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Does Reading Books is Good for Your Health?

It’s healthy to socialize, exercise, help other people—all activities that might make it seem less-than-healthy to stay home by yourself and read a book.

But reading books is good for your health as well, a new study indicates

After taking account of age, sex, race, education, illnesses, self-rated health, wealth, marital status, and depression, a team at the Yale School of Public Health concluded that book-readers lived 23 months longer than people who read newspapers and magazines or not much at all.

The data came from 3,635 participants in the nationally representative Health and RetirementStudy who provided information about their reading patterns.

In fact, book readers cut their chance of dying by 20 percent during the 12 years of follow-up.

Reading literary novels is also good for you–helping foster empathy. And other science has found that reading short stories makes us less in need of “closure,” more open-minded.