COLUMN: Reading a Book a Day: Keeping the Doctor Away

Published 9:50 am Monday, February 14, 2022

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By Elisabeth Altamirano-Smith | Community columnist

Reading is a favorite pastime for many people. Whether it is part of your daily routine to review the newspaper or sit by the fire with a good book in hand, reading has the power to educate, bring peace and transform the reader’s settings. Gladys Mims, an 89 year old Clanton resident, makes it a priority to read and averages reading and finishing a book a day.  Reading was not always important to Mims. She did not particularly like to read in school, but picked up the hobby later in life.

She was born and grew up in Minnesota.

“I went to a little country school and did not enjoy it,” said Mims. “We had eight classes in one room. I was left-handed, and every time I used my left hand the teacher would slap my hand.”

Mims and her late husband, Billy Gene, moved to Clanton 68 years ago. Her love for reading began after she retired and had time to read.

“She has been reading a book a day for about 20 years now,” said Nicki Melton, Mims’ granddaughter. “She started when I was in middle school because it also got me interested in reading. That’s how we bond — reading and watching soap operas together.”

Although Mims was never taught to speed-read (a learned technique to quickly read and process information), she quickly reads through each chapter to find out what will happen next.

“I like all kinds of book, but I love mysteries and want to find out what will happen,” said Mims. “I can’t stop reading until I find out!”

Of the many books she has read (which includes the Holy Bible), some of her favorites are “Where the Crawdads Sing” by Delia Owens and “The Woman in Cabin 10” by Ruth Ware. Naturally, she has a wide selection in her library. Colleen Hubbard, James Patterson and Karen Kingsbury are among her favorite authors.

Mims does not drive and depends on family to bring her new reading material.

“She reads through so many books it can be hard to keep up with what she has already finished,” said Melton. “I have to look back through my online purchases to see if it is a book she has already read. We also try to get her new books that way we know she has not read them, yet.”

While it is no secret that reading is good for cognitive health, Mims said that it also helps her nerves.

“Reading relaxes me,” said Mims. “It helps me sleep well, too. Anyone that is looking for a hobby should consider reading. If you don’t like to read, consider reading something different. Try it again. You have to find something that appeals to you. Everybody doesn’t like (reading) the same thing.”

Other hobbies of Mims include word searches. She has three daughters (one living), 10 grandchildren, 26 great-grandchildren and four great-great grandchildren.