOOKS

Fiction: “The Gray Ghost: A Sam and Remi Fargo Novel,” Clive Cussler and Robin Burcell; “Liar, Liar,” Lisa Jackson; “A Measure of Darkness,” Jonathan Kellerman and Jesse Kellerman; “Cottage by the Sea,” Debbie Macomber; “The Pharaoh Key: A Gideon Crew Novel,” Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child; “The Other Woman,” Daniel Silva; “The Good Fight,” Danielle Steel; “The Death of Mrs. Westaway,” Ruth Ware

Nonfiction: “Lincoln’s Last Trial: The Murder Case That Propelled Him to the Presidency,” Dan Abrams and David Fisher; “What Truth Sounds Like,” Michael Eric Dyson; “The Sun Does Shine: How I Found Life and Freedom on Death Row,” Anthony Ray Hinton with Lara Love Hardin; “How to Change Your Mind,” Michael Pollen; “Calypso,” David Sedaris; “Indianapolis: The True Story of the Worst Sea Disaster in U.S. Naval History and the Fifty-Year Fight to Exonerate an Innocent Man,” Lynn Vincent and Sara Vladic; “Educated,” Tara Westover

Juvenile: “Auggie and Me,” R.J. Palacio; “Dog Man Lord of the Fleas,” Dav Pilkey.

Children: “How to Babysit a Grandpa,” Jean Reagan; “What Do You Do With a Chance?” Kobi Yamada