I can remember as if it were yesterday when I started to read books voraciously.  I was in the 3rd grade and there were a series of books on famous people.  Each book had a light blue cover and the titles were printed in yellow.  

The books were about famous people. For example: Teddy Roosevelt, Babe Ruth, Abraham Lincoln, Benjamin Franklin, Ponce De Leon, Charles Lindbergh (Lucky Lindy), Van Gogh and many others.  Presidents of the United States, Sports Heroes, Politicians/Scientists, Pilots/Adventurists, Explorers, and Artists, etc. All had varied occupations and were famous for different reasons.  They all had very interesting lives and captivating stories to learn about.

I would get up early in the morning, when it was very dark outside, before my mother and my brother would get up. I would turn on the light in the living room , sit on the chair next to that lamp and read.

Why is reading a book beneficial to you?  I believe you should make reading a book a part of your daily routine.  Here are some of the benefits you will receive from reading an interesting book:

KNOWLEDGE—The more knowledge you have the better prepared you are to handle tough situations.  My grandfather used to say: “Get as much education as you can, it is one of the few things that cannot be taken away from you. “   My grandfather arrived in the United States, as an immigrant Jewish teenager, fleeing the Pogroms in Russia. He learned to speak English, but never learned how to read English until he was in his 60’s.  There is no question that my grandfather was correct on the issue of obtaining as much education as possible.

REDUCTION OF STRESS—When you start reading an entertaining novel, a lot of the stress in your personal life seems to dissipate.   The reader starts to imagine the characters and the surroundings. Reading an interesting book allows the reader to enjoy the story and escape from the present.  As I write this life lesson to you, my wonderful wife is reading another book. She probably reads one (1) to one and a half books (1 ½) a week. So, reduction of stress and enjoyment are some of the benefits you get from reading an interesting book.

STIMULATING YOUR MIND-–  There are a number of clinical studies stating that being mentally stimulated can slow down the possibility of getting Dementia and/or Alzheimer’s.  I still believe you can always learn from others. My oldest grandchild reads more books than my wife. I do not know where she finds the time as she studies long hours and partakes in numerous school activities.   She has just sent in her College applications. She has applied to the best Journalism School in the U.S. There is no question, that her additional reading has helped her along in becoming a more well-rounded person.

QUESTION:  So why am I emphasizing to everyone to read more?

ANSWER:  I and my wife just enjoy reading a good novel.  How our minds imagine the way the characters and the surroundings might look is in fact stimulating. Sometimes we are disappointed when one of these books are made into a movie because the characters and/or surroundings don’t look anything like what we had imagined.  Well, you know what? The producers and directors of these movies imagined the characters and surroundings differently than we did—that might not be such a bad thing after all.

QUESTION: How have I emphasized to my family that they should read more?

ANSWER:  I am getting up there in age.  I really don’t need any more birthday or holiday gifts.   I probably already have everything my family could ever purchase for me.  They (my family members) are the best present I could ever have. So, I have set up new rules for my family when it comes to my birthday.  They are not allowed to purchase a gift for me. Instead, I give each of them a gift. I purchase gift certificates at their local bookstores.  They are then required to purchase a book of their choice. About 7 months later, they have to give me a book report on the book they had selected.  The day we give our book reports ( I also give one) everyone wants to go first. Last year my youngest grandchild gave his first book report. He loved doing it sooooo much, that he would not let the rest of the family give their book reports until he gave his book report a second time.  I will never forget that “monkey” from his book report and hopefully, nor will he.

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