Book World pointed the way to this article in the Times. "Reading Shakespeare excites the brain in a way that keeps it fit," according to researchers.
"Monitoring participants with brain-imaging equipment, they found that certain lines from Shakespeare and other great writers such as Chaucer and Wordsworth caused the brain to spark with electrical activity because of the unusual words or sentence structure."
I agree, whatever gets those synapses firing is good, for more reasons than preventing dementia. Shakespeare's language excites the brain, imagination, appreciation of beauty, sense of humanity, curiosity, admiration of courage and loyalty, sympathy, empathy, sense of humor, and more.
And Maggie posted an interesting fact: You burn more calories reading than watching television! Isn't that wonderful? If I were still teaching it would be one of the things I posted on the board and left all year. Check out the rest of Maggie's post.