10 Novel Ways to Improve Your Life; as Scientists Prove Mental and Physical Benefits of Fiction

The Mirror (London, England), January 8, 2014 | Go to article overview

10 Novel Ways to Improve Your Life; as Scientists Prove Mental and Physical Benefits of Fiction


Byline: FRANCESCA COOKNEY Mirror Book Club Host

THERE'S nothing quite like being caught up in a rattling good read.

If you've ever stayed up all night promising yourself "just one more chapter" you'll know what I'm talking about.

But there's more to it than that. Emory University in the US found that reading triggers chemical changes in your brain. Reading about something can trick your mind into thinking you really did it, creating a kind of muscle memory that influences your mind for days. So when someone says a book changed their life, they might not be exaggerating.

Try it out with my Top 10 thought-provoking reads...

francesca.cookney@mirror.co.uk

MATILDA ROALD DAHL

No list of lifechanging books is complete without this children's classic. It's the story every bookworm wants to hear - that reading is cool and anyone who disagrees gets their comeuppance! As a child you want to be the fearless Matilda. As an adult the overthrow of the tyrannical Miss Trunchbull will still put a spring in your step.

THE LOVELY BONES ALICE SEBOLD

A harrowing tale of child rape and murder told by victim Susie as she watches from a fascinating and gradually revealed afterlife as her family try to come to terms with her death. The story explores ideas of heaven, hell and the soul while always wrenching at your heart-strings. Author Alice was raped in real life at the age of 18.

ALL QUIET ON THE WESTERN FRONT ERICH MARIA REMARQUE

The author was a First World War veteran and his book was banned and burned by the Nazis. Humorous at times, it gives an ultimately tragic view of a terrible and futile conflict, focusing not on tales of bravery but inside the minds of the soldiers. Hearing the story from "the other side" is an extra twist for British readers.

A THOUSAND SPLENDID SUNS KHALED HOSSEINI

His first novel The Kite Runner is better known. But I found the follow-up so moving it made me cry in public (on a bus!) Two Afghan women a generation apart live together as wives to a cruel and selfish man. The story touches on education and women's rights under the Taliban - even more poignant with the shooting of Malala Yousafzai.

THE HELP KATHRYN STOCKETT

Set in the US Deep South in 1962, the story is told by the female black servants in homes where racism is the norm and their lives are full of cruelty and bitter unfairness. …

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10 Novel Ways to Improve Your Life; as Scientists Prove Mental and Physical Benefits of Fiction
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