August 9th celebrates National Book Lover’s Day which is designed to encourage people to pick up a book and spend the day reading.
In Monmouth’s Gibraltar Nursing Home, they have a well-stocked library, so it is easy for any of the “family members” who live there, to help themselves to a book to read, or if they have limited mobility, request one. They can choose from literary classics right up to the latest crime thriller.
76-year-old Veronica Weir moved to the home a couple of months ago and is a self-confessed book worm. “Reading is a fabulous pastime, she says, “I think it’s like going on an adventure.”
“One of my favourites is Tolstoy’s “War & Peace” but at over 1200 pages long it does take a while to get through”.
Veronica knows more about books than most as she went on to write and publish her own.
“They say there’s a book in all of us, so I decided to sit down and write mine. I self-published it on a website called Lulu, and I called it “Coffee.” It was written under my pen name of Claire Jensen and is about a genie that appears, following the unearthing of an old pot found in a garden.”
Veronica’s love of books began in the 1940s when she was taught to read by her mother and loved the exciting world of literature that offered a means of escape from the norm. She went on to become one of Europe’s top computer salespeople and was even consulted when the Royal Household requested their first computer system to log the thousands of priceless works of art in the UK’s 36 palaces.
Studies have shown that reading can not only be entertaining but can also have proven health benefits. Reading helps reduce stress levels, improves focus and concentration, and can improve sleep patterns. Intriguingly, science has proven that those who read are also much more likely to be empathetic and understanding of others.
Veronica agrees with this although she is not a fan of the growing world of electronic books, preferring the feel of a real printed novel in her hands. There is always a pile of books in her well-lit and comfortable room in the Home.
“I feel sorry for anyone that has not discovered the joys that reading can bring” she says. “The young of today can have such a short attention span. I think that writers like J.K Rowling should be applauded.”
It is great to know that good old-fashioned books have enriched the lives of so many people in the world and continue to do so in Gibraltar Nursing Home. When asked how she will spend Book Lover’s Day, Victoria smiles and say she will just pop down the hallway to the library and pick up a new thriller to spend the day with.