Reading Your Way to Wholesome Living

Reading will change your life

First Thursdays in March are World Book Days, set aside to promote literacy. Reading in many communities is majorly done for school but there’s more to it than that. It could be used for fun, growth, company, as a complement to healing, bonding, and fostering strong communities.


An avid reading lifestyle keeps the brain active and reduces the risk of Alzheimer’s disease. It is an activity that increases your cognitive ability thus delaying the onset of memory loss as you age. The effects are more pronounced when it is a lifelong habit.

There are many more benefits a good book can add to your overall health. Have trouble sleeping? A book may be what you need. Reading a couple of chapters of a physical book regularly builds a pattern that improves the quality of your sleep. Ebooks are not included as they expose you to screen time just before bed which interferes with sleep.

In building your vocabulary, it helps you to gain better conversational skills. The wealth of experience you gain from being an avid reader flows into your social skills as you have more topics to discuss with others. This helps some people to build confidence and overcome anxiety in social gatherings.

Reading a couple of chapters of a physical book regularly builds a pattern that improves the quality of your sleep.

In this regard, book clubs are an excellent platform to meet new people from billionaires to authors to artisans. Creeds, tribes, races , nationalities joined by one spark- the love of books. It is one of the best chances humanity has at unity and peace.

In reducing the effects of stress, a good book helps you to bear the rigours of ill-health. This benefit can be unlocked just after about 10 minutes of reading. When I feel stressed about something, I find reading to be helpful in relieving the tension.

Other benefits include improved overall mental ability, increased attention span and an increase in empathy found among readers. Exposure to different scenarios in fiction, following characters through their journeys makes us understand that there are many perspectives to life based on different experiences. This makes us more welcoming and less judgmental. Looking to build a better world? Invest in libraries and book communities.

Children shown the wonders of the world with books are less likely to have time for disruptive activities. It is an activity that fosters cooperation rather than vicious competition among them. Their bonding improves, their language skills grow faster , they are able to communicate clearly and just being busy with this may make them less inclined to petty crime later on. Buy more books for them.

Now that you know reading makes you a healthier, smarter and better person, what book are you picking up next?

Dr Mariam Toye

050320

Book Reviews With Oumissa 2 : Stay With Me- Ayòbámi Adébáyò

 

 ​The àmì on the author’s name made me translate the title into Yoruba subconsciously and there! I got a loose idea of what the book was centred on – Àbíkú.

However , nothing prepares you for the twists and turns, the suspense and carefully woven tapestry of this work, the ending that is as unexpected as it is beautiful. All of this makes Stay With Me such a fantastic piece.

The plot mirrors common but rarely discussed experiences. In it, you are made to feel the pressure, frustration and all other emotions of a childless couple in 80’s South West Nigeria.

You feel the pain of betrayal, the rawness of deception, the calculation and misguided love in the ties connecting Akin and Yejide to Funmi, Dotun, Moomi and other characters. Witnessing the  darkest side of each’s persona still does not make you judge them. Such is the candour of Ayòbámi’s presentation.

Perhaps what made this book so striking is the familiarity of the setting.

It is amazing how the author manages to incorporate so many themes in a concise and enjoyable read. Among them are life in Nigeria’s military era; escaping poverty to middle class through education; retaining core aspects of cultural heritage nonetheless; dedication and sacrifice of mothers; sickle cell disease and mental health.

It provides insight into the overwhelming importance placed on having biological children, how this leads to desperation, unforseen circumstances and uncontrollable consequences that defy best laid plans. Societal expectations are seen to be more stringent on women. Even self-proclaimed feminists are not spared.

P.S I would love to know more about Akin. For me, he was the most layered and interesting character.