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  • Hello. This is 6 Minute English from

  • BBC Learning English. I'm Neil.

  • And I'm Georgina.

  • What type of books do you like

  • to read, Georgina?

  • I love reading crime fiction - you know

  • detective stories by authors like

  • Ruth Rendell or Agatha

  • Christie.

  • Really? Do you find them relaxing?

  • I wouldn't say relaxing exactly, but I get

  • really involved in the story - trying to work

  • out who the murderer is... then

  • finding out on the last page.

  • That's interesting because today

  • we'll be looking at how books

  • can help us relax and

  • feel more alive during troubled times.

  • We'll be finding out how reading

  • is one of the best

  • ways to find relief from the pressures

  • of modern life.

  • Neil, are you talking about 'Bibliotherapy'?

  • Amazing detective skills, Georgina!

  • Exactly. 'Bibliotherapy' is

  • the prescription of books

  • as a remedy to sickness. It has

  • been around since 2013, when

  • the UK charity Reading Agency

  • published a list of books that

  • doctors could offer to patients,

  • tackling topics from depression

  • to dementia to chronic pain.

  • Since then, 1.2 million readers have

  • borrowed the scheme's books

  • from libraries. It's so

  • successful that it's about to be

  • extended to children as well.

  • I wonder which books have been

  • most popular over that time? In fact

  • that's my quiz question

  • for today. What is the best-selling book

  • of all time? Is it:

  • a) Harry Potter and the Philosopher's

  • Stone by J K Rowling,

  • b) A Tale of Two Cities by

  • Charles Dickens, or c) Don Quixote

  • by Miguel de Cervantes?

  • I'll say a) Harry Potter.

  • OK. Well, we'll find out later if you're right.

  • In 'Bibliotherapy', people meet up to read

  • together. Professor Philip Davis,

  • who runs these reading groups,

  • believes they help the

  • participants 'come more alive'.

  • Here he is speaking to BBC Radio 4's

  • You and Yours about

  • what he's discovered:

  • Above all, that it's not to do with scanning,

  • with quick reading, when

  • they're reading literature.

  • If they're just scanning, if you're just

  • looking for information, you go fast,

  • it's very easy,

  • it's automatic but when literature begins

  • to do something more

  • complicated than that

  • in an area that emotionally you

  • care about, the brain begins to

  • work from different parts,

  • from a different hemisphere and

  • it gets excited, it gets pre-emotional - you

  • can see the brain

  • coming to life and it's that life

  • that is important in terms of these

  • reading groups.

  • One type of reading is scanning - reading

  • quickly in order to find

  • specific information

  • or skimming the page to get

  • a general understanding.

  • But the real therapy happens when

  • a group reads literature - written

  • works such as novels,

  • poems or plays which are thought

  • to have artistic merit. When group

  • members read literature

  • their brains get excited and start working

  • from a different

  • hemisphere - a word meaning

  • 'half a sphere' - usually half the Earth

  • or in this case, the human brain.

  • Reading literature in this this way makes

  • both the left and right hemisphere of the

  • brain come to life - start to be activated

  • again after a quiet period.

  • And it's this 'coming to life' that proves

  • the therapeutic effects of 'Bibliotherapy'.

  • Here's Professor Davis again explaining

  • how the benefits of group reading

  • are observed:

  • There are two methods really - you

  • can have ECG where you put

  • electrodes on the scalp

  • and it measures electricity so that

  • you can have a print-off of

  • a graph of the sudden

  • leaps than can happen at particular

  • moments in reading a poem

  • or short story or you can

  • go into the scanner, the FMRI, and there,

  • the blood flow, the oxygen indicates again

  • changes in the configuration of the brain

  • as it takes in this new stimulus.

  • The benefits of reading literature

  • with others can be felt by group members

  • as they begin

  • to feel more alive and able to cope

  • with life's ups and downs. But they can

  • also be measured

  • scientifically by recording

  • brain wave activity.

  • This can be done by carefully attaching

  • metal wires called electrodes

  • to the reader's scalp

  • - the skin under the hair on the head.

  • Brain activity is then measured by giving

  • the reader a stimulus - something

  • that encourages

  • activity in people. In this case, it could

  • be a poem or novel to read.

  • Or something really

  • stimulating - like a detective story!

  • Or a work of literature - which reminds me

  • of today's quiz question.

  • I asked you to name

  • the most popular book of all time,

  • and you said...

  • a) Harry Potter and the

  • Philosopher's Stone...

  • ...which is definitely the most popular

  • book in the 21st Century.

  • But number one of all

  • time, selling over 500 million copies is

  • c) Cervantes' Don Quixote.

  • And there's even a

  • detective in it!

  • Today, we've been discussing the

  • therapeutic effects of meeting up

  • with others in a reading

  • group to read literature - writing of artistic

  • value, such as stories and poetry.

  • In contrast to scanning - reading quickly

  • to find facts - reading groups

  • use literature

  • as a stimulus - something that

  • encourages activity in people.

  • Reading stimulates both the left and right

  • hemispheres - the two halves of the brain,

  • and increases emotional activity

  • which can be measured on

  • the scalp - the skin under

  • the hair on a reader's head.

  • All of which helps people dealing with

  • trauma to come to life - feel active

  • and more alive

  • after a quiet period.

  • Right, that's it ... I'm off to the library!

  • If only you could... Thanks for listening

  • and remember you can find

  • many more stimulating

  • topics and vocabulary here at

  • 6 Minute English on

  • BBC Learning English. Bye for now.

  • Bye!

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本の持つ癒しの力 - 6分間英語 (The soothing power of books - 6 Minute English)

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    林宜悉 に公開 2021 年 01 月 14 日
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