By: Karrie Beck
This article is brought to you by: Tuffy Service Center
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Have you ever had an author so intensely capture your thoughts that you dreamed of meeting the mind behind the words? Good books drive emotion and encourage conversation. Great books push a person to speak up and speak out. Overall, reading impacts minds and fosters better health. Sold on the idea of increasing the amount of time you’re reading? If you’re not, consider this:
According to Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, author Dr. Robert Freidland found reading may help in the prevention of Alzheimer’s. “…elderly people who regularly read or play mentally challenging games are 2 ½ times less likely to have the debilitating illness, which affects 4 million Americans.” There have been further studies done which have shown that activities, such as singing and dancing also decrease risks associated with diminished cognitive function. Perhaps there’s a connection between the many social benefits for folks who sing, dance and share? Fellowship fosters strong minds at any age.
If you’ve ever been so deeply moved by a piece of writing that you’ve dreamed of meeting the author to share a piece of your mind; to thank them for writing such poignant, healing, and thought provoking words, you and I are kindred spirits. I can’t count the number of times I’ve read a book and thought, “If I could only tell ______how desperately wrong they were to write such an ending!” I’m not ashamed to admit that I’ve even daydreamed alternative endings to stories that, in my opinion, ended WRONG! Yes, that’s probably going too far. Yet, I don’t think there is a reader out there who hasn’t wanted the chance to meet a writer face to face; to ask the burning question, “Why’d you do it? Why’d you kill off my favorite character that way? How could you!?” So let’s bridge the gap and capture the emotion of a great book and share with one another. Enter: Book Clubs.
Certain books scream book club! Certain themes beg to be discussed and analyzed beyond your own mind. The problem becomes where? The opportunity to speak directly with an author is obviously a long shot. But not impossible. Chatting about a book is easier than ever!
Joining a book club no longer means you need to set aside precious hours and furiously juggle schedules and times to no accord. In fact, it’s just the opposite. Joining an online book club and engrossing in a favorite genre while discussing thought-provoking content can now be yours according to your availability and on your time. Sounds great right? The world of online book clubs is vast. Audiences of all ages and interests can find a place to share great reads and thoughts. For every science-fiction lover, there’s a Tolkien-lover’s book club to suit your fancy. Share, blog, or vlog until your heart’s content; sharpen your mind and slow the decay of cognitive function.
In researching the top ten online book clubs, I was pleasantly surprised to find the number of celebrities who’ve gotten behind the concept. Beyond Oprah (no surprise here since she’s led the online book craze for decades), but rather others like Reese Witherspoon, and Indianapolis Colts’ Quarterback, Andrew Luck, who use their celebrity status to help turn on others to the world of reading; showcasing the power it holds for all generations, both young and old. Andrew Luck, for instance, started both a ‘Rookie Club’ and a ‘Veteran Club.’ Books geared for a younger audience as well as more advanced readers collectively. His site is so endearing. A photo of an NFL football player with disheveled bed-head hair reading on a floor pillow. Who wouldn’t love that? Clever. A famous athlete who endorses avid reading and encourages it on social media; double clever and super cool.
In any event, keeping the mind active and engaged is key. Reading is a suggestion. Plus, it’s fun to share your thoughts; especially with open-minded people. Book clubs provide the flexibility to fit your life. Sure seems like a great place to begin; expand your mind and strengthen your thinking.
Whether you prefer the actual book to be in your hot hands, or you’re a fan of ebooks, audiobooks or the like, I think we can all agree that accessibility isn’t the issue. Book access is literally everywhere. The beautiful part is that most of the time it’s free! Be it printed or digital, no title is ever far from reach with the options provided by most public libraries. The new library is even more in touch with the demands of the 21st century reader. Far from the confines and limitations of the old floor-to-ceiling shelves of books; our own St. Clair County Library System offers hoopla: FREE streaming of audio books, movies, music, ebooks, and more.
“hoopla is a groundbreaking digital media service offered by your local public library that allows you to borrow movies, music, audiobooks, ebooks, comics and TV shows to enjoy on your computer, tablet, or phone – and even your TV! With no waiting, titles can be streamed immediately, or downloaded to phones or tablets for offline enjoyment later. We have hundreds of thousands of titles to choose from, with more being added daily. hoopla is like having your public library at your fingertips. Anytime. Anywhere.” hoopladigital.com
There are so many ways to get your mind in a book. Park your butt in one of those oh-so-comfy chairs at Barnes and Nobles; sip a coffee and dig into a good book. Join an online book club and share your thoughts. Search a local library in-person or online and find a title that suits you. Whatever your preferred method for reading, the benefits for enhancing your cognition are endless.
Parents: summer is coming! The teacher in me begs you to encourage your children to read-a lot! If an NFL quarterback can’t convince your son or daughter to pick up a good title, who can? Seriously, who can? Share your ideas! Let’s be a community who actively engages in all things reading.
Blue Water Healthy Living is joining the online book club nation. Read a good book lately? Share your literary talk back with us! If you’ve ever been so moved by author or book and wanted to share your thoughts and opinions, we want to give you a platform to do so. Click the link below and tell us about it! We want to connect you with others who’ve read and remarked on your favorite titles.
*Information provided by ABCNews.go.com
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