Reader's Digest Asia Pacific

Reading Builds Brain Power

- LOUISE WATERSON Editor

BACK IN THE LATTER PART of the last century, when I was approachin­g the final years of high school, and essay writing became a regular part of my life, I discovered a wonderful thing – Roget’s Thesaurus. Thanks to this reference book I explored the wonder of words. I’d always been a hungry reader of fiction, but Roget’s became my study companion and over time – and many essays – its white pages turned grey from my pencil-stained fingers. Roget’s – and a love of reading – combined to give me the confidence to craft ideas and arguments and build the career I enjoy today. In this month’s cover article, ‘Why It Pays to Increase Your Word Power’ (page 54), regular contributo­r Brandon Specktor investigat­es the benefits that reading has on our brain health. Deep reading, the type you enjoy when reading a novel, forces your brain to think critically and make connection­s between chapters. This connectivi­ty is the lifeblood of our brains – helping forge healthy neuropathw­ays, which in turn protects against cognitive decay.

Another lovely read that I’m sure you’ll enjoy is about one of my favourite topics – dogs. We mere humans know that gratitude is a virtue. But it took the Roman philosophe­r Cicero to first point out that above all other animals, dogs can openly express gratitude. In ‘A Dog’s Gratitude’ (page 91), ecologist Peter Wohlleben argues that just like people, dogs reciprocat­e gratitude for the joy and security they experience. That is, after all, why dogs were given tails.

I hope you enjoy this month’s magazine.

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