Reading and Happiness

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“Surrounded by darkness yet enfolded in light.” ~― Alan Brennert

There is an interesting article in the New Yorker Magazine about the connection between reading and happiness.  Researchers say when we read that there is a neurological process that takes place in our brain that transports us away from our everyday life to feeling as if we are in the place in the story, right along with the characters.

Bibliotherapy (reading books to make people feel happier) can be traced back to 1916 when the term was used in an article in the Atlantic Monthly. “Books,” the article said, can be used as a “stimulant or a sedative or an irritant or a soporific. The point is that it must do something to you, and you ought to know what it is. A book may be of the nature of a soothing syrup or it may be of the nature of a mustard plaster.”

palisades parkI had to laugh when I read that quote because I am currently reading a novel called Palisades Park by Alan Brennert. Through the story I have been transported to the famed amusement park in New Jersey and I have been eating hotdogs with mustard and sugary cotton candy in my imagination from the Midway. My mind has been spinning in circles as I’ve imagined the Cyclone roller coaster and the tilt-a-whirl and all the other rides. Every bit of the book has heightened my senses, as it’s stirred nostalgic memories of my youthful visits to the amusement park at Hershey Pennsylvania and Gwynn Oak Park in Baltimore.

Brennert’s book has done well in taking me to Palisades Park during the height of it’s popularity, in the 1930s. He has helped me understand the value of such entertainment in uplifting the American spirit during war times. All four of my senses have been fulfilled through his rich descriptive writing of tastes, sounds, smells and site of the historical times and events in his novel. You’ll hear the cacophony of calliope and shrieks. A sensational nostalgic summertime read!   Highly recommended.

If you are looking for other good reads that will transport you back to another historical time Gift of a Lifetime: Finding Fulfilling Things in the Unexpected and short stories Lessons of Heart & Soul, will remind you of the times when life was much simpler. This blog is brought to you by award-winning author Sue Batton Leonard.

 

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