Journeying with a book

There are times when I can’t physically read a book (at the gym; squashed like a sardine on the train or tube; the radio is even on as I fall asleep) but, easily bored person that I am, I must have an audio book or similar on the go at these times. Almost as good as reading itself is listening to other people talk about books, which is why I’ve stocked up on podcasts of  Open Book.

While listening to an episode last week, I heard about a literature professor called Natalie Phillips who is investigating what happens inside our brains while reading. She investigated this by having subjects read Jane Austen’s Mansfield Park while in an MRI scanner. If I’m summing up correctly, researchers were surprised to note how much activity there was in the cerebral regions devoted to touch and movement through space while the subjects were lying motionless.

Somehow it seems obvious, though perhaps it’s surprising to have science back up the premise that a truly good book so engrossing. That it can take you out of yourself to the point that you’re almost contributing to the dialogue, your senses are fully engaged and you’re moving through the rooms or landscape of the book. I’m sure anyone reading this blog is well aware that reading is the cheapest, laziest form of travel you can buy!

Lesley Crooks, Sales & Digital Manager

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