As Katie Hutchinson and I just finished battling with ourselves over whether we could justify £12.50 a month on a subscription for a digital book club (despite freely handing over our money to ASOS and Zara on a daily basis), I came to the personal conclusion that any money invested in reading, education or personal development is money well spent.
Okay so said subscription might be for a contemporary, modern literary book club for ‘the stylish young woman’ (worth mentioning it comes loaded with a selection luxe beauty and wellbeing goodies too - not like that swayed our decision though), but I fittingly came across this article by Christina DesMarais for Inc.com. She writes how the practice of reading regularly creates cognitive engagement that improves vocabulary, thinking skills and concentration. It also affects empathy, social perception and emotional intelligence along with a whole host of cognitive benefits.
Surprisingly, fiction is said to garner more intellectual benefits than non-fiction reading. According to the article "Nonfiction reading allows students to learn the subject matter, but it may not always help them in thinking about it."
In other words, creative fiction is better at helping us think ‘outside the box’, make sense of subjects and connect ideas to open our mind and bolster our intelligence.
Targeting the demographic of the average ‘career-driven millennial woman’; one who is so hungry for intellectual stimulation yet simultaneously invested in her wellbeing, I think that digital book clubs like ‘Reading in Heels’ (that pair literature with herbal tea and face masques) are totally ingenious.
I’m usually such a dedicated reader, engrossed in anything I can find - be that a vintage cookery book, a modern, no-nonsense self-help, or my favourite - a torn and weathered copy of Wuthering Heights. But for some reason, I’ve fallen off the wagon recently. And I’ve been guilty of filling my time with mindless, unfulfilling and self-indulgent tasks which, are doing nothing to stimulate my vocabulary, concentration, or creativity. I’ve found it more difficult to sleep, concentrate, and funnily enough, write.
While the ‘50 books a year’ challenge they promote might seem daunting, this isn’t entirely insurmountable. When you think about how much time we waste scrolling mindlessly through Instagram and watching pointless television shows, swapping those for a chapter or two here and there could help rack up the pages.
I’d like to conclude by sharing my summer reading list. In the meantime, I’m off to tend to my desk succulents and finish my online food shop.
Suggestions are welcome!
Reading fiction can help you be more open-minded and creative According to research conducted at the University of Toronto, study participants who read short-story fiction experienced far less need for "cognitive closure" compared with counterparts who read nonfiction essays. Essentially, they tested as more open-minded, compared with the readers of essays. "Although nonfiction reading allows students to learn the subject matter, it may not always help them in thinking about it," the authors write. "A physician may have an encyclopedic knowledge of his or her subject, but this may not prevent the physician from seizing and freezing on a diagnosis, when additional symptoms point to a different malady."