read for your life!

I’m skeptical about most studies I see reported because so often the conclusions can be reached by using plain old garden variety common sense, without spending millions of dollars. And others have such a small sample size that any conclusion must be held loosely. While this one may be one of those, it works in my favor so I’ll share it:

The study, which is published in the September issue of the journal Social Science & Medicine, looked at the reading patterns of 3,635 people who were 50 or older. On average, book readers were found to live for almost two years longer than non-readers…

…“When readers were compared to non-readers at 80% mortality (the time it takes 20% of a group to die), non-book readers lived 85 months (7.08 years), whereas book readers lived 108 months (9.00 years) after baseline,” write the researchers. “Thus, reading books provided a 23-month survival advantage.”

Bavishi said that the more that respondents read, the longer they lived, but that “as little as 30 minutes a day was still beneficial in terms of survival”.

The paper also specifically links the reading of books, rather than periodicals, to a longer life.

That’s really the best news I’ve heard all day!

And speaking of reading, I finished a fun book last night — The Swans of Fifth Avenue: A Novel by Melanie Benjamin. Set in the Mad Men era of (mostly) Manhattan, it tells the story of Truman Capote and his “swans” — high society ladies who confided in him only to see him betray them by publishing their secrets. While it’s frivolous reading in some ways — the fashion, wealth, yachts, and gossipy stories — the author offers some keen insights into human nature and behavior. I really enjoyed the writing and will be reading more by Benjamin and adding some of Capote’s works to my to-be-read list.

Now I’m reading A Three Dog Life, a memoir which Stephen King says is his favorite. That, along with the $2.99 price for the Kindle version, made it a must-read.

It’s for my health, y’all!

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