Encore Age

Expanding Your Mind Through Books

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The joy of reading can open our mind to different perspectives if we make more conscious book choices.

by Robyn Bardgett 

Reading is one of life’s simple pleasures, but it can also be one of the easiest ways to keep our mind sharp and expand our view of the world. 

Maryanne Wolf, author of the book Proust and the Squid: The Story and Science of the Reading Brain, notes that: “The act of going beyond the text to analyze, infer, and think new thoughts is the product of years of formation. It takes time, both in milliseconds and years, and effort to learn to read with deep, expanding comprehension and to execute all these processes as an adult expert reader. … Because we literally and physiologically can read in multiple ways, how we read–and what we absorb from our reading — will be influenced by both the content of our reading and the medium we use.” 

Whether through real life or fictionalized narratives, books can expose us to different perspectives. While it’s always wonderful to find a book that reflects our own lived experiences, it’s also important to push ourselves out of our comfort zone and search out narratives from diverse authors – whether that means a different race, sexual orientation, or gender. Not only for building up our understanding from different voices but also ensuring that the publishing industry recognises how important it is to provide fair and equal representation of the books that are published and marketed. 

If you need help discovering more reads that hit all of the above, both The Griot (griotbda.com) and Long Story Short (www.longstoryshort.life) have spent time creating a curated collection of diverse reads to add to your TBR pile – whether you’re looking for a better understanding of social commentary or you want to get sucked into an epic fantasy. 

Finding time to read every day can be challenging, but if we make the effort, it can become a habit rather than a chore. Keeping track of our reading habits can make reading fun and also help us to figure out what best to read next based on our interests. 

StoryGraph (thestorygraph.com) not only tracks your reading but uses the statistics from your reading habits to help pick better books choices meaning you’ll find yourself wasting less time on books that don’t hold your attention. 

The Bermuda National Library (www.bnl.bm) is currently running its annual Winter Reading Challenge, which can also help diversify your reading selections and a prize at the end for completing six of the categories is extra motivation. Categories include reading a book by an author you’ve never read before, and a book translated from another language. 


The 1619 Project: A New Origin Story by Nikole Hannah-Jones 

The New York Times Magazine’s initiative to re-frame how those first enslaved people in America continues to weave through the nation’s narrative is expanded in this book to include contributions of further essays, works of fiction, and poetry. 

Hell of A Book by Jason Mott 

A successful black author heads out on a book tour but the story takes readers on journey more far-reaching and compelling about what it means to be black in America. 

Sankofa by Chibundu Onuzo 

A novel that reveals the universal questions of race and the experience of the African diaspora and what it means to find the complexities of identity and the search for a family’s hidden roots. 

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