Friday, April 15, 2011

Treasure Your Pleasure Reading

More than once, while we were studying Shakespeare in high school, I was heard saying, "I can't wait for this unit on Shakespeare to be over!" I could never get my head around the language, the characters and that time period.

Until now.

One thing leads to another...

Last year, Laurel published a post that introduced me to Kate Morton. This new-to-me author has brightened many an evening of reading with her epic, descriptive-rich, continent-spanning tales. Laurel, I thank you for the recommendation!

Presenting...

I'm going to borrow her idea and blog about an author who has broadened my horizons and kindled (I can't say re-kindled because there was no fire in the first place) an interest in Shakespeare.

Karen Harper wrote Mistress Shakespeare, a fictionalised story based on her research into the life and times of that great poet and playwright, William Shakespeare. As she delved into his life, she came across compelling evidence that there was a second Mrs. Shakespeare.

It has generally been accepted that William Shakespeare married Anne Hathaway. However, records of the time, as creatively spelled as they were, indicate that William may have been a bigamist. His handfast marriage to Anne Whateley supposedly took place prior to his shot-gun marriage to Anne Hathaway.

This 366 page, 5 Act book follows the adventuresome, creative and business-minded Anne from the first blush of youth through until the wisdom of the aged. Her great loves, William and the theatre, play a central role in shaping the woman Anne became.

This novel is well-researched and written, which on those terms alone, could spell b-o-r-i-n-g. Far from it. As I inferred earlier, Shakespeare has never looked so good! I was hooked after a few chapters!

The Treasures of Pleasure Reading

Just in case you haven't found a good enough reason to read fiction, here is a post entitled Eight Reasons to Read Fiction posted on the blog called Dumb Little Man. Bedtime reading has always been a wonderful way to draw the shades on the day, even if only for 5 minutes. It is the perfect non-caloric nightcap.

But, as it turns out there's more. Research out of the University of Sussex in the U.K. has shown that reading reduces the amount of stress one feels. How fortuitous that I found this on, of all things, That Shakespearean Rag - a blog that I will spend more time visiting.

There are many ways to undress your stress, but are they treating the cause or the symptoms?  I have been a prodigious reader for decades, yet my stress levels continued to mount. The techniques I teach have augmented my life. By regularly practising these tools and techniques, my heart rate variability has improved; I enjoy the balance between the two branches of my nervous system. This has paid off in quantifiable and qualitative results.

Treasure all those things that you love doing. Fit them into your life, if only for 5 minutes at a time. They help to restore you. Take notice how you feel. Are things improving? Staying the same? Worsening?

Do you have skills to undress your stress regardless of where you are? Or do you have to wait until your vacation, the spa, the gym or when you have time to read? You don't have to wait. Nor should you - your health and well-being depend upon it!

Image courtesy of Anu-Liisa Varis.

6 comments:

  1. I remember "Out out brief candle. Life is but a walking shadow, a poor player who frets & struts his hour upon the sage & then is heard no more." Required to memorize in high school. It was meaningless then because at that age one feels immortal.
    My husband finished the MacBeth soliloquy for me. He's smart.

    I'm Cynthia Springer a.k.a. bikehikebabe (my computer name) From WV originally, now NM.

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  2. I cannot live without reading, solving crossword puzzles and blogging/visiting and commenting on blogs. I have no stress except occasionally when my ward goes off into orbit. I get back to normal in a trice though.

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  3. Hello Marianna,

    What a lovely post, and I surely will take a stroll through That Shakespearean Rag now, upon your recommendation. As well, in high school, I was less than enthused about my English teacher, Mrs. Aylward, assigning us Shakespeare to read aloud in class. As Cynthia commented, at that age, one feels immortal, so the sensitivity to Shakespeare's 'nuances' may not have developed.

    I especially embrace these takeaways from your post: "Treasure all those things that you love doing. Fit them into your life, if only for 5 minutes at at time. They help to restore you." <-- YES, YES! (all caps necessary to reinforce my strong belief in this advice!)

    By design, Rob and I are aspiring to create a life that more healthily blends the aspects of both 'treasures and work obligations,' as we saunter off to Texas.

    Thank you, Marianna, for always coming through with new insights on stress reduction as well as methods to augment one's contentment and joy.

    Jacqui

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  4. Cynthia,
    I'm delighted that you stopped by to visit!

    I have great admiration for people who are able to pull quotes out from one of their drawers in that great filing cabinet in their head!

    In grade 8, we had to memorise a poem each week. I can't recall any of it, apart from "Two roads diverged in a yellow wood."

    Ramana,
    That's the trick - a quick recovery.

    Jacqui,
    Mrs. Aylward would be proud to see the master writer and story-teller you've become!

    Shall I answer back in full caps, Jacqui? *APPLAUSE* for being able to make it work that you get to work and play - restore and revitalise.

    May the winds caress your cares away, the waters assuage your soul and may friends and family, new and old continue to support and love you in your soon-to-be new home!

    As you say, *CLINK*! :)

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  5. well said,
    Reading is good habit in my opinion

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  6. Stress Relief ,
    Thank you.

    Agreed re. reading.

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