Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Book Therapy. Live Longer (and better) when you Read Books!

Get lost in a book. Pay (a little?) less attention to the news. You'll be more empathetic and you'll likely live longer as well.    
I started out today to write about the therapeutic effects of "getting lost in a book" in this time of stressful political and social events. Then I stumbled on some published research that proved my case. To wit:
When researchers at Yale looked at 12 years of survey data about the reading habits and health of more than 3,600 men and women, those who read books for up to three and a half hours a week were 17 percent less likely to die over 12 years of follow-up than those who didn't read at all, and those who read more than that were 23 percent less likely to die. Book readers lived an average of almost two years longer than those who did not read at all. The researchers found a similar association among those who read newspapers and periodicals, but it was weaker.

And then there was the 2013 Dutch study in which students asked to read an Arthur Conan Doyle mystery showed a marked increase in empathy one week later, while students tasked with reading a sampling of news articles showed a decline. And a second study showed that reading literary fiction especially increased empathy. 
woman reading

So take a break from obsessing about the news and get lost in a good book. For lots of reasons, you'll be glad you did.
Trigger Warning: What follows is an anti-Amazon rant!
The research doesn't mention this, but we're pretty sure the positive effects of reading books are especially strong when the books have been purchased at an independent bookstore. Books purchased from Amazon likely come freighted with the negative after-effects of the inhumane working conditions in Amazon's warehouses--a "Darwinian culture" that was approvingly described as "like being in a slave camp" by Britain's Financial Times (hardly a raging leftist publication).https://www.ft.com/content/ed6a985c-70bd-11e2-85d0-00144feab49a

But if you want a raging leftist confirmation of the Financial Times report, see Jim Hightower's "Thinking of Amazon Workers This Holiday Season," which has details of actual working conditions in an Amazon warehouse. Who knew that Jeff Bezos was named the "World's Worst Boss" by the International Trade Union Confederation?

So how do we feel about doing business with a company that treats people the way Amazon does?
Good Reading
From the looks of our bestseller list, our customers are of two minds about what they want to read these days: books about the current goings-on in our fair nation, or Anything But books about the current the current goings-on. I fall more into the "Anything But" category myself, though I am drawn sometimes to other side (see Nancy MacLean's book, below).

In the Anything But category, our customers are reading:
--Commonwealth by Ann Patchett
--All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr
--Today Will be Different by Maria Semple
--The Hidden Life of Trees by Peter Wohlleben
--Theft by Finding by David Sedaris
Our Current Goings-On bestsellers include:
--Democracy in Chains by Nancy MacLean
--On Tyranny by Timothy Snyder
--No is Not Enough by Naomi Klein

If you want to read some great novels that can enlarge your understanding of small town, working-class America, I highly recommend the work of Richard Russo and Elizabeth Strout, especially
--Nobody's Fool and Everybody's Fool by Richard Russo
Finally, the book I am reading right now is The Nordic Theory of Everything: In Search of a Better Life by Anu Partanen, and I am finding it truly fascinating. Partanen is Finnish, but she moved to the U.S. in 2008, when she was in her early 30's. Her book is a thoughtful, judicious comparison of American and Nordic life and societies, and she makes a strong case that the Nordic approach allows their citizens to enjoy more individual freedom and independence than we have here in America.

Upcoming Events
You can see our complete events calendar on our website
Wednesday, August 9
SORRY! Story Time is CANCELLED for today. Our Storyteller is visiting Rapunzel... Don't worry, she will be back next week!

Thursday, August 10, 7:00PM
Critically-acclaimed cookbook authors Nancie McDermott (Fruit) and Tema Flanagan (Corn) come to The Regulator for a reading and signing of their newest cookbooks, part of UNC's Press's Savor the South® Cookbook series. With gorgeous photographs and expert recipes and commentary, these books make lovely gifts for the foodie, cookbook lover, new groom, or host in your life.
Fruit collects a dozen of the South's bountiful locally sourced fruits in a cook's basket of 54 luscious dishes, savory and sweet -- from old-school Grape Hull Pie to Mayhaw Jelly-Glazed Shrimp, Fresh Fig Pie and Thai-Inspired Watermelon-Pineapple Salad. McDermott also illuminates how the South encompasses diverse subregional culinary traditions when it comes to fruit. Her recipes, including a favorite piecrust, provide a treasury of ways to relish southern fruits at their ephemeral peak and to preserve them for enjoyment throughout the year.

corn Flanagan's treasury of 51 recipes in Corn emphasize seasonality. High summer calls for fresh corn eaten on the cob or shaved into salads, saut├ęs, and soups. When fall and winter come, it's time to make cornmeal biscuits, muffins, cobblers, and hotcakes, along with silky spoonbread and sausage-studded cornbread stuffing. Flanagan's Corn also surveys corn's culinary history--its place in Native American culture, its traditional role on the southerner's table, and the exciting new ways it is enjoyed in southern kitchens today; dishes range from Southern classic, contemporary, to globally influenced. Without Corn--or Zea Mays-- Flanagan writes, the South would cease to taste like the South.

Nancie McDermott (Fruit) is a North Carolina native, cooking teacher, and author of thirteen cookbooks, including her latest, Southern Soups and Stews: From Burgoo and Gumbo to Etouffee and Fricassee.
Tema Flanagan (Corn) is a farmer at The Farm at Windy Hill, a sustainable production and teaching farm in Alabama. She cowrote, with Sara Foster, Sara Foster's Southern Kitchen.

Sunday, August 13, 2:00PM
Durham Animal Protection Society will hold a monthly cat adoption event at the Regulator. Come visit our furry friends from 2:00 - 3:30. Note the time and date.

Wednesday, August 16, 10:15AM
Join us for Preschool Storytime at The Regulator with Amy Godfrey. Free!
Amy Godfrey loves telling stories. With 10 years of experience as a Children's Librarian, Amy Godfrey is known for her energetic musical story times and is bringing that fun to The Regulator every Wednesday! 
Wednesday, August 16, 6:15PM -- 7:45PM

Thursday, August 17, 7:00PM
The Regulator welcomes NYTimes bestselling author and former Regulator staffer Emily Colin (The Memory Thief) for a reading and signing of her new book, The Dream Keeper's Daughter, about an extraordinary time-bending journey from present-day South Carolina to historical 19th-century Barbados. Dream keeper

Eight years after the unsolved disappearance of her boyfriend Max Adair, archaeologist Isabel Griffin has managed to rebuild with her young daughter, Finn -- her last tie to Max. But after a series of strange incidents, Isabel begins to wonder if Max might still be alive somewhere, trying to communicate with her. Max has slipped through time and place, landing on his ancestral family plantation in 1816 Barbados, on the eve of a historic slave uprising. As Isabel searches for answers, Max must figure out not only how to survive the violence to come, but how to get back to his own century, the woman he loves, and the daughter he has only met in his dreams.

Emily Colin's debut novel, The Memory Thief was been a New York Times bestseller and a Target Emerging Authors Pick. Besides working for The Regulator, Colin's diverse life experience includes organizing a Coney Island tattoo and piercing show, hauling fish at the Dolphin Research Center in the Florida Keys, roaming New York City as an itinerant teenage violinist, helping launch two small publishing companies, and serving as the associate director of DREAMS of Wilmington, a nonprofit dedicated to immersing youth in need in the arts. Originally from Brooklyn, she lives in Wilmington with her family.

HEATHER HARPHAM in conversation with BOBBIE, RN
Tuesday, August 22, 7:00PM
The Regulator welcomes Heather Harpham in conversation with Bobbie, the Duke pediatric nurse featured in Harpham's new memoir, Happiness: The Crooked Little Road to Semi-Ever After. Durham and Duke Children's Hospital figure prominently in this shirt-grabbing, page-turning love story Happiness that follows a one-of-a-kind family through twists of fate that require nearly unimaginable choices.

At first glance, Happiness is a wry, honest, captivating story about parenting a (desperately) sick child and that would be enough. But it turns out that Harpham is up to something even more interesting here, exploring the complexities of love. Told with abundant charm and insight, this book is a beautifully drawn portrait of one family--its comforts, disappointments and, on the very best days, moments of grace." -Cynthia D'Aprix Sweeney, bestselling author of The Nest

"An extraordinary and bewitching book, Happiness has staked a claim among the most beautiful and moving portraits of parenthood and partnership." -Susan Cheever, bestselling author of Treetops: A Memoir and Home Before Dark

Heather Harpham has written six solo plays, including Happiness and BURNING which toured nationally. Her fiction, essays and reviews have appeared in MORE Magazine and Water~Stone Review. She teaches at Sarah Lawrence College and SUNY Purchase and lives along the Hudson River with her family.

Shop Independent Durham
Tom Campbell
Regulator Bookshop
720 Ninth St.
Durham, NC 27705
(919) 286-2700

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