The Importance of Reading

I’ve always been a bookworm. For as long as I can remember I have taken solace in the pages of a book to help me through breakups, heartbreak, loss, grief and stress. I also read just for enjoyment and find it really relaxing. But I know many people find it hard, some because they struggle with concentration, some because they suffer from dyslexia and feel intimidated and some people associate it with being forced to read the set curriculum at school. However reading is important and it’s something everyone should do and here’s why.

Reading has been found to enhance the connectivity in the brain and keeping the brain active can slow the progress of Alzheimer’s and dementia. It also requires you to use your memory muscle which can decrease the decline of your memory. Not to mention reading expands your knowledge and vocabulary, but is also improves concentration and increases empathy. In the current climate we’re living in, I think empathy is lacking and the fact that people can gain more empathy from a book and gain more understanding of people and situations that they are likely never to find themselves in, is important. We could all benefit from being a bit more understanding to our fellow man.

Reading is also important as a form of entertainment and relaxation. Where possible, I always try to read the book version of a Film/TV series before I watch it’s translation to film. There have been times where the adaptation has been done pretty decently, but often the image I build up in my head is much more complex and multifaceted than it is on the screen. It’s also incredibly personal; it’s my mind’s interpretation of what I’m reading. Which is one reason I love hearing other people’s opinions of books I’ve read, to hear how they imagined it.

My boyfriend is one of those modest people who believes he’s not very smart, but actually he is. He thinks he doesn’t read a lot, but he’s always reading. Which brings me to my next point. Just because you don’t read books on the regular, it doesn’t mean you’re not a reader. You could be reading articles or forums, but you’re still reading! So don’t let someone shame you for not reading a conventional book. You’re still keeping your brain engaged and learning more so block out the haters.

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Likewise when you are reading books don’t let someone shame you for the subject matter or genre.  I’ll admit “chick lit” (I hate that term) is not for me but I wouldn’t shame someone for reading it, I really hate this modern mentality of shaming someone’s enjoyment of something. Just because it’s not your cup of tea, doesn’t give you the right to guilt someone else for enjoying it, so enjoy that book about the history of the Regency Revolution, or that tie-in Star Trek book and ignore what anyone else says. Just do you!

But above all my favourite thing about reading is the way it can bring people together, it opens the floor to discussion, it allows you to learn other perspectives and see the world through the eyes of someone else. It is the best way to escape without going anywhere. I don’t think I will ever stop reading and I’m proud to be a bookworm.

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In fact I would like to hear from you! I am looking for 5 people who would allow me to feature them on my blog, discussing your favourite book(s) and the impact they had on you. If you’re interested and happy to be involved, then please comment below. Until then, happy reading.

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Book Review – Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn

I was a little late in arriving to the ‘Gone Girl’ party and I really didn’t know what to expect. I’d heard many a great thing about the book and I know that it was a bestseller, and other than the initial blurb of the story, I knew nothing about it.

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I was eager to read it soon, especially as this weekend sees the release of the film adaptation starring Ben Affleck and Rosamund Pike. Nick Dunne wakes up on his fifth wedding anniversary to his wife making crepes, all seems good with the world, but when he gets a call at the bar he runs with his sister, Go, he returns home to find his living room upturned and his wife gone. What follows is a captivating whodunit.

The chapters flit between Nicks, as he deals with the days following his wife going missing, and diary entries from Amy dating back from when she first met her husband. I’ll be honest after the first few chapters, I despised him, and he comes across cold, uncaring and seems to be acting abnormally. Amy’s diary entries only seem to back up these judgements. Eventually it was easy to think that he had killed Amy and was trying to play innocent as long as possible.

But around halfway through the book Flynn completely turns the book on its head and takes you in another direction, which warranted a gasp of surprise from me. It’s around here though that I have to stop gushing. Although well written the latter part of the book was infuriating and somewhat contrived. I felt almost cheated that I had invested so much energy into enjoying it in the first place.

Yes, some moments were clever and yes the way Flynn wrote Nick and Amy in the first part was very well done, I didn’t see the twist coming, however the ending was disappointing and I’m ashamed to say that this book didn’t live up to half the hype it had been given. I only hope the film hasn’t stuck rigidly to the book and is more enjoyable than this, which became a tedious read towards the end, with far too much unnecessary back and forth and a flat, unfulfilling ending. I’d recommend this if you’re about to see the film, but you’d be much better off picking up Sharp Objects instead as it’s a far superior novel in my opinion.

Star Rating out of 5: 3

We are one long frightening climax.

 

Until next time fellow bookworms.

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Mr Keating and I…

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I still have no words at how unbelievably saddened I feel about the passing of this great man. The Dead Poet’s Society was a film that really inspired me when I was younger; I fell more and more in love with the written word and absorbed as many books as I could. I always dreamed of having a teacher like Mr Keating, but was never lucky enough to have that dream fulfilled. But when I recently re-watched the film, I realised it doesn’t matter, because Robin Williams brought Mr Keating alive on the screen and immortalized him forever on film. And like a well loved book, all tattered, beaten, dog eared but incredibly loved, I can revisit him as often as I want and find myself being inspired all over again.

Lauren Bacall 1924 – 2014

So today we woke up to news that another Hollywood Legend had died. Lauren Bacall had a career spanning seven decades and had acted alongside some of the true greats ever to grace the Silver Screen. We’re talking the likes the of Marilyn Monroe, Kirk Douglas, Gregory Peck and of course, her beloved Humphrey Bogart.

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There’s always been something about that era of cinema that has appealed to me; perhaps I get it from my mum. She used to watch old movies on a Saturday afternoon, and often, I’d watch them with her. Which is where my love and respect for Bette Davis comes from, but that’s a whole other blog post.

It’s often well documented in the media and interviews that actresses have a tougher time than their male counterparts the older they get. So for Bacall to be working till the end, it certainly says a lot about the charisma and skill she had.

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She was an audacious lady, with that husky voice and that infamous look she had. But it was when she was acting opposite her beloved Bogey that you could see some true chemistry at play.

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Today, and indeed, this week has been a sad one for Hollywood and the rest of the world, with the loss of legendary comedian and actor Robin Williams, being announced only yesterday, we now say goodbye to Lauren Bacall at the age of 89.

Lauren Bacall once said ‘I think your whole life shows in your face, and you should be proud of that!’ and proud you should be Lauren. You lived one heck of a life. Now go and rest in peace, and once again be reunited with your true love, Bogey.

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Lauren Bacall 1924 – 2014.