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Books are magic; Reading is like fertiliser for the mind

Books are magic; Reading is like fertiliser for the mind


The ability to download volumes of stories on to a device makes reading accessible like never before.



When I was 7 years old, and long before the internet, I remember my excitement as I waited for my Look and Learnmagazine to arrive at the local bookshop.

My Nana had bought me a subscription and the glossy kids’ mag would arrive from London each week. My first issue sported Ivan The Terrible on the cover, and it was the first instalment of a series on the Romanovs, a Russian Dynasty from 1613-1917. It was the same year Neil Armstrong landed on the moon. 

The dopamine must have surged at that young age because each week I would devour another episode about another Czar and my love of reading and history deepened and my imagination accelerated. Moscow has always been my  No 1 must-visit country and it’s hard to believe it has taken me nearly half a century to get here. 

Visiting Moscow, Red Square and the Kremlin has been worth the wait. Having visited the Far east and Kamchatka Peninsula and slid down Siberian volcanoes on my snowboard, it’s special to visit Moscow and see my childhood dreams become a reality. Russia is at times like another planet and the once Soviet powerhouse has moved with the times. The irony is not lost on me to see a large statue of Karl Marx nestled between luxury brands like Bentley and Maserati in the next block. 

The neurons of imagination and delight fire in my brain as the glossy images of the magazines of childhood spring to life. Which is the point of this story. Reading is like fertiliser for the mind, young or old. Reading about far-off places and a thirst for knowledge surely creates and strengthens the neural network of creativity and discovery. Books and stories, however you access them, spark the imagination and help you escape like nothing else. 

As I will be spending a month on a boat in the Russian arctic, I posted a request on my Facebook page for good books to read on a journey devoid of news and Netflix. I have been humbled and thrilled at the efforts my friends have gone to, to suggest great titles and epic reads relating to this part of the world. The history and imagination of the region is as mind-blowing as the frozen steppes that beckon. 

The ability to download volumes of stories on to a device makes reading accessible like never before. Instead of waiting a week for a printed magazine as a child, I can hit a button and buy multiple books in a matter of minutes and not exceed my baggage allowance. 

It’s an appetite that can be easily satisfied, and the only barrier is your credit card limit, not the airline’s check-in counter. I would hate to think how many kilos of words I have downloaded to devour and digest at a later date when I get hungry for mental magic. 

Books are magic: they create magical images and sequences that feed our brain.  I have been a reader from a young age and my life would be very different without the books that have shaped it. In fact, a book I picked up in a store in Fremantle, Perth about a shipwreck in New Zealand’s sub-Antarctic islands in 1864 has lead me here, sitting in a Murmansk hotel in Russia writing this article and waiting to set sail. My mind will not starve – I have the megabytes of yarns and tales to read and the words I will create of my own in the frozen Russian arctic. 

 So feed your mind, start reading – or even writing – your own book and escape to somewhere else soon.


* Dr Tom Mulholland is an Emergency Department Doctor and GP with over 25 years’ experience in New Zealand. He’s currently a man on a mission, tackling health missions around the world.









courtesy of stuff

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