Revisiting Favorites: Scotia Village Residents List Must-Read Books
In two hours at a movie theater, you can watch what it would take days to read from a novel.
You can learn in a 30-minute news broadcast what would take a couple of hours to read in a newspaper.
Information is at your fingertips via the computer, and Web sites (like YouTube) allow you to search quickly for and view information on a vast array of topics. All of these facts of the modern world would appear to be nails in the coffin for the old and out-dated book. Right?
Not so fast! The act of reading may hold benefits and advantages that you may not have considered previously.
According to experts in the neuroscience field, the act of reading is more neurobiologically demanding than processing pictures or speech.
"Reading causes the parts of the brain that are used in vision, language and associative learning to connect in a unique neural circuit," says Ken Pugh, Ph.D., president and director of research of Haskins Laboratories, which is devoted to the science of language. "A sentence is shorthand for a lot of information that must be inferred by the brain."
In other words, your intelligence and ability to concentrate are called into action to decipher the written word.
"We are forced to construct, to produce narrative, to imagine," says Maryanne Wolf, director of the Center for Reading and Language Research at Tufts University. "Typically, when you read, you have more time to think. Reading gives you a unique pause button for comprehension and insight. By and large, with oral language, when you watch a film or listen to a tape, you don't press pause."
The tangible health benefits of reading include keeping your memory sharp, your learning capacity nimble and your mind hardier as you age. Wolf says that "there's a richness that reading gives you an opportunity to probe more than any other medium I know of."
Recently, the residents of Scotia Village, in Laurinburg, were asked to pick some of their favorite books. The books they selected represented a wide range of backgrounds and interests. Now that summer is here, this list could serve as a great reading list. Maybe you are an avid reader, always looking for something to read. Maybe you are not a reader, but would like to add reading to your lifestyle. No matter! Pick up any one of the books suggested below and enjoy!
"The Master and Commander" series, by Patrick O'Brian (recommended by James Beales) -- With over five million copies in print, the 20-book saga has been extolled on both sides of the Atlantic as the "finest nautical novels ever written." The series chronicles the lives of two friends, Jack Aubrey and Stephen Maturin. Jack is part of the Royal Navy, an excellent sailor leading his ships into battles against the French and Spanish.
"One Foot in Eden," by Ron Rash (recommended by Nancy Dendy) -- Dendy knows this author personally and has followed his career over the years. Of particular interest is that his novels are based in the Carolinas and have geographical relevance for the people of this area. This novel offers the readers a most unique solution for a murderer to conceal his crime.and the body.
"The Prophet," by Kahlil Gibran (recommended by Jack Hanna) -- As a teenager in New Hampshire, Hanna was first drawn to the book because "it was banned in Boston." However, as his life progressed, the book's topical messages proved to be more poetically and philosophically appealing.
"Arrowsmith," by Sinclair Lewis (recommended by Dr. Allen Dotson) -- As a freshman at Wake Forest College, Dotson was advised to take any professor's English One class except Ms. Raynor's. With the best of intentions he tried to avoid the class, but he somehow ended up there after all, and it turned out to be one of the most important classes he ever took. Raynor, realizing that several of her students were in the sciences, assigned "Arrowsmith" as one of the books to read during the semester. Already hooked on physics but not sure of a career path, the character Arrowsmith so impressed Dotson with his zeal for doing research that the book sold him on a career that combined research with teaching. This career has been very enjoyable, and Dotson is finding it hard to end. He still teaches physics at St. Andrews Presbyterian College.
"Cold Sassy Tree," by Olive Ann Burns (recommended by Marilyn Messerly) -- This book is a delightful journey into rural Georgia at the turn of the century. Messerly had lived in Georgia for several years ,and the humor, gossip, and pious judgments seem so real to her. The main character, Will Tweedy, a young boy growing into an adolescent, is very believable. Residents of this area will find it easy to identify with this story.
"The Source," by James Michener (recommended by Sibyle Dulin) -- This book is an historical novel following the history of Israel and the Jewish people. It starts in pre-monotheistic days and comes all the way through the formation of the modern Israeli state in 1948. This book gives the reader a better understanding of the constant turmoil and conflict that plagues this area of the world. Further, it can also give the reader a better understanding of the Bible.
"Washington's Crossing," by David Hackett Fischer (recommended by Allen Stebbins) -- If you like reading history about the American Revolution or the Civil War, then this book is for you. Through extensive and well-documented research Fischer is able to bring Washington's victories at Trenton and Princeton alive. The narrative gives the perspective of not only the American commanders, but also the British and German commanders involved in America's struggle for independence.
"The Iliad," by Homer (recommended by Dr. Malcolm Doubles) -- Though not typically thought of as leisure reading, "The Iliad" is a cornerstone of Western literature and should be considered "required reading." "The Iliad" tells the story of the fall of Troy and features such heroes as Achilles, Odysseus and Hector. Many consider this book to be the first great work in the Western library, the first epic poem and, according to Doubles, the first piece of protest literature.
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