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Why Reading is Good for the Brain

I wanted to briefly step away from the health & fitness posts to share one of my hobbies with you...reading. I love reading! But I especially love reading classic novels. Did you know that reading can improve brain function?

Being physically strong is important, but keeping your brain healthy and strong is also very important. In a world where "junk food" books that are easy-to-read and require little-to-no investment of time or emotion, it is becoming more and more important for this generation to learn how to love classic literature again.

A 2013 study showed that reading the classics, in contrast with commercial fiction and even non-fiction, leads to better social perception and emotional intelligence.

Reading, in general, improves cognitive function, increases reading ability, and increases the development of reasoning skills. Because the stories are so elegant and thoughtfully written, classic novels also improve vocabulary skills. I learned more vocabulary and grammar reading books than I did in Grammar class. So, not only will you be able to think intelligently and contemplatively, you will also be able to speak concisely and with elegance.

Claire Needell Hollander, a middle school English teacher in Manhattan, discovered that her most disadvantaged students connected best with the tales of hardship, loss, and the tyranny of fate found so often in classic novels. Reading the classics can even be a form of therapy: a Liverpool University study showed that poetic language, in particular, stimulates the part of the brain linked to “autobiographical memory” and emotion.  This type of brain activity leads readers to reflect on their own experie