Oh the places you’ll go!

Next week is spring break. I’ve got big plans. First, I’m traveling around Europe where I’ll sip espresso in sidewalk cafes while reading Ernest Hemingway’s  The Sun Also Rises and perhaps, time permitting, I’ll make a road trip across the US while working my way through Jack Kerouac’s On the Road.  

Yup, I’m taking a trip… to the library!!!

What?!?

Okay, you’re probably a bit confused (and perhaps a little jealous?). Here’s the story:

***

The other day I was whining about how I am not traveling anywhere for spring break.  I had hoped we would jet off somewhere for the week to take advantage of Boo’s last opportunity to fly free, but torn between a lack of finances and an influx of carbon guilt, we never booked the trip. I’ve regretted it ever since, until my brother told me to quit whining and read a book.

I didn’t know what he was talking about until he directed me to the NYTimes article Your Brain on Fiction. Apparently, researchers have discovered that reading a “detailed description, an evocative metaphor or an emotional exchange between characters […] stimulate the brain and even change how we act in life.”  Basically, our brain treats reading about people, places, and experiences the same as if these were real-life encounters.

“The brain, it seems, does not make much of a distinction between reading about an experience and encountering it in real life; in each case, the same neurological regions are stimulated.”

I should probably emphasize the importance of good reading here. The article really stresses that these benefits can really only come from reading (good) descriptive writing. Your newspaper isn’t going to cut it. And Sophie Kinsella sure isn’t going to cut it either.  But there’s a whole library of experiences just waiting to happen to me. I’m pretty excited.

Hemingway’s Europe slide show (aka. where I’m going and what I’m doing)

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