Quotes on the Importance of Reading

quotes on the importance of reading

We, the writers, are sure that you, the readers, do not need a special invitation or inspiration to read, to lose yourself into a book. As a reader, you are certainly aware of the importance of reading throughout your life. If you’ve been bewitched a long time ago or not, if you’ve known times abundant in glorious novels or battled with dry spells, you surely felt that reading will always remain a defining part of your life.

For writers, however, reading is an absolute necessary, a sine qua non condition of the very life of an author. For the invaluable influence that great writers have on our subconscious mind; for the steady flow of ideas that fill the well we only glance into, on a moon-less night; for the dull technique… writers read.

And not only…

I believe that all visual arts are, to some extent, influenced by literature, thus complementing one other. Architecture or a painting can be the perfect backdrop for poetry or a literary work whose author, in return, was influenced by a work of art.

Below I have gathered, for readers everywhere, a series of quotes about the essential act of reading. Some you will recognize for sure; some I hope will become your favorites. Others, I hope, you will return to again and again, like I do.

Quotes on the Importance of Reading
13 books to read on Halloween

‘When I have a little money, I buy books; and if I have any left, I buy food and clothes.’ Erasmus of Rotterdam

‘It is a great thing to start life with a small number of really good books which are your very own.’ – Arthur Conan Doyle

‘The reading of all good books is like conversation with the finest (people) of the past centuries.’ – Descartes

‘There is no Frigate like a Book To take us Lands away.’ – Emily Dickinson

The 1598 edition of John Manwood’s Lawes of the Forrest

‘Reading is the sole means by which we slip, involuntarily, often helplessly, into another’s skin, another’s voice, another’s soul.’ Joyce Carol Oates

‘You should never just read for ‘enjoyment.’ Read to make yourself smarter! Less judgmental. More apt to understand your friends’ insane behavior; or better yet, your own. Pick ‘hard books.’ Ones you have to concentrate on while reading. And for God’s sake, don’t let me ever hear you say, ‘I can’t read fiction. I only have time for the truth.’ Fiction is the truth.’ John Waters

‘For some of us, books are as important as almost anything else on earth. What a miracle it is that out of these small, flat, rigid squares of paper unfolds world after world after world, worlds that sing to you, comfort and quiet or excite you. Books help us understand who we are and how we are to behave. They show us what community and friendship mean; they show us how to live and die.’ Anne Lamott

‘I still love books. Nothing a computer can do can compare to a book. You can’t really put a book on the Internet. Three companies have offered to put books by me on the Net, and I said, ‘If you can make something that has a nice jacket, nice paper with that nice smell, then we’ll talk.’ All the computer can give you is a manuscript. People don’t want to read manuscripts. They want to read books. Books smell good. They look good. You can press it to your bosom. You can carry it in your pocket.’ Ray Bradbury

Quotes on the Importance of Reading

‘ A novel worth reading is an education of the heart. It enlarges your sense of human possibility, of what human nature is, of what happens in the world. It’s a creator of inwardness.’ Susan Sontag

‘Knowing you have something good to read before bed is among the most pleasurable of sensations.’ Vladimir Nabokov

‘By reading the writings of the most interesting minds in history, we meditate with our own minds and theirs as well. This to me is a miracle.’ Kurt Vonnegut

We should read to give our souls a chance to luxuriate.’ Henry Miller

‘To acquire the habit of reading is to construct for yourself a refuge from almost all the miseries of life.’ W. Somerset Maugham

‘From the reading of ‘good books’ there comes a richness of life that can be obtained in no other way.’ – Gordon B. Hinckley

‘Until I feared I would lose it, I never loved to read. One does not love breathing.’ Harper Lee

‘You can never get a cup of tea large enough or a book long enough to suit me.’ C.S. Lewis

‘You don’t have to burn books to destroy a culture. Just get people to stop reading them.’ Ray Bradbury

‘You don’t have to burn books to destroy a culture. Just get people to stop reading them.’ Ray Bradbury

hope readers books Furstenberg
What I hope readers take from my books by Patricia Furstenberg

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10 Dogs Who Made and Changed History

amazing dogs from history, dogs who changed it

There is so much to learn from history and dogs, so this time we will look at (only) 10 dogs who made and changed the history.

Dogs are Man’s Best Friend, as Illustrated by Art, dogs joined Kings in battles, they fought in trenches during WW1, helped as messenger dogs, sled dogs, or were simply cute war mascots. Dogs fought along soldiers during WW2, starting the history of the first K9 Unit, dogs became paradogs, suffered during the WW 2, and still went on, after the fall of Berlin Wall to become brave military working dogs during the Gulf War, Iraq War and the War in Afghanistan.

Below are a few stories focused on unbelievable dogs who contributed to the enrichment of scientific data, the settlement of conflicts, and the onset of real state crises.

Peritas, Alexander the Great’s dog

From 356 BC comes Peritas, the puppy with a name worthy of the companion of a true leader. Peritas was Alexander the Great‘s dog, some call him a gladiator dog, who accompanied him during his military exploits. The name Peritas seems to come from the Macedonian word for January.

During the attack of the Persian troops of Darius III on Alexander the Great, Peritas jumped and bit the lip of an elephant that wanted to attack its master. Due to his faithful servant, Alexander survived and carried on his dream of conquering the world through.

Peritas could have been a Molossian, a breed of ancient Greece believed to be the the ancestor of the Mastiff. But Peritas could have also been the greyhound that Alexandre brought up himself.

10 Dogs Who Made and Changed History, Peritas of Alexandre the Great
Peritas, the dog who jumped and bit the lip of an elephant that wanted to attack its master, Alexander the Great

Donnchadh, Robert the Bruce’s dog

Donnchadh was the dog of Robert I of Scotland, or Robert the Bruce. It is said that what inspired Robert to never give up was watching a spider spin its web, while others say it was his dog.

In 1306, Edward I of England was fighting to overthrow Robert because who was advocating for Scottish independence. Edward had already captured Robert’s wife and faithful dog, so he came up with a devious plan. He was going to use Donnchadh, Robert’s own dog, to track him and catch him. Unaware, Donnchadh did led the king to the target, but then he turned on the English soldiers, defending his master. Robert escaped and lived to be King of Scotland for two decades.

Although four centuries later, the actions of the reckless George III, a direct descendant of Robert, who passed an act taxing tea in the colonies was the seed that bothered the American settlers enough to revolt. So this is how a Scottish doggo is one of the dogs who made and changed the history – of the United States, in his case.

Donnchadh, the faithful dog who saved the life of King Robert the Bruce of Scotland, 10 Dogs Who Made and Changed History
Donnchadh, the faithful dog who saved the life of King Robert the Bruce of Scotland. Source Hulton Archive

Urian, Cardinal Wolsey’s dog

14th century Urian is said to have been the dog that determined the rupture between England and the papacy.

Wishing to separate from Catherine of Aragon (who could not produce a son and heir), King Henry VIII sent Cardinal Wolsey (lord chancellor and chief adviser), to discuss with Pope Clement VII his marriage annulment. Cardinal Wolsey brought his beloved dog Urian along. When the Pope, who supposedly was siting on his throne, extended his big toe to be kissed by the Cardinal, as it was customary, Urian mistook the scene for an attempt at his beloved master’s safety. And he took a mouthful at the Pope’s foot. Needless to say, Henry lost any chance at an annulment.

Because of the Catholic Church’s refusal, Henry later founded the Anglican Church, declared himself head of the Church of England and appointed his own clerics who, of course, declared Henry’s marriage to Catherine invalid. Apparently Urian was a greyhound.

The Dismissal of Cardinal Wolsey by 
Laslett John Pott, 10 Dogs Who Made and Changed History
Potter, Laslett John; The Dismissal of Cardinal Wolsey – and his dog Urian, who bit the Pope’s foot

The Silent Hero puppy who saved Napoleon Bonaparte

Even though he is an anonymous hero, I believe that the puppy who saved Napoleon from drowning in 1815, right after his escape from Elba Island where he’d been imprisoned by the Allies, deserves to be included among the other dogs who made and changed the world history. Perhaps this Newfoundland pup played one of the biggest roles in the history of Europe and that of the world.

Napoleon was aboard the Inconstant, a brig of about 300 tons, sailing over a rough Ligurian sea, when he fell overboard. A fisherman and his young but sturdy doggo were on board and the canine followed his instincts, jumping in the foaming waters to rescue the 41 years old Napoleon. Napoleon entered triumphant in Paris, but one hundred days later he was defeated at the Battle of Waterloo and exiled by the British to St. Helena island where he lived till his death, six years later.

Waterloo was the turning point that dictated the course of subsequent world history, as after Waterloo and until the start of WW1 Europe witnessed a short time of peace, prosperity and progress.

Napoleon’s return from the Isle of Elba. Napoleon’s ship Inconstant, on the right. Painting by by Ambroise-Louis Garneray
Napoleon’s return from the Isle of Elba. Napoleon’s ship Inconstant, on the right. Painting by by Ambroise-Louis Garneray

Smoky, the dog given a second chance during WWII

Smoky was a hairball, a Yorkshire Terrier with a huge heart who contributed to the new US Air Force base during World War II. Smoky was found in an abandoned foxhole in Papua New Guinea by the American soldiers stationed there and was adopted on the spot. When the company moved to the Philippines during the island hopping, Smoky moved too. So it happened that the soldier who had to set base at Luzon had to pull a telegraph wire and the only way to do it was through a narrow, 21-metre pipe. And Smoky helped, being just the right size to crawl through with the wire attached to her collar.

The airbase remained safe and operational.

10 Dogs Who Made and Changed History, WWII Smoky
Smoky, the small dog with a bih heart who helped set up an US airbase during WW2

Jofi, Sigmund Freud’s dog

I think that Jofi, Sigmund Freud‘s puppy, is a dog who should have been given more recognition so I’ll include him along the dogs who made and changed the history, psychoanalysis in his case. But aren’t most dogs like this? Freud often took Jofi to his office during therapy sessions, then noted his observations, convinced that Jofi helped patients relax.

Freud’s notes laid the foundations of modern animal-assisted therapy.

Jofi & Sigmund Freud, 10 Dogs Who Made and Changed History
Jofi and Sigmund Freud

Charlie, the dog who helped defuse the Cuban Crisis

Charlie was a Welsh terrier and one of Kennedy family’s beloved dogs.

During the 1962 Cuban crisis (remember that the Soviet Union deployed some intercontinental ballistic missiles on the island of Cuba, only 144 kilometers off the coast of U.S.) President Kennedy lived some stressful days, trying hard not to start a nuclear war. It was during one of these moments that President Kennedy asked that Charlie be brought into the overheated War Room. The president took him in his arms and caressed him, which helped him calm down. In the end, Kennedy announced that he was ready to make a decision. A decision that defused the conflict.

As a peace offering following the Cuban crisis, Nikita Khrushchev, Russian Premier at the time, gifted young Caroline Kennedy a white puppy named Pushinka, from the litter of famed space dog Strelka (part of the Sputnik space program). Pushinka and Charlie later had four puppies that Kennedy called “pupniks.”

Charlie and Pushinka on the South Lawn - White House, after the Cuban Crisis.
Charlie and Pushinka on the South Lawn of the White House a few years after the Cuban Crisis

Robot, the dog who discovered the Lascaux Cave

Robot and his owner, teenager Marcel Ravidat, were exploring the surroundings of their village of Montignac, southwest France, in 1940 while France was fighting in the World War II.

Suddenly Robot spotted a rabbit, chase after it but the game was soon gone down a rabbit hole. Although it appears that the four boys were actually intrigued by an old legend about a tunnel running under the Vezere River linking the old Castel of Montignac to the Manor of Lascaux. Ravidat threw some stones down the hole and a great echo returned. A few days later the teenager returned with a few friends and with ropes and they climbed down the hole only to discover an incredible amount of colorful murals perfectly preserved within a cave. Later study showed that this artwork was in pristine state as it had been protected from water by a layer of chalk, and that the paintings had been created during the Paleolithic era, between 30,000 to 12,000 B.C.E.

Some say that Robot the dog was not the one to discover the cave, some dispute the year when the caves of Lascaux were first spotted, but it does make sense to have a dog chasing a rabbit down the rabbit whole, towards amazing wonders.

The discovery of Caves of Lascaux is crucial because it helsp us understand what stood at the center of life of our paleolithic ancestors, hunting and religious rites. That perhaps such drawing guaranteed them plentiful herds and good hunting.

Robot, the dog who discovered the Lascaux Cave

Cairo, the Military Working Dog who found Osama bin Laden

Cairo was a Belgian Malinois Military Working Dog, MWD, who together with his military human handler and SEAL Team Operator Will Chesney were part of the famous attack on Osama bin Laden’s compound in Pakistan in 2011.

Navy SEAL Will Chesney met MWD Cairo in 2008 and shared many missions together in Afghanistan, forging an impenetrable bond. Working with Cairo, Chesney saw firsthand how valuable dogs are, when on multiple missions Cairo’s keen senses saved Chesney’s life and the lives of his team members. Cairo was even shot in the chest and leg, but made a full recovery and the two were deployed to Afghanistan again, they were that good and their country needed them.

In 2011 Chesney, Cairo, and a two dozen Navy SEALs team were sent after Osama bin Laden in what was known as Operation Neptune Spear. They stormed Osama bin Laden’s secret compound in Pakistan on May 2, 2011. Chesney and Cairo were the only canine team on the mission as main job was locating hidden enemies. It was for sure the most dangerous and the biggest mission in history. None of the SEALs involved expected to survive the raid, but the thought of taking out the terrorist responsible for the deaths of thousands of innocent civilians overpowered any trace of anxiety or self-preservation.

Cairo always fed off everybody’s energy. Your emotions run up and down the leash. If you’re mad, the energy is going to run down that leash. For Cairo, it was just another day at work‘ (Will Chesney).

It is said that when a military dog handler puts their bullet-proof vest on, the MWD they team with knows right away they’re working, and when the human handler takes off the vest, the dog knows it is playtime again.

Cairo faced a well deserved retirement in 2013 and, finally he was adopted by his best friend Chesney. I think that you will agree that Cairo deserves a place of honor between the dogs who made and changed the history – for the good.

Cairo-WillChesney-UnitedStatesNavy.jpg

I wish my list was longer.T here are millions of dogs who made and changed the history, be it that of a community, of a nation or of the world, but the silent heroes that share our lives are also changing the history, with their genuine care and unconditional love, our personal history.

Books by Patricia Furstenberg on Amazon
You will discover at least a dog in each one of my books. Joyful Trouble and Silent Heroes two of my novels available on Amazon.

Why Do People Write?

why do people write

The vast majority write out of a desire to share their experience with other people. Sharing something imparts a feeling of usefulness. Some people say they write for pleasure, others that say they write out of a desire to inform their peers. Others say they write for the sake of competition.

Nothing in this world is done without a reason because in addition to existential needs, people need much more.

But can literature change people, providing that people want to change?

We are rational beings, we socialize and we need to express our feelings and to see them echoed in others. We need to leave a mark behind us, footprints in the sand. So we write. Some of us.

Perhaps all the reasons why people write are based on the simple pleasure of writing.

Why Do People Write?

So, why do people write?

Writing is therapeutic. The white paper listens to you and does not judge you. It accepts everything you want to give, the countless revisions too, without getting upset. It doesn’t matter if you write well or bad, the simple fact of putting your thoughts on paper frees you and gives you clarity and peace of mind. At least during the present moment. When it counts.

Writing clarifies the mind. If you can’t explain something to others, then you don’t understand it very well either. As you write, you reveal the knots in your thinking and force yourself to untangle them. I know I do.

Writing helps you learn. When I research for a book I need information in addition to what I already know. I have to document myself on so many levels, setting, politics, weather, customs, folklore, lifestyle, language, so I write everything down. Doesn’t all research go like this?

Writing helps one become more creative. As I try to express myself better I think of metaphors, comparisons or examples that sometimes link different ideas, feelings or situations. An exercise such as this, done for years, helps creativity, because it becomes easier to make unexpected connections.

Writing improves the memory and sprouts new ideas and thoughts. If I go back to stories I wrote five, ten years ago, I recognize the seed of an idea I developed only recently. But also anxieties I put out of my mind, because I wrote about them. Or events that I remember differently now, in a somehow detached way.

Writing urges you to read. As Stephen King said,’ If you don’t have the time to read, you don’t have the time or the tools to write.’ And reading comes with its long list of benefits.     

Writing teaches you to receive criticism. From mischievous comments to justified feedback, I got used to digesting everything and taking the essentials. While keeping some thoughts (and a smile) to myself.

Writing helps one become more empathetic. When I write something, anything, I have to put myself in the character’s skin, be it human or a doggo. It’s experiencing a second life while, at the same time, teaching me to take a step back and see things into perspective, while in my own skin.

Silent Heroes of war, empathy

Why do I write?

Writing bought me a cup of coffee, although I traded the security of a medical career for it. But it gives me the satisfaction of creating something with my own two hands (and with my mind and soul). Like baking or carpentry. Like architecture (my first love). Writing has never disappointed me and I have never felt drained, used up in an emotional way after writing. Exhausted, but energized at the same time. Okay, there are moments of despair here and now.

I write about people so as not to forget them, so as not to forget the good vibes they made me feel.

I write about people just to keep those parts of them that have managed to change certain parts of me or that have made me feel more than I thought I could feel.

Books by Patricia Furstenberg on Amazon

5 Incredible Animals Friendships Now as Story Books

animals friendsip books

If we needed more proof that animals feel empathy, these five incredible friendships between animals are the living proof and sure to melt your heart, do enjoy their story books with your child.

Human beings may be the most intelligent of all the species, but nothing beats a child’s emotional connection with a pet. So, where do animals stand when it comes to emotional intelligence?

Do animals experience emotions, do they show this by spontaneous changes in their behavior? And, as a result of the emotions they experience, do they have feelings?

The Incredible Friendship Between a BEAR, a LION and a TIGER

It was the beginning of the 21st century when three cubs were rescued from the home of a drug dealer where they were kept illegally as pets. Severely malnourished and scared, the salvation for an American Black bear cub, an African lion cub and a Bengal tiger cub came through Noah’s Ark Animal sanctuary.

This is when the cubs’ true friendship revealed itself. As the bear required an emergency operation, the lion and tiger cubs became agitated while their friend was gone. They refused food, paced their enclosure, vocalized and only stopped when the bear was safely returned to them. After this, the three cubs spent their entire time close together, clinging to one another for comfort and safety. They were named Baloo, Leo, and Shere Khan.

The bear, the lion and the tiger soon matured, yet they continued sharing the same habitat, playing, eating together and grooming one another. And they did so for 17 years. Sadly, Leo and Shere Khan passed away in 2016 and 2018 respectively, and Baloo was there for them in their final hours.

In the wild, Asian black bears and tigers do share the same territory in the Far East, but when they do meet, one of them is sure to be badly injured.

The Heartwarming Friendship Between a CHIMPANZEE and a DOG

There are quite a few cute chimps that struck lovely friendship with dogs, an undeniable proof that social connections between animals do mimic those between humans and their pets.

Often, when a chimp and a dog became friends it was the puppy who came to the baby chimp’s emotional rescue. Too many chimps are slaves of the illegal pet trade, and when they are finally rescued are found to be orphans.

What would happen, I asked myself, if a dog and a chimp met in the wild? Would they still play? Would they play fetch, perhaps? Pull faces at each other? Share naps?

The Unbelievable Friendship Between a CHEETAH and a DOG

Yes, cats and dogs can be friends. What about a wild cat and a canine? One such incredible pair were Kasi the cheetah and Mtani the Labrador. Mtani means “close friend” in Swahili.

What if the cheetah and the dog would meet in the wild, on the African planes? Would the mama-cheetah allow? Would the dog have human friends who would interfere with their unusual friendship?

The Amazing Friendship Between a LION and a DOG

A cute, brown Dachshund dog called Milo struck a remarkable friendship with a massive lion named Bonedigger when the latter became disabled due to illness. Somehow, the canine made its way to the sad lion’s heart and took the beast under his wing and the two remained the best of friends, even five years later. None of them cared that one weighs 11 pounds, while the other 500 pounds.

5 Incredible Animals Friendships Now as Story Books, the lion and the dog

Enjoy their beautiful friendship evolving throughout the seasons:

The Loving Friendship Between an ELEPHANT and a SHEEP

Albert the sheep and Themba the elephant live in Shamwari Wildlife Rehabilitation Centre in South Africa. Sadly, the elephant calf became an orphan after his mother died falling down a cliff. After a rocky start… the pair’s relationship blossomed, and they became the best of friends and Themba the elephant calf blossomed.

You can follow and enjoy their adventures in this book:

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Find all my books on Amazon.

Therapy through Books. Bibliotherapy. Reading to stay Happy

Therapy through Books. Bibliotherapy. Reading to stay Happy

I turned to books and reading, as well as writing, many times over in my life, yet only lately have I thought about the idea of therapy through books and reading to stay happy.

Yet I am not the only one, nor am I the first, as since ancient times people have noticed the amazing healing power of art. As if by magic, negative emotions, whoosh, evaporate to be replaced with a state of peace and harmony.

Catharsis. Coined by Aristotle in Poetics to describe the effects of tragedy on the spectator, that of freeing the soul from suffering.

Bibliotherapy (book therapy, poetry therapy or therapeutic storytelling) uses creative arts as therapy. It involves storytelling, the reading of poetry or specific texts with the purpose of healing. It works by utilizing an individual’s relationship with the content of a text as therapy. Bibliotherapy is often combined with writing therapy. It has been shown to be effective in the treatment of depression.

You see, the concept that books, library therapy, bibliotherapy or reading can be used to stay happy started a few thousand years ago.

Therapy through Books Bibliotherapy Reading to stay Happy
Psyches Iatreion, Healing Place of the Soul

The inscribed marble above reads Psyches Iatreion, Healing Place of the Soul, and is found in the Monastery of Saint John the Theologian, Patmos, in the wall over the entrance to the Monastery’s Library. The inscription goes millenniums back. The same phrase was inscribed above the entrance of the sacred library of the tomb of Ramses II at Thebes. A similar one decorated the vast library of Alexandria, the largest and most significant library of the ancient world.

A very quick look at books, reading and their use as therapy throughout the centuries

Fast forward a few hundred years and we find the majority of Medieval people (men, women and children, rich and poor) to be illiterate, yet storytelling prevailed as people loved to hear stories, enjoyed listening to historical, religious or local folktales being read to them or simply recounted. It taught them lessons and morals, it connected them with their ancestors.

Worth remembering is that while most women living between the Dark Ages and the Age of Enlightenment could not write or sign their names, many could read, to some extent.

Then Gutenberg came, developing a press that mechanized the transfer of ink from movable type to paper. Printing was easier, faster.

Therapy through Books Bibliotherapy Reading to stay Happy
The Magdalen Reading (1438) – Rogier van der Weyden

And humanity dipped its foot in the Renaissance, freighted with famous writers, treasured texts, and a general curiosity about humankind. The Renaissance Man. Highly skilled writers (who were readers too) emerged, yet none was just a writer if one wanted to make a living.

The Enlightenment brought along the development of the educational systems in Europe that continued into the French Revolution, so literacy and learning were gradually provided to rich and poor alike. But bear in mind that historians measured the literacy rate during the 17th and 18th century centuries by people’s ability to sign their names.

The increase in literacy rate was mostly influenced by the fact that most schools and colleges were organized by clergy, missionaries, or other religious organizations, as literacy was thought to be the key to understanding the word of God. The reason which motivated religions to help to increase the literacy rate among the general public was because the bible was being printed in more languages. By 1714 the proportion of women able to read was approximately 25%, and it rose again to 40% by 1750, with literacy rates raising more quickly in predominantly Protestant Northern Europe than predominately Catholic southern Europe.

It was the Kingdom of Prussia who introduced a modern public educational system that will reach the vast majority of population, a system copied across Europe and the United States in the 19th century.

19th century medics and nurses working England’s psychiatric hospitals used to read to patients anything from novels and travel journals to the Bible. This was because works of fiction lend a helping hand to the readers (listeners) by giving them the opportunity to escape into another universe, to identify with a favorite characters (outside their own skin) and to be inspired by them.

World War II veterans were also recommended books to help them cope with post-traumatic stress.

Therapy through Books Bibliotherapy  Reading to stay Happy
When Books Went to War cover.

Today, reading clubs are a real help to psychiatric institutions in improving the care for the elderly or for young people with disabilities or behavioral disorders.

What is the connection between books, therapy, bibliotherapy and that happy feeling?

A research done by the University of Sussex and quoted by The Telegraph showed that only six minutes of reading a day can reduce stress level with up to 68 %. Keeping an active mind proved protective against the development of Alzheimer’s disease (AD) later in life.

Simply turning the pages of a book and immersing oneself in reading gives the brain a state of relaxation similar to that produced by meditation, providing our health system with the same benefits as those of achieving a state of deep relaxation and inner calm. It has been found that people who read regularly sleep better, have lower stress levels, a higher self-esteem and are less predisposed to depression than those who do not have this habit.

Could there be more to paging through a book than the joys of reading?

Reading is often associated only with relaxing activities, with spending time in a pleasant way. But, in reality, reading is a very complex activity.

The University of Liverpool conducted a study between reading and increasing the quality of life and found that reading is not only good for our health, but can make us happier and more empathetic. In addition, many of participants in the study confessed that certain books inspired them to make those changes in their lives that they had long wanted to make.

Psychologist Becca Levy, an associate professor at Yale University, published a study in the Social Science & Medicine journal on the benefits of reading observed over twelve years. The conclusion is impressive: people who read regularly live 23 months longer than those who do not. Although it is not yet clear how reading can actually increase life expectancy, Dr. Levy and other scientists who participated in the study believe that it is due to the cognitive benefits of this activity – from the simultaneous integration of several brain regions and increased ability to concentrate , to the development of empathy and emotional intelligence.

Could there be more to paging through a book than the joys of reading?
Carturesti Bookshop in Bucharest (one of them 🙂 )

How is all this possible?

Keith Oatley, a writer and professor emeritus of cognitive psychology at the University of Toronto, has led an extensive research on the psychology of fiction. “We started to show how identification with fictional characters appears, how literature can improve social skills, how it can move us emotionally and can quickly cause changes in the process of self-knowledge,” says Keith Oatley. After years of research and study on large groups of subjects, the Canadian psychologist concluded that reading fiction is “a simulation, but not on a computer, one that takes place in our minds – a simulation of our interaction with others, with the society, which implies the possibility to imagine our future under different variants.”

So, even if we do not realize this, when we read we experience hypothetical life situations that prepare us for the real ones. The advantage is that in the realm of fiction we do it without danger and without pain.

And so is writing.

I will leave you with Proust’s words:

“In reading, friendship is restored immediately to its original purity. With books there is no forced sociability. If we pass the evening with those friends—books—it’s because we really want to. When we leave them, we do so with regret and, when we have left them, there are none of those thoughts that spoil friendship: “What did they think of us?”—“Did we make a mistake and say something tactless?”—“Did they like us?”—nor is there the anxiety of being forgotten because of displacement by someone else. All such agitating thoughts expire as we enter the pure and calm friendship of reading.”

Marcel Proust

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Travel to Romania via 25 Amazing Photos

travel Romania via photos

I invite you to travel to Romania via a few amazing photos because Romania is a country that deserves to be seen. Not many know, but its brave people have watched over the central and western Europe for centuries, acting like a breathing barrier against the Ottoman and Russian powers.

Alone and awake, Romania is a guardian of the world, coming from the eternity and sure to remain in the pages of history. Romania has views that last, a heart that beats proudly to the rush of its streams; and slowly, to the rhythm of its sunsets; a mysterious spirit in tune to the song of its forests.

Travel to Romania via a few amazing photos that will show you the peaceful shades of its landscape, the endless poetry of its shadows, the smile of its innocence, or the islands of silence that punctuate the song of its birds.

See the kneeling of the twilight,
Hear the hesitation of a footstep at dawn,
Admire old landscapes,
Growing young with the joy they give.
A light that calls
Through history,
Stories that perpetuate,
For each one of us
Is a facet of their reflection.

© Patricia Furstenberg

Travel to Romania via some Amazing Photos of…

Breathtaking Landscapes

Travel to Romania via some Amazing Photos - Bucegi mountains
Bucegi Mountains
Travel to Romania via some Amazing Photos - sunrise at the Black sea
Sunrise at the Black Sea

Where do our thoughts escape to?
The wondrous one that sneaks out while we languidly watch the sea change its colors? The pressing ones that run away as soon as our mind got caught in the seagull’s wing. The long forgotten ones that elope us before we even blink the sun away. Where do they go? Join me in Looking at the Sea.

Romania’s majestic forests
Travel to Romania via some Amazing Photos - evergreen, coniferous forests
Evergreen, coniferous forests

A World Class Capital City, Bucharest

In the period between the two World Wars, Bucharest’s elegant architecture and the sophistication of its elite earned the capital city of Romania the nickname of ‘Paris of the East’ or ‘Little Paris’.

 Arch de Triumph (Arcul de Triumf). Travel to Romania via some Amazing Photos
The Arch de Triumph (Arcul de Triumf), built to celebrate Romania’s Independence, 1878.

This past holiday I chose to look up, towards the sun, the sky and the buildings’ roofs. I discovered some surprising sights that put a smile on my face. Lamp posts can have intricate designs while bordering past and present – which side would you choose? Let’s look up together, in Bucharest.

Travel to Romania via some Amazing Photos
Bucharest, the CEC Palace, 1900, and behind the 21st century glass tower of Bucharest Financial Plaza
Travel to Romania via some Amazing Photos
The Palace of National Military Circle, French neoclassic architecture, Bucharest
The Palace of National Military Circle, a 1911 building in French neoclassic style.

Have you listen to Angela Gheorghiu performing Peter Noster in a deserted Bucharest?

Bucharest, the InterContinental Hotel
The InterContinental Hotel, Bucharest, opened in 1971

Historical Towns

Sighisoara - Travel to Romania via some Amazing Photos
Sighisoara, Romania’s inhabited medieval town

Searching for the history of Vlad III, Vlad the Impaler or Dracula, we journeyed through the magical, medieval city of Sighisoara in the midst of winter.

Travel to Romania via some Amazing Photos - Rope Street, Strada Sforii
Brasov, Rope Street, Strada Sforii

Brasov is a town that’s sure to enchant you, whether you visit during summer or winter. Brasov, Corona in Latin or Kronstadt in German, is a historical and cultural city found in the heart of Transylvania, in the heart of Romania, and not far from Sighisoara. It was first mentioned in 1235 and, not many know, it was the birth place of Katharina Siegel, the only woman Vlad Tepes (Dracula) is said to have ever loved.

Brasov
Brasov view from Casa Cristina, our B&B of choice. Far on the hill you can see Rupea Fortress.
Sibiu with its Bridge of Lies - it is said that if you are on it and tell a lie, the bridge will collapse. Been there!
Sibiu with its Bridge of Lies – it is said that if you are on it and tell a lie, the bridge will collapse. Been there!

Let’s move on. Let’s travel to Romania via some more amazing photos of…

Breathtaking Castles

Travel to Romania via some Amazing Photos - Bran Castle
Bran Castle, since 1212
Brasov Fortress
Brasov Fortress, since 13th century
Rasnov Fortress, since 1211. Traces of a fortress from prehistoric Dacian times were discovered here.
Peles Castle, Romania
Peles Castle

Exploring Romania’s Top Movie Locations: Peles Castle – Peles Castle belongs to Hohenzollern Family, a German ruling dynasty. The castle was built between 1873 – 1914 in Neo-Renaissance style, at the order of King Carol I of Hohenzollern-Sigmaringen. King Carol I was the monarch of Romania between 1866 – 1914.

Corvin Castle
Corvin Castle

Corvin Castle is a fairy-tale castle of Gothic-renaissance architecture, built on an old Roman fortification and a stunning sight – read more about it here.

Fascinating Churches

Saint John Church, Brasov
A medieval wooden Christian Orthodox Church in Village Museum, Bucharest
The church of Putna Monastery

Everlasting Art

The Gate of the Kiss by Constantin Brancusi

The Sculptural Ensemble of Constantin Brâncuși at Târgu Jiu is an homage to the Romanian heroes of the First World War. The ensemble comprises three sculptures: The Table of Silence, The Gate of the Kiss and the Endless Column. The ensemble is considered to be one of the great works of 20th-century outdoor sculpture.

Nicolae Grigorescu, Profile of a Young Peasant

A contemporary of Auguste Renoir, next to whom he trained as a painter, Grigorescu took part as war painter in the Romanian War of Independence of 1877 against the Ottoman Empire. Grigorescu is considered one of the painters who established the Romanian modern art.

As always, you can find my books on Amazon worldwide, as eBooks and paperbacks and you can also read them for free if you are a Kindle Unlimited subscriber.

5 books everyone should read in their lifetime
5 books everyone should read in their lifetime: Jodi Picoult, Ken Follett, Patricia Furstenberg, Victor Hugo.

5 Books Everyone Should Read in Their Lifetime – by Mani, #Free #eBook

5 books everyone should read in their lifetime

I read 5 Books Everyone Should Read in Their Lifetime once, twice, rubbed my eyes and read it again as lovely Mani has listed my novel Silent Heroes alongside titles by Jodi Picoult and Ken Follett! So I am sharing my joy with you!

There is no greater joy for a writer but when one of his books is remembered, months after publication, and mentioned as having made an impact on the reader. A lasting impact.

I write wishing to wake up feelings, to lift a veil, to inform without being tiresome. I write with joy for what I want to impart, for what I discovered, or for what it should be revived. My books always hold a grain of truth. And they always include (at least) a dog.

If you follow my blog you do know that I don’t brag about my writing achievements. But this list of Top 5 Books Everyone Should Read in Their Lifetime just blew my mind…

So…

Last week Mani compiled her 5 Books (to date) Everyone Should Read in Their Lifetime:

5 books everyone should readin their lifetime
5 Books Everyone Should Read in Their Lifetime – by Mani

Jodi Picoult’s Handle With Care is a contemporary emotional drama.

Shantaram by Gregory Roberts is a contemporary thriller drawing from the author’s own experiences.

The Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett’s Pbook is a historical fiction set during the 12th century.

Hugo’s Les Miserables is nearly 1 300 pages of French history recounted through the personal stories of its main characters.

And my Silent Heroes?

Silent Heroes looks at war, the war in Afghanistan, from different perspectives: of the US Marines and their military dogs, of the UK Medics, of the Afghan people as well of that of the Taliban.

The Silent Heroes eBook is FREE for today only. Just click one of the links below:

Amazon UK
Amazon US
Amazon Canada
Amazon Australia
other Amazon websites in Europe
Amazon Mexico
Amazon India
Amazon Japan

Or use this Amazon international link:

Patrici Furstenberg on Amazon

If you don’t have an e-reader you can still read eBooks on your PC with Kindle App, just follow these quick steps:

  • Step 1: Install Kindle for PC App on PC. …
  • Step 2: Open the Application. …
  • Step 3: Sign in the Kindle App with your Amazon Account. …
  • Step 4: Download a Book from Your Cloud. …
  • Step 5: Open the Kindle Books to be Read on PC.

Mani read Silent Heroes last year and shared her impressions on her website concluding with “this review doesn’t do this book any justice, BUT it’s such a great read that I really can’t express how much I enjoyed it. If your looking for a fast paced read I really can’t recommend this book highly enough. It’s a definite must read.” (gosh).

Silent Heroes was also featured on Mani’s Best Books of 2019 alongside books by C.J. Tudor, Alex Michaelides, and Cara Hunter. Yay!

On January the opening lines of Silent Heroes were included in her First lines Friday blog post 🙂 YAY! I love that opening paragraph! 🙂 I think is the one I spent the most time revising 🙂 Mani also said on another occasion that it “nearly brought tears” to her eyes when she read Silent Heroes… (Goodness!)

If you are curious to see what the fuss is all abut, I made Silent Heroes FREE, today ONLY. So grab it now from Amazon. Click here. I would LOVE to hear your thoughts 🙂

Thank you for sharing in my joy!

5 Books Everyone Should Read in Their Lifetime - by Mani @Manisbookcorner
5 Book Everyone Should Read in Their Lifetime