1200x628 COURI library ARTICLE COVER Sept 2022-3

A Passion for Reading & Art Inspires the Newest Addition at the Couri Center

By Dr. Michele Couri MD, FACOG, ABIHM

Top 10 Facts: Reading Fiction 

  1. Storytelling is a globally ancient practice of educating and providing wisdom and creativity to minds of all ages.
  2. Storytelling transports us to magical places and enhances our imaginative capabilities.
  3. Reading fiction induces a state of deep focus, thereby increasing relaxation and quieting the mind of racing thoughts.  Reading has been shown to lower both blood pressure and heart rate.
  4. Reading fiction is important for brain health.  In a 2013 study, researchers used functional MRI technology to show that reading novels improves our neural connectivity.(2) The more intriguing the story, the greater the brain lit up with activity.  Reading also improves our vocabulary and comprehension skills.
  5. Reading fiction has been shown to reduce social prejudice and increase reader empathy.
  6. Reading narrative fiction can reduce racial bias by allowing the reader to recognize similarities among themselves and the characters.
  7. Fictional reading may transform judgment into understanding and foster compassion by unifying the reader to the characters.
  8. Reading fiction allows for better self-understanding and has been shown to play a role in personal maturation.
  9. Studies have shown that regular reading prevents cognitive decline as we age. 
  10. Based on a 2016 study of over 3,600 adults, researchers concluded that people who read more than 3 1/2 hours every week were 23 percent likely to live longer than those who didn’t read at all.(5)

Introducing The Couri Center’s Phone Booth Turned Little Free Library®

Her Passion Comes to Life

To share my love of reading with all of you, I am pleased to announce that the Couri Center now has a very unique Little Free Library® that we hope you will enjoy for years to come.  Our library began its life originally as a phone booth in 1937, made by the Burgess Battery Company in Chicago, Illinois.  After purchasing the phone booth in Northern Wisconsin last summer, my husband and I brought it home to be transformed.  Through the artistic genius and vision of local artist Megan Couri, every inch of the booth now reflects my love of New Orleans and passion for reading.  In fact, my favorite bookstore, @faulknerhousebooks, just happens to be located in New Orleans’ French Quarter. Thank you also to my brothers Bob and Mike Unes for their tireless efforts in restoring the booth to her full glory.   We have now put the finishing touches on it, and it is located in the main foyer of the Couri Center.  Please feel free to stop by, say hello, and take a book that sparks your interest.  Also, we welcome any books that you want to part with, and we will put them in the library for others to enjoy.   Happy Reading!


Before & After: Passion Project Underway


To Your Health,

Dr. Couri


Sources Used:

  1. Marshall, Rosemary.  Reading fiction:  the benefits are numerous.  Br J Gen Pract. 2020 Jan 30;70(691):79.
  2. Berns GS, Blaine K, Prietula MJ, Pye BE. Short- and long-term effects of a novel on connectivity in the brain. Brain Connect. 2013;3(6):590–600.
  3. Johnson DR, Huffman BL, Jasper DM. Changing race boundary perception by reading narrative fiction. Basic and Appl Soc Psych. 2014;36(1):83–90.
  4. Stansfield J, Bunce L. The relationship between empathy and reading fiction: separate roles for cognitive and affective components. J Eur Psychol Stud. 2014;5(3):9–18. 
  5. Bavishi, Avni, Slade, Martin, Levy, Becca.  A chapter a day: Association of book reading with longevity.  Soc Sci Med. 2016 Sep;164:44-48.