The world's first novel, 'The Tale of Genji', was said to be written in the 11th century by a Japanese woman named Murasaki Shikibu. And prior to the widespread written word, storytellers in antiquity would spread their tales far and wide through word of mouth - something that the ancient Greeks are popularly known for. These would later be written down and would form a large part of the literary world, such as Homer's Odyssey. But aside from providing entertainment - both in the past and in the present day - what other benefits do reading and stories provide?
Research shows that reading increases brain connectivity and so essentially, it is like exercise for the brain. And as well as expanding your vocabulary, it also:
Lowers blood pressure
Prevents cognitive decline as you age
Improves your sleep
With all that being said, I think that the likelihood of reaping all the benefits of reading depends on what you're reading. For example, it's unlikely that a book of the thriller genre will decrease stress - it will probably achieve quite the contrary and may even disrupt your sleep! So while I'm not suggesting you chuck all of your favourite books away, it might be best to consider what you're reading and when - i.e. something not too intense at night and perhaps something inspirational in the morning (I've written a separate post on top books for morning reading here!)
My next post will be about two books that will change your perspective and will go live on the first weekend of June.