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    by Ngozi Osuagwu, MD | February 25th, 2024

    Start Reading

    I was excited when my daughter called me to ask me about Goodreads.

    “Mom, have you heard about Goodreads?”

    “Yes”, I answered.

    “Do you know the average number of books a person on Goodreads reads yearly? She asked.

    “No, how many? I answered.

    “39, so you know how many books I plan to read this year?” she replied.

    “Yes, 39,” I answered.

    “You got it, and I am on number 5.”

    I was excited because, as a child, she used to read a lot, and then after college, she started watching a lot of movies and television, and to have her want to get back to reading again was beautiful. Although I am not a fan of her genre, fantasy, it does not matter; she will get all the health benefits that come with reading.

    Reading has several benefits for our overall health. Several studies have shown the positive impact of reading. A study found that 30 minutes of reading lowered blood pressure, heart rate, and feelings of psychological distress just as effectively as yoga. Another survey of people 50 and older showed that people who read books regularly had a 20% lower risk of dying over the next 12 years than those who were not readers. Reading helps decrease stress, helps with sleep, and boosts brain capacity. Regarding sleep, it should be a print book since the screen from e-readers can disrupt sleep. Reading exercises your mind by helping to build vocabulary and memory. Reading has been shown to decrease our risk of dementia.

    Although I have not read up to five books as my daughter, I am excited about the books I have read this year:

    The Heaven & Earth Grocery Store by James McBride: This book is the winner of the National Book Award. I read it in less than a week during my vacation. It is a story of Black and Jewish residents of the Chicken Hill neighborhood of Pottstown, Pennsylvania, set in the 1920s. Not my typical book I would have picked up but it was my book club’s choice and I am happy I read the book.

    Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates: This is a National Book Award finalist. The author writes his son about the America he lives in. I was fortunate to see the author when he visited Columbus, Ohio.

    Our Hidden Conversations by Michele Norris: This is more of a coffee table book, you read a little, put it down, and then return to it. Michele Norris is the creator of the Race Card Project, which allows you to tell your story in six words. She collected six words from people nationwide to write this book. This was the impetus for my six words, Keeping My Sisters Alive and Healthy (share the information that will feed your mind, body and soul so that you can be EMPOWERED to be the best that you can be).

    With all the benefits of reading, I hope you will find your motivation to read. For my daughter, it has been Goodreads. Goodreads is the world’s largest site for readers and book recommendations. Their mission is to help readers discover books they love and get more out of reading. My motivation for reading has been my book club.

    It is so important that we read and that we encourage our youth to read. My favorite gift to give to young people is a book. Our young people are more likely to read if they see the adults in their life reading. 

    “The (person) who doesn’t read has no advantage over the (person) who can’t read.”


    2 Responses to “Start Reading”

    1. Most interesting (health) pieces of information shared with us today! Thank you! A very dear friend of mine has recommended the book “Trust” by Iyanla Vanzant, which I got from the library just yesterday! Thank you for adding to our bounty of good health arsenal!

      • Ngozi Osuagwu, MD says:

        Thank you for spreading the word. It has been a while since I read a book by Iyanla Vanzant. I cannot wait to hear what you think about the book.

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    With her trademark wit and straightforward communication, Dr. Osuagwu continues to dole out valuable medical advice using the letter form and addressing women’s health conditions and issues in a method that was praised for its innovative approach in her earlier award-winning book, Letters to My Sisters: Plain Truths and Straightforward Advice from a Gynecologist. In this book, each letter is paired with reference sources and statistics about the condition that is the subject of the letter.

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    Secure Your Copy of Letters to My Sisters by Dr. Ngozi Osuagwu.

    The book discusses common gynecological and women’s health issues in a series of witty and entertaining letters. These letters, all educational, offer suggestions on what approaches to take in tackling the medical problems that typically bring women to an ob/gynecologist. The letters are spiced with art, a poem and quotes. Although its emphasis is on gynecology and women’s health, it touches on some other medical issues that make women visit their doctors.

    The second half of the book briefly discusses the most common gynecological conditions and also provides an overview of sexually transmitted infections. A list of annotated websites dealing with the different topics in the book is provided for the reader who wants to pursue each subject in depth.

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