Binge watching shows bad for the brain study says—what about binge reading?

By Matt De Reno

Binge-watching episodes of your favorite Netflix show does no favors for your brain, writes Robert Preidt for the HealthDay Reporter. That seems obvious. However, I wonder if binge reading books is equally as bad?

The article quotes Dr. Randall Wright, a neurologist at Houston Methodist in Texas, "It's important to recognize that the brain is not an isolated organ—it responds to its environment," Dr. Wright stated. "When we binge-watch, we create an unhealthy environment for the brain because we're sitting for long periods of time, isolating ourselves from social activities and eating large amounts of unhealthy food."

That could be said of books right?

Wright likens the instant gratification of watching episode after episode of a show to wanting to continue gambling even after you win. But, if you are going to binge watch shows, he believes you can do more to make binge watching your shows as healthy as possible. He suggests watching your shows with a friend. Have healthy snacks. Exercise during the show.

That is all great, but what if you happen to like binge booking? Can reading be equally as a bad? To me it sounds like reading would be good for the brain, no matter how much you do it, but what do I know?

Not much. So I googled the topic and found an interesting article posted by Brett Michael Orr on his writing website. This guy wrote about binge booking.

One of binge-reading’s greatest benefits is the connection you form with the characters, writes Orr. When you’re waiting a year or more for the next installment in a series, it’s easy to forget characters and their motivations, Orr writes, so there are advantages to binging a completed series at once.

According to Orr, when you reading books consecutively, you can form a deeper personal bond with the character; but it’s not without its dangers namely that you can spot all the books flaws. Maybe there are things in the first book you would have forgot about if you would have not read the second book right after the first.

Ouch. In my opinion a good writer to should make sure all the books in a series can be read contiguously without spotting stuff the author forgot about in earlier books. That is a tall task, from the authors standpoint. The third book you write might have been five years after the first. No matter, a skilled writer should get it right.

An article on the Morning News website not so much condemned binge reading as it raised the question: Do sites like Google and Wikipedia make us more stupid from information overload?

Way, way back in 2008, Nicholas Carr, for The Morning News, references an article appearing in the Atlantic, “Is Google Making Us Stupid?”—an article that became famous enough to merit its own Wikipedia page.

Carr argues that the abundance of information that the internet provides is diminishing our abilities to actually comprehend what we read. He writes:

“My mind now expects to take in information the way the Net distributes it: in a swiftly moving stream of particles. Once I was a scuba diver in the sea of words. Now I zip along the surface like a guy on a Jet Ski.”

In the end, I can see binge-watching TV being bad for you. Then again, I think binging on anything, books, movies, games, food is not wise either.

If you would like to start binging books please start with my Midas Protocol series. Of course you have to wait until they are all published. But, if one day you do binge read them all, let me know what you think. Just go easy on the details and as I write them I’ll promise to remember what I put in that first book.

Matt De Reno is author of the unpublished Midas Protocol Series. You can reach him at matt.dereno@scratchwriting.com.