Posted in Book Talk

Reading is a huge favor for future-you

Let’s not make assumptions…

If you have never heard the good news before now, then let me have the joy of letting you know! I will make an assumption that if you’re reading this, you probably read a good deal. Well, your extensive time spent reading is one fantastic way to do future-you a favor. Reading and writing are proven ways to help strengthen your brain, which in turn compensates for deterioration later in life from dementia, Alzheimer’s, or simple aging.

While that alone is probably enough to convince you to keep the habit up (or to start developing it if it’s not quite a habit yet), more fascinating is exactly how reading and writing manage to encourage brain health.

Brain work makes the brain work

The idea of how mental stimulation can help your brain is called the cognitive reserve hypothesis (which definitely sounds like an episode title of the Big Bang Theory). Basically, you strengthen the connections between cells with your brain-busting activities. Later in life when the cells themselves are deteriorating, the strong connections between let them rely on each other more to get the work done.

Even when their brains actually had signs of deterioration or other brain damage, those who had a lifelong habit of reading retained more mental function in the last years of their life.

mental stimulation seemed to help protect memory and thinking skills, accounting for about 14 percent of the difference in decline, Keep Reading to Keep Alzheimer’s at Bay

In case it’s not clear, fourteen percent is HUGE in a study like this!

If you happen to be starting this habit late, don’t worry! The same study showed that those who didn’t start until later in life still had a 32% reduction in the rate of brain decline (again, that’s huge!).

If you don’t want to read, you could always become a taxi driver

Maybe reading isn’t your favorite thing, or maybe you just want to mix it up every now and then. No fear, because any activity that requires you to focus or think really hard about something will do you good. Here’s an example list from past activities participants in the study performed that were shown to have helped:

  • studying for medical exams
  • apprenticing as a London taxi driver
  • deciphering mirrored words or Morse codes
  • learning novel color names
  • performing brainteasers

Now to be honest, I’m not sure what “learning novel color names” means, but it sounds fun. On the other hand, I can totally see how working as a taxi driver in London would require focus and constant mental gymnastics. Just… don’t combine reading with taxi driving.

This is real too, this guy was pulled over for reading while driving. Sparked a new motto: “Stay Alive: Don’t Novel and Drive”


Keep Reading to Keep Alzheimer’s at Bay” by, The Alzheimer’s Information Site. Reviewed by William J. Netzer, Ph.D., Fisher Center for Alzheimer’s Research Foundation at The Rockefeller University.

Robert S. Wilson PhD, Patricia A. Boyle PhD, Lei Yu, PhD, et al: “Life-span Cognitive Activity, Neuropathologic Burden, and Cognitive Aging.” Neurology, Vol. 81. 2013.

Prashanthi Vemuri, PhD, Elizabeth C. Mormino, PhD: “Cognitive Stimulating Activities to Keep Dementia at Bay.” Neurology, Vol 81. 2013

“Listening to South Korean television was like looking in the mirror for the first time in your life and realizing you were unattractive. North Koreans were always told theirs was the proudest country in the world, but the rest of the world considered it a pathetic, bankrupt regime. “

Nothing to Envy: Ordinary Lives in North Korea by Barbara Demick

Harsh Reality

Libraries eliminate late fees?

No more late fines?

I had to find a dime for a library fee recently, and it was a struggle. (And for the record, I returned it day-of but they had already closed, so they counted it as next day. 😞)

Apparently some libraries are removing late fees after seeing that some people will just keep the book and stop coming to the library to about the shame of paying a late fee.

What’s worse for you: the shame, or the fee itself?

Posted in Chatty, Release Day!

It’s Here! It’s Here!!

So I posted recently in a Cover Roulette post about how I was waiting for the new illustrated edition of Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, and TODAY. IS. THE DAY.

The smoke around the tail! The bones underneath! The egg below it! The banners on the wall! The people in the stands! THE DRAGON ITSELF!
The front page – but trust me, it takes a dark turn on the next.

This was one of the longer books, so this version took TWO YEARS to complete, which I totally understand. And it’s also pretty dang heavy, so this is a couch-and-bed read for sure.

It’s completely gorgeous and please excuse me while I abandon all other responsibilities and books to re-read this stunning version of this amazing story. 😍

I am grateful for Jim Kay.

Posted in Cover Roulette

Cover Roulette: City of Bones

I did my first cover roulette post a little while ago for Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, and it was so fun I wanted to do another! Luckily I found another popular series that has had many different editions made, and I wondered…

What other awesome covers have I missed?

Tonight’s featured book is City of Bones by Cassandra Clare. When this series first came out, I was immediately sucked in. It’s one of the few series I ever started when it first came out and had to actually wait for the new books to come out! It’s also one of the first series that made me think, “Wow, that cover is so pretty I would buy it just to look at it on my shelves.”

The Cover I Know

The coloring! It’s so ominous and creepy, and the weird swirling tattoos on Dude’s body were intriguing. I knew magic would be involved for sure, and I’m always down for magic. The demons were just a bonus!

Continue reading “Cover Roulette: City of Bones”

-500 to the Future 2020

The farthest back and farthest forward publish dates of books I’v read. Quite a range there! One from a time we now measure in negative numbers, to a year that hasn’t happened yet. Booksirens has some cool analysis of Goodreads data.

That -500 one in Chinese is Sun Tzu’s The Art Of War. I read it during a rough period at work, seeking inspiration. I didn’t get much inspiration, but it was entertaining! I tried to figure out why it’s still touted as a great business book…and failed.

The one in 2020, Foul is Fair by Hannah Capin, is absolutely STUNNING, and I highly recommend you get a copy as soon as you can! Pre-order!

The Scientific Smell of Old Books

Researchers have broken down the smell of old books

This is so cool! I feel like every reader knows the smell of old books, but what actually IS that smell?? Well, we finally have our answer, broken down into what people say they think it smells like connected to the actual chemicals that might be making it smell that way. Cool!

You should really read the article, but for people who like to skip to the last page, the overall smell people reported is a sort of woody, earthy smell. Think of damp peat moss, if you have any familiarity with damp peat moss.

My top 3 weirdest results in the list:

  • “green”
  • “old seasoning”
  • “fish”
Posted in Cover Roulette

Cover Roulette: Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire

At some point recently, I was looking for an alternate edition on Goodreads to match the one I had actually read. Simple enough. But then I noticed that some of the other editions of the book had some seriously dope covers! Got me to thinking…

What other books have covers I’ve never seen?

If you have no idea what the illustrated editions of Harry Potter are, THEY ARE INCREDIBLE. Huge, beautiful illustrations. Hardbound book. Built-in bookmark ribbon. Definitely check them out, because it 100% brings the stories to life in a really wonderful way. You can see some of the artwork by Jim Kay on his website, and trust me, they look even better on the big printed pages.

So in honor of my excitement over Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire Illustrated Edition by Jim Kay coming out on October 8th (less than a month!!!) here are some of my favorite covers for it, from around the world and through the years.

The Cover I Know

Published 2000. So this is the cover I’m familiar with. You’ve got the signature font for his name, Harry front and center with his fellow champions of the Goblet behind him, a spiny dragon tail in front of him, egg and wand in hand, and in the back there, a shadowy hooded figure…

Continue reading “Cover Roulette: Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire”

10 Books That Predicted (Or Created!) the Future

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These 10 Books Predicted (or Created) the Future

I immediately thought to Divination in Harry Potter. I also can’t help but start wondering what books now are predicting the future? I feel a bit grim to think it won’t be so much cool technology advancements or interstellar travel, but most likely the disaster novels about world-ending weather.