A recent piece in the NY Times reports that people who read books live longer, even when other factors are taken into account. Reading just a half an hour a day has real longevity benefits, according to the study.
Well, you're exercising your brain, I suppose. And some books are as heavy to lift as dumbbells.
Unfortunately the study doesn't identify which authors are the healthiest to read. If I had to guess, I would predict literary geniuses Jane Austen and Hilary Mantel are at the top of the shelf.