When I read The Book Thief a few years ago, there was a quote that really stood out and well, I still carry to this day.
I find this to be all too true. A great book, I just want to keep holding as the book and story have a hold on me. It’s hard for me to really let go of a story and its characters since it all feels so incredibly real. And according to science now, it appears I’m not going crazy as a story implants itself in your brain and sticks around for a bit, changing the way your mind works.
Dr. Gregory S. Burns and his research team conducted a study with undergraduates and recorded their brain activity while reading Pompeii (Robert Harris) over nine days and then continued monitoring brain activity for an additional five days after finishing the book.
Huffington Post writer Jacqueline Howard goes into more detail about the study and its findings, yet I cannot help to just love this little nugget from Dr. Burns during Howard’s reporting:
“At a minimum, we can say that reading stories –- especially those with strong narrative arcs -– reconfigures brain networks for at least a few days. It shows how stories can stay with us. This may have profound implications for children and the role of reading in shaping their brains.”
— Dr. Gregory S. Burns
And now, I think I’m going to have to pick up Pompeii.
Last month, my boss sent me home with Imagine: How Creativity Works by Jonah Lehrer. It’s a book I’ve had on my reading list, but wasn’t in all that of a hurry to begin. While my reading habits lately include more nonfiction, they’re usually in the way of memoirs or biographies. For some reason, I’ve never been all that jazzed about industry books and tend to really labor through them.
Not the case with this one.
Lehrer breaks creativity, the creative mind and the enabling environments in a wondrous, storytelling way. From Bob Dylan’s songwriting ways (or lack there of) to the way Pixar studios places their bathrooms, Lehrer somehow manages to engage senses and parts of the brain that are dormant while reading.
The chapter about urban living really struck a chord. I never paid much attention to why I feel like I’m more “creative” in Chicago, I just chalked it up to the fact there’s a lot going on…there are a lot of resources to explore…and the people watching is stellar. I never even gave much thought to what all of those components contribute to the way the mind works.
When contemplating a fascinating and engaging read this summer, imagine Lehrer.
“Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once we grow up.” –Picasso
Ira Glass tells us all to just keep on keepin’ on.
“The work you’re making will be as good as your ambitions.” via Brain Pickings