It's a cliché that readers say books take them places, and when they finish something they love, they want to share it.
But last summer, the London Daily Mail reported on researchers who appear to have measured the phenomenon. Researchers used MRI scans to watch brains of people reading. Reading is not a passive activity, they found. When readers imagine landscapes, sounds, smells and details on the page, areas of the brain that would process such experience in real life were activated, in a way not seen for TV and video games.
Different research found that people who like to lose themselves in imaginary worlds of novels benefit from those relationships much like people benefit from their real life communities. Reading for fun helps people lower stress
That's what I saw among readers this week who dropped by, called, emailed, facebooked and tweeted (#GazetteBookDrive btw.) They want to give educational advantages to kids, sure. But they also know a joy and want to share it.
A friend told me this week she planned to weed some lesser-used volumes from her son's shelf. Our UPS driver said something similar, our receptionist tells me. So did a Red Cross volunteer.
Kenneth "Woogie" Jarrell of Seth pulled up Thursday as promised. He had found a second book sale to empty out. We opened the door of his car and storybooks and picture books practically spilled out.
I thanked him, of course. It didn't take a brain scan to see what was going on.
"No matter how big you are, a man is never greater than when he stoops to help a child," Jarrell said.
The Happy Valentine's Book Drive continues through Feb. 14. Thank you, all.
Miller, the Gazette's editorial page editor, can be reached at d...@wvgazette.com.