blogpost by Ann Marshall
If you are feeling sad, which of the following is most likely to cheer you up:
- Watching reruns of your favorite sitcom
- Reading a novel
- Tuning into the news.
Answer: reading a novel, according to researchers at the University of Maryland, as reported in Parade Magazine (7-31-11). “People who read are often happier than those who watch more TV — even if the plot of their paperback is depressing.” Read a novel. Be happy.
More good news for fiction readers: the more you read, the more empathy you tend to have, according to Keith Oatley, a cognitive psychologist (formerly at the University of Toronto) and a fiction writer.
He and his research team found reading fiction, in most cases, opens you out to the world. When reading a novel, you’re living with other people — often inside their heads.
Rx for the mugwumps: read Soda Springs: Love, Sex, and Civil Rights. You won’t be able to put it down. (And don’t worry: it’s anything but depressing.)