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Jane Austen News – Issue 38

What’s the Jane Austen News this week?  Stanford Says Reading Austen = Awesome Brain Exercise  Now this is the kind of exercise the Jane Austen News could really become addicted to. Researchers at Stanford University say that reading Jane Austen could be the perfect brain exercise. Researchers at Stanford tested literary candidates at the university by hooking them up to an MRI machine and letting them get stuck into a Jane Austen novel. The preliminary results came back and the researchers found that there was a dramatic increase of blood flow to regions of the brain associated with paying close attention to a task. Researcher Natalie Philips explained why this is so good; “paying attention to literary texts requires the coordination of multiple complex cognitive functions.” She suggested that this style of reading creates distinct patterns in the brain that are “far more complex than just work and play.” And why is Jane Austen such a good author to read? Because there’s so much to analyse in its value, historical significance and hidden meanings. It’s mental multi-tasking! It’s official then, Stanford has said so, for the sake of our health we need to read Jane Austen! An Evening With Jane at Gloucester Cathedral     If you live or can get to Gloucester this may well be of interest. On Saturday 22 October at 7.30pm Gloucester Cathedral’s Chapter House will host a very special evening of readings from the works of Jane Austen, bringing alive some of her most-loved and most-reviled characters.  Adrian

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