Top 3 must-read books for 2023
Researchers at the Yale University School of Public Health, one of the most prestigious American universities, analysed survey data from 3,635 people over 50.
For 12 years, the participants took part in a large study on life expectancy. However, the questionnaire also included other topics, in particular, about reading habits.
All participants were divided into 3 groups: those who do not read at all, those who read up to 3.5 hours a week, and those who read more than 3.5 hours a week.
The researchers aimed to create a portrait of the person who reads the most. The results of the survey showed that this is usually a woman with a higher education and an above-average income.
Along with these factors, the researchers also took into account age, race, health status, and marital status.
And now the best part - people who read at least 3.5 hours a week were 17% less likely to die over the 12 years of the study.
Those who read for more than 3.5 hours were 23% less likely to do so.
Thus, reading lovers lived on average almost 2 years longer than those who did not pick up a book at all.
"People who spend at least half an hour a day on books have a significant advantage of living longer compared to those who consider reading a waste of time," said study coordinator and Yale professor Becca R. Levy.
And now we bring to your attention three books that you can read right now.
A Living Remedy, Nicole Chung
The Time magazine has published its list of the best books of 2023. The list is headed by Korean-American Nicole Chang, a columnist for the magazine. In her early memoirs, she focused on her experience of growing up in a family of "Korean Americans" living in a predominantly white town.
Her next book, A Living Remedy, continues her exploration into identity. This time, however, through the experience of living with the grief of losing both her parents. Chang's father died of diabetes and kidney disease in 2018.
Less than a year later, her mother was diagnosed with cancer and later died during the COVID-19 pandemic.
In "A Living Remedy", Chang tries to coexist with these irreparable losses. The author explores the inequalities inherent in American society and describes the challenges her parents faced in trying to access healthcare. The result "is a moving portrait of a daughter searching for her place in a broken world - and discovering the sense of life without her parents."
I am transforming, by Vladimir Vakulenko
The war diary of the writer Volodymyr Vakulenko, who was tortured by Russian soldiers, was presented at the Book Arsenal, the largest book fair in Ukraine, which is currently taking place in Kyiv.
An author of children's fairy tales, a public figure and a father of a special son, Volodymyr did not leave his home in Kharkiv region, Ukraine, when the city was invaded by the Russian military. Volodymyr wrote down his feelings about life under occupation in his diary.
«By the way, I do have dreams. Sometimes I'll pass out for an hour or two and dream about something. At first, I dreamt of numbers, old calendars, and acquaintances - as if I were hugging them, meeting them. I'm afraid to think what happened to them. In the first days of the occupation, I gave up a little, but now I'm pulling myself together. The birds call only in the morning, and in the afternoon, even the crows don't make an angry "caw". In the evening, music on my mobile phone saves me, and today, on the day of poetry, a small crane flew in the sky. And I felt: everything will be Ukraine, I believe in victory."
One day, Volodymyr hid the diary near his parents' house. It was as if he had a feeling that Russian soldiers would come for him. And so it happened.
For several months, the literary community and activists tried in vain to find out the fate of their colleague.
The body of children's writer Volodymyr Vakulenko, with signs of torture, was identified among hundreds of other spontaneously buried victims of the Russian military in Izium only after the city was de-occupied.
Vakulenko's diary was found. The Kharkiv Literary Museum digitised it, and now the book «I Am Transforming» will be published. The proceeds from the sale of the first edition will go entirely to support the writer's family.
"I Am Transforming" is the story of living through a bloody and barbaric war of aggression by a man with deeply rooted democratic values and a sophisticated perception of the world. A man who is equally aware of the staggering savagery of reality and the almost inevitable approach of his own death.
Unscripted: The Epic Battle for a Media Empire and the Redstone Family Legacy, by James B. Stewart and Rachel Abrams
From year to year, The New York Times publishes its own book selections - "books you should read right now". This year's list includes a lot of non-fiction.
One of their most notable books, "Unscripted", is described as an "epic battle for the media empire and legacy of the Redstone family". Written by James B. Stewart and Rachel Abrams, Times reporters who researched and "put on paper" the "stunning" chronicle of the last years of media mogul and Paramount chairman Sumner Redstone.
This is a story about toxic wealth and greed, inhabited by cronies, manipulators and real scum. Redstone himself appears somewhere on this list. Corporate cynicism, misogyny, and sexual abuse - all this horrific cocktail will spill over the reader and open the door to the secret world of wealthy immensity.
The main protagonist, Sumner Redstone, is a business Giant, the founder of Paramount Global, which included Viacom and CBS. In the 90s, he ruthlessly manipulated people around him, and they tried to manipulate him. The authors of the book allow us to observe this performance at close quarters. The sophisticated style in which this impressive story is told will not allow the reader to put this book down for later.
"Wealth and power can metastasise until they become toxic, destroying families, companies and countless lives," the Times writes in its review.
The first chapters cover the last years of the protagonist's life. He is already over 90, still behaving like an eccentric 13-year-old teenager, under the influence of hormones, but retaining only the remnants of his once sharp mind and ability to manipulate people.
A new mistress whose life he tries to take over by carelessly spending millions - sometimes tens of millions. A new house, exclusive cars, or even a show on MTV - Samenr buys affection. However, every single one of them betrayed the wealthy guy in some horrible way. So he quickly changes the subject of his affection and replaces one mistress with the next. Fortunately for the authors of the book, many of these relationships ended in loud lawsuits, so all the circumstances could be explored in the smallest detail.
Redstone is as odious a person as you could possibly imagine. He elevates and destroys his own children, his son and daughter, with maniacal cruelty. He enjoys the power of turning a struggling actress into a wealthy TV star and then destroying her. "There are brief moments when the reader can almost sympathise with this broken man who lacks self-awareness; at one point he seems to be experiencing a real revelation. But the next moment he does something shameful and leaves the audience no chance of sympathy.
The habit of reading books is becoming increasingly rare. But perhaps an argument of two extra years of life and an incredibly fascinating story will help you overcome your procrastination)