Why reading is good for you

In her New Yorker article about bibliotherapy, Ceridwen Dovey touches on the notion that reading can make you happier.

Reading has been shown to put our brains into a pleasurable trance-like state, similar to meditation, and it brings the same health benefits of deep relaxation and inner calm. Regular readers sleep better, have lower stress levels, higher self-esteem, and lower rates of depression than non-readers.

So, put down your phone and pick up a book (or at the very least your Kindle).

Why talent isn’t enough

This week I read Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell and also watched 20 Feet From Stardom, which in their own way both tell the same story.

That story is that, no matter how talented you are, there are so many other factors that will determine whether the level of your success.

20 Feet From Stardom is a wonderful documentary about backing singers – specifically those who have quite remarkable voices – but who never quite made it.
Continue reading “Why talent isn’t enough”

Lunchtime brain food

From Sentenced to Life by Clive James
From Sentenced to Life by Clive James
If ever I’m feeling either physically or mentally depleted at lunchtime, I can usually guarantee that a walk round Waterstones on Gower Street will give me the necessary stimulation required to lift me.

Today was a case in point. Not only did I browse Clive James’ incredibly moving, recent anthology of poetry, Sentence Of Life (from which the poem on the right is taken), but I found time to read the first few pages of Laura Barnett’s feted novel The Versions Of Us, as well as The Mystery Of The Clockwork Sparrow by Katherine Woodfine.


A selection of second-hand kids books
A selection of second-hand kids books
But I wasn’t just after fiction and imagery to move me. I also browsed the rather frightening 2071: The World We’ll Leave Our Grandchildren and also reminded myself of just how good Art Spiegelman’s Maus is – possibly the most amazing work about the Holocaust anyone will ever encounter. Continue reading “Lunchtime brain food”