A recent article in The New York Times stated that book readers live longer than non-book readers. The article explained that “(c)ompared with those who did not read books, those who read for up to three and a half hours a week were 17 percent less likely to die over 12 years of follow-up, and those who read more than that were 23 percent less likely to die. Book readers lived an average of almost two years longer than those who did not read at all.” Here’s the article is you are interested in how the research was done: http://mobile.nytimes.com/blogs/well/2016/08/03/read-books-live-longer/.
The article provides some evidence to what I have always felt: books improve our lives and thus our lives are better and longer because we read. What the article does not evaluate is the “why” do readers live longer. Therefore, I felt it was necessary to expound on this data with my own biased and unsupported finds. Will I have any empirical data to prove this? No. Will my findings have ground-breaking results in the scientific world? Yeah, no again. Will it be entertaining? Well, that is my hope.
So, going back to the science fair projects of my children and my very distant memories of the transitive property in Algebra, my hypothesis is that readers live longer because of the following factors:
Writers keep writing more books that readers want to read.
I mean, seriously, what is up with these writers? Are they trying to make a living or something? It’s not like the readers are demanding of writers and clamoring for the next book in the series! I’m talking about you, Anna Lee Huber! It is impossible for me to get “caught” up with my reading. Every time a new book comes out, there is a great debate in my mind as to when to read it. Of course, we always have favorite authors that immediately get pushed to the top of the pile, but do you finish the book you are currently reading? Do you stop mid-book and pick up the anticipated book? Do you try to read both books simultaneously? Yeah, that would be me. Heck, I have probably chalked up a few additional years in my life already with the time I have spent in turmoil deciding what to read next!
Life interferes with reading time.
I think I might have mentioned how annoyed I get that laundry needs to be done, meals need to be cooked, children need to be driven around. Don’t people know that I have a book that I need to read!! I can, on average, complete about three books a week. Are all of them great? Absolutely not, but they need to be read.
Limited reading time causes the To-Be-Read piles to increase.
I have a compulsion . . . anyone else have it? If a new book comes out from a favorite author, I need to own it. Now, I get a lot of books from the library . . . and that is a completely different post . . . but sometimes the library doesn’t have the book, sometimes the book is one I want for my own personal library, and sometimes, someone else is on the wait-list ahead of me! Seriously, I think I may be a toddler when it comes to books. If I want it, it’s mine.
Therefore, there will always be one more book left to read!
I have no doubt that I will be on my deathbed not ready to let go because I haven’t finished the book I’m reading or I’m waiting for the next one in the series. So my conclusion to this highly biased and subjective analysis is that “Readers live longer” because they still have books to read!
And so if you’ll excuse me, I am off to do something good for my health and longevity!