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Rohse: For your health, read this column and anything else

I love books. I love to read. But sometimes I am annoyed at my addiction to reading. When my kitchen sink is piled high with dishes that should be in the dishwasher and cupboards need cleaning, I feel guilty about spending time reading. True, I by no means feel guilty enough to give up reading. Rather, I decided to do a little research with regard to the value of reading to lessen my guilt: the worth of a book.

One benefit of reading is that it is a friend maker.

Just as my husband, Homer had golfing friends and fishing friends, I had bridge and book friends.

Some of my best friends have been book friends. We gave each other lists of “must read” books for birthdays and Christmas. When my friend, Angie, got calls from her cousin in Vermont, Angie immediately called me even if it was hours after my bed time. But I didn’t mind; instead I was revved up about that new book I could add to my list. If a book friend didn’t like a book that I had suggested, I felt as bad as if it had been a slap in the face.

We book friends had long conversations about books and when we phoned with a new book that sounded great we were excited.

Then, too, I had my own little family library. Stock for this was mostly from Friends of McMinnville Public Library Book Sales. I never missed one. But those sales created a bit of dissension in our home.

When Homer saw me gathering up sturdy tote bags and canvas carriers, he knew where I was going.

“Where on earth are we going to put more books?” he’d ask. And that was a good question. I had piles of books about everywhere you looked. I had piles of books under the bed. Stacks of books on all our book shelves, in the dark recesses of my closets and in cardboard boxes in the garage, piled in the golf cart when it wasn’t in use. “Where on earth are you going to put more books?” he asked. “Oh, I’ll find a place,” I said. “Well, for heaven’s sake, don’t buy out the sale.” he cautioned.

“I won’t,” I promised. “I just have a few on my list.”

When I came home from the sale, I hoped Homer wouldn’t be around, and tried to get my sacks and boxes out of sight, and hidden at least temporarily.

“Well, did you find any good ones?” said Homer when he came in the house after I’d managed to get all my new purchases stashed out of sight.

“Oh,” I said, “I just got a few, but a couple are great.”

“Oh, that’s nice, “said Homer.

Whenever I finished a book, I enjoyed the ritual of going through the volumes in my little library to choose my next read as if I were a king admiring jewels.

And speaking of jewels, if you enjoy reading — and I’ll bet you do — I can hardly wait to tell you about the benefits of reading — real jewels. Not all of them are barn-burners, but I suspect you’ll be surprised at some and, how many there are. Some, of course, are obvious and probably don’t need to be detailed, but I will do so just to remind you.

As starters, researchers claim that reading can lower your blood pressure and heart rate. Those researchers say, “Reading is very, very good for you.”

Mental fitness is just as important as physical fitness, and Americans who thought they were only reading for fun are going to be surprised. Scientists tell us that indeed the benefits are more than just pleasure, although that alone is reason for reading. Scientists tell us. “Read, read, read. Read whenever you can get your hands on a book.”

Improved brain functioning results from reading,

A recent PEW survey found that nearly three-fourths of Americans read at least one book in 2017. It is suggested that reading 12 books a year would be a good goal. And it is beneficial to read every day. Reading also has been found useful in reducing stress and may be more helpful than listening to music, or playing games. And when you read you are also building self-esteem and are become more empathetic.

“Reading improves your over-all wellness,” the experts say reading books might even help you to live longer. (although I have seen no statistics regarding such). And reading aloud to children is very beneficial for the child.

We are reminded that our brains are constantly flooded with this and that and one reason for reading is to improve brain functions. Reading has been mentioned with regard to lowering the risk of Alzheimer’s

One other thing: what should you read? Just read. It is very, very good for you. Read whenever you can get your hands on a book. What with the continual bombardment on our brain, it’s nice to know reading improves our brain functions and helps us deal with the overload it’s subjected to. I have two books that were on my Christmas list a few years ago that give me great ideas. One is, “1000 Books to Read Before You Die” by James Mustich. I haven’t read all thousand of them yet, but I’m making progress.

The other book is “What to Read” by Mickey Pearlman, Ph.D., — “The Essential Guide for Reading Group Members and Other Book Lovers.”

The important thing, we’re told, is Read: Read, Read, Read, Read. Read

Turn another page — and enjoy.

Elaine Rohse can be reached at rohse5257@comcast.net.

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