There, I got your attention and made you laugh. The list would be much, much shorter if we were to ask if there are any Mensans who have not read a good book lately.

The Tale of Genji, believed to be the world’s first novel, was written by a Japanese woman known as Murasaki Shikibu in the 11th century. And here we are 1,000 years later, reading a gazillion novels every year.

A growing body of research indicates that reading literally changes your mind. Using MRI scans, researchers have found that reading involves a complex network of circuits and signals in the brain. As your reading ability matures, those networks also get stronger and more sophisticated.

More benefits of reading — increases empathy, builds vocabulary, prevents cognitive decline, reduces stress, aids sleep, alleviates depression, lengthens lifespan.

How do you find the books you’d like to read? Goodreads? Suggestions from online libraries? Recommendations from friends? Browsing the offerings from Amazon or Barnes & Noble?

Do you prefer reading a series with ongoing stories about the main characters? Do you have a favorite author (or authors)? Do you have a favorite genre like sci-fi, history, ancient history, biographies, murder mysteries, romance (also called “bodice rippers” by some of us), books from which movies have been made (If they’re good enough to be made into a movie, maybe I should read the book.), finance and economics, current affairs, food and cooking, philosophy, self-help … the list could go on and on.

How do you get your reading habit fix? With a physical book or an e-reader?

Do you stay up way too late at night because you just have to finish this chapter, and then the next, and well, you’re so close to the end you might as well finish the book?

Now, put this down and go to bed. Sleep is good for you too.

Editor’s note: This article was previously published in the March 2021 issue of Mid-America Mensa’s monthly membership newsletter, the Mension. Happy reading!