OPINION: Reading is good for you

When I was growing up, I was super into reading. I would read anything from fantasy to action. I would get super into the books and create pictures of what they looked like in my head. 

But as I’ve gotten older, I have been reading less and less. Technology has had an impact on my reading. When I was in middle school, I got a phone and an iPad, and that’s when I stopped being into reading. 

It wasn’t until college that I realized how much reading affects you. So, I made a goal for myself to read more. In 2022, I did a bullet journal and had a reading tracker. I started great; I read every day and finished a book in a week. I thought I was doing so well. In reality, I read seven books that year. 

Last year, I only read two.  

I plan to really start reading more this year, as it helps your brain. When you read, you are using your memory muscle, located in your brain’s Cerebrum region. Using this muscle helps your memory in the long run. 

Reading is a neurobiological process that exercises your brain muscles. As you do so, you can help to slow cognitive decline and even reduce the rate at which memories fade. Scientists at the University of California, Berkeley, have discovered that reading lowers the level of beta-amyloid, a protein in the brain linked to Alzheimer’s. So reading can help you maintain your memory. 

You can learn new words while reading. Think about how many words are in books. The average word count for adult fiction ranges from 70,000 to 120,000 words. The general rule for children’s fiction is that the younger the audience, the shorter the book, while the average length for YA novels is 50,000-70,000 words. Non-fiction word counts range between 70,000 and 120,000 words. 

Reading is entertaining as well. I remember a book I read in 2022 called ‘As Good As Dead’ the third book in the ‘A Good Girl’s Guide to Murder’ trilogy. That book changed the way I saw reading. It follows a girl named Pip who is trying to solve a cold murder case and finds out many shocking truths along the way. I couldn’t put it down because of how into it I got. I read 300 pages in one sitting because of how good it was. With each page turn, I was on the edge of my seat. I didn’t care that it was 2 a.m. and I had a 9 a.m. the next day. I was finishing that book no matter the time. 

The next book I read was the first in the ‘The Inheritance Games’ series. I became obsessed with that book. It took me two weeks to read it. I would’ve read it faster, but I was busy with school. But I read the second book in the series in four days. Like ‘As Good As Dead’ each page turn had me wanting more. This series follows Avery, who discovers that a billionaire has left her in his will, and she has to live in his house for a year before she can get his inheritance. She has to live with his family, including his four grandsons. The book had so much mystery that I couldn’t put it down.  

In 2024, I haven’t read many books yet, but I’ve been busy with work and school. I aim to read more this year, which I said last year. I know that I probably won’t read as much as I want to, but my overflowing TBR pile isn’t going anywhere.

Write to Lauren Viska at lauren.viska@mnsu.edu

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