Thursday, January 3, 2013

The Impact of Reading by Terri Morgan (Guest Post)

Today I am very pleased to have Terri Morgan, author of Playing the Genetic Lottery, on the blog today talking about the lifelong impact of books and reading.

I was talking about books recently with a friend who is also an avid reader and she mentioned that her high school English teacher once assigned the class to write essays on “how reading changed my life.” Even though it's been a very long time since either myself or my book loving buddy have been in high school, we began pondering how we'd address that question today.

Initially, I couldn't think of how reading had changed my life. Books have been a huge part of my life from birth on. My parents used to read regularly to my sister and myself. And once I learned how to make sense of the letters on the pages in first grade I began reading constantly. Reading comes as naturally to me as breathing, and I don't think I could survive with either.

The more I thought about the topic, however, the more I realized how books had impacted me. Reading was a constant in my life; and consistency was important to kids like myself who's father's military career meant frequent moves. Being the new kid at school was always a little lonely at first. But fortunately, I had books to keep me company until the other kids decided I was OK.

Books have entertained me, taken me to new worlds, and taught me many things. As a young reader I devoured biographies as well as fiction. I loved learning about interesting people who did interesting things; often after overcoming challenges along the way. I also found as much pleasure reading a non-fiction book, on just about any topic, as I did perusing comic books. Books broadened my horizons and introduced me to different subjects, cultures and countries. They took me into the past, giving me a taste of what it was like to live during the 1700s when books were rare precious items and reading was done by candlelight. After I discovered the works of Ray Bradbury, books took me into the future, and opened my mind to new possibilities.

Just as importantly, books have helped educate me. I helped a friend launch a successful business after graduating from college, despite the fact neither of us had studied business. I learned by experimentation, and by reading everything I could on the subject. Books helped educate me after I was diagnosed with a chronic health condition. They helped me help my husband make important medical decisions after he was diagnosed with cancer. They've helped me plant gardens, learn how to sail, decide where to vacation, train my dog, and a myriad of other important things.

So how have books changed my life? By constantly enriching it and providing me with an opportunity to be a lifelong learner.

About the Author: Terri Morgan is a book junkie and journalist turned novelist from California. Her novel Playing the Genetic Lottery, was published in May 2012.

You can connect with Terri at:
About the Book:

The steady influence of Ayla's older brother helped her cope with the chaos of growing up with two schizophrenic parents. That protective shield was shattered when she was 15 and her brother developed the devastating mental illness himself. In an effort to escape the madness that engulfed her family, Ayla leaves home and changes her name to Caitlin, hoping distance herself from her past. But she finds it much harder to recover from the emotional wounds inflicted by her unusual upbringing and the knowledge that schizophrenia tends to run in families. This fictional memoir-style novel follows Caitlin as she struggles to forge a peaceful and serene life for herself and start a family of her own. But no matter how hard she tries, Caitlin can't shake her obsessive fear that the family illness will strike again, robbing her of her mind or stealing away the sanity of one or both of her children. "I know that at 32 my chances of developing schizophrenia are miniscule and keep shrinking with every passing month," Caitlin tells readers in the prologue of this dramatic novel. "Despite that, I'm still obsessively terrified of developing the devastating mental illness that was an ever-present part of my formative years. It's shaped who I've become, and I've worked for more than half my life to recover from its impact. My father, mother and brother all lost the genetic lottery, and their misfortune continues to ripple through my life even today."

Meticulously researched, Playing the Genetic Lottery shines a light on mental illness and illuminates the impact schizophrenia has on the people who love those unfortunate enough to develop the disease. Written by a longtime journalist, this engaging novel grips readers from the first page and has them rooting for Caitlin throughout her journey through life.

Available Formats: Paperback and eBook

Note: All opinions presented in book and product reviews are my own. Opinions presented in posts authored by others reflect the view of the author only and not necessarily my view or opinion. If a product was given to me for review, the source of that product is noted in the post. Amazon and Book Depository links are affiliate links and I do earn a small amount for each purchase. Other affiliate links will be noted in the post.
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