Reading: It Doesn’t not do a Body Good
Welcome guest blogger Michelle Buonfiglio, host of Romance B(u)y the Book and super reader.
Ask readers why they’re addicted to the written word and you’ll often get the same answer my fellow writers offer when asked “why write”: We simply can’t not do it. Awkwardly phrased, that one, but easily understood. Similarly understood by the word-obsessed is the idea that reading is good for us. But can we really say for certain why?
Back in February, the “Why is reading good for you?” thread posted at TheStudentRoom.co.uk garnered some interesting answers from young people. Some were the ones one might expect. Reading, they said…
“Can lead to a wider outlook on life, increased general knowledge, greater imagination.”
Improves or increases vocabulary.”
“Suggests good spelling and grammar usage.” Commenters also stated some benefits of reading I hadn’t thought of…
”It gives you somewhere to store your bookmarks.”
“Gives you something to do when you have no life.”
Ouch. I’ll admit I had thought of that one, as well as this one, especially when dealing with “literary types” who aren’t romance fans…
“[Reading] allows you to condescend to anyone who hasn’t read the same books as you.”
Finally, this comment reminds me a lot of what women who read romance often say about their choice in fiction…
“I read ideas/views on human nature/behaviour that I have thought before but never heard anyone speak about or never ventured to mention myself. It has the effect of making me feel a little less weird.”
That a person can zip around the Internet and find a universality of reasons for appreciation of reading is kind of amazing. But does that prove reading is good for us?
Well, readers remark all the time – and I whole-heartedly-and-bodily agree — that reading romance feels good. Is that feeling quantifiable? I’d like to think so. First, researchers have found that smiling – which we do often while reading romance — releases into the body serotonin and endorphins, the so-called “Happiness Hormones.”
Next, most readers I know say their bodies feel good when they read romance. And just about everybody agrees that sexual arousal and expression do a body good.
Finally, what brings a smile to one’s face more easily than a little sexual arousal mixed with Happily Ever After (HEA)?
There you have it. Reading romance is good for you! So, um, don’t not do it.
Michelle Buonfiglio hosts Romance: B(u)y the Book at Lifetime Television’s myLifetime.com. http://www.mylifetime.com/lifestyle/entertainment/romance-buy-the-book/blog She’s captain of the UYS TEAM RBTB. Michelle is a kidney transplant recipient who reads only HEAs — because life is too short and too precious to invite negative karma.
Entry filed under: reading.