Review: ‘Read’ Just One Thing

'Read' Just One ThingVeteran BBC presenter Michael Mosley invites your to ‘Read’ Just One Thing. This episode of Mosely’s light-weight, feel-good, pop-lifestyle advice show promotes the benefits of reading fiction.

A brief fourteen minute, short-format audio show, Just One Thing covers a range of physical and mental health issues. Mosely skips through the material sounding like a light-weight, feel-good version of Ken Clarke. Skipping breezily along, it’s ideal Radio 4 self-help fodder.

Mosely’s premise is that reading a story for half an hour a day can bring big benefits to your body and brain. Reading fiction specifically is praised for increasing brain connectivity, building new neural pathways and improving memory function. A quoted Canadian study claims a dip into Jane Austen can increase blood flow across the brain. Mental health practitioners credit fiction with increasing empathy. It can also improve language and verbal skills.

There is one very dubious statistic from a study which claims those reading half hour a day live up to 23 months longer. I suspect that has to do with the self-selecting, self-caring lifestyles of those habitual readers than the act of reading itself.

Button-holing a random member of the public, Naz promises to put down her smartphone and pick up a book for a week. It’s a trivial experiment which highlights that scrolling through social media is NOT reading, fictitious though that content may be.

This is a fluffy cup-cake of a show from medic, journalist and presenter Mosely. It easily fulfills the BBC mission to ‘inform, educate, and entertain.’

Just One ThingRead
Broadcast 08 Jun, 2022, BBC Radio 4. Available on BBC Sounds for over a year.
Image from the Just One Thing programme website.