Try This for the New Year

My last blog for this year comes with a wish for our community: for good health, good parenting and hope. And above all, turn off your television, take charge of your precious time and read!

As an author, reading is essential for my line of work, but I absolutely enjoy it. Reading educates, entertains, motivates and inspires me. From the jungles of Africa to the mesas of unexplored America, to the polar caps, I love to read about explorers; I also love to read about the history of science and disease, how physicians uncover clues about its etiology and treatment. I love to read about the psychology of communication, and child development. And I love history. Nothing can take the place of reading in my life.

Sadly, most Americans miss this kind of joy. Newsweek reported this year that 25% of adults have not read anything this year. And the average American reads only 4 books annually.

I also fell into the trap of not reading much at one time. But since 2000 I have tracked every book I have read, each month, just to study my own habits of reading. The more I tracked, the more it became a competition to see how many I could finish. I’ve been shooting for 25 a year, but I think I can do better in 2008.

It’s incredibly stimulating to meet up with someone who has read the same book you have read. You feel immediately like you’ve both stumbled onto a secret! When you read a great book, you feel like you want to share your discovery with the world.

I am going to try to do that here. As much as I focus on hemophilia-related subjects, I am also going to include a blurb at the bottom of each blog letting you know what I am reading. This puts the pressure on me to read each week for sure! And to read well. I’ve been delighted that people have emailed me to tell me that they read Crime and Punishment for the first time because of my recommendation, or Mayflower, both excellent books.

So give it a try! First, determine how many you read a year on average. How many do you think you could read if you made a conscious effort? Set a goal in 2008 of how many books you will read, and check in monthly to see how you are doing. Do better than the average four, and let me know what you are reading, too.

Just today I received this email from friend and colleague Richard Atwood, who also writes a book review on hemophilia-related literature for my newsletter PEN: “Now is the time of year to pause and to reflect, and it is not too late to make the resolution to read more hemophilia literature in the upcoming year. By reading hemophilia literature, you can smugly realize that you are stimulating parts of your brain that are not stimulated by other activities, and that you are bucking the disgraceful national trend towards less reading by adults. So by all means, read more creative literature to be a better person. And where else other than a romance novel would find a character of Irish descent named Lori Kelly?”

You know, I kind of like that character’s name!

Happy new year, everyone, and make reading a priority in 2008!

And, here’s the current

Great Book I am Reading: Mozart’s Brain and the Fighter Pilot. I picked this up because a) it’s about how our brain works and how to sharpen it to make it work better, and 2) I love the catchy title! I’ve only read the first two chapters, but this looks to be a great book about the physiology of the brain and how to make it work better for better results in life. I’ll let you know next week how I liked it.

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