Reading Fiction Has Lasting Effects on the Brain


If you ever needed a good reason to join a book club (besides the wine, duh), a new study by Emory University is giving you a great one. It looked at how reading fiction impacts the brain in the long term, rather than just examining how it changes during reading. It found that after reading, study subjects had increased connectivity between the language center of the brain, and the parts of the brain associated with physical sensation and movement, suggesting that by thinking about actions in the book such as swimming, triggered neural responses similar to actually swimming. This is called embodied semantics, and it demonstrates that when you embody characters in your imagination, your mind might also be imitating their actions biologically.

This has been demonstrated while reading in previous studies. When people read words like perfume or coffee, the area of the brain that receives those smells became active. However, this study examined how the brain changes might stick around after reading is complete. It found that the effect remained in the brains of study participants five days after finishing the book, suggesting that reading can impact the brain not just while you’re enjoying that novel, but for the long-term afterwards. If you think of how enriched you feel when you’re tearing through a good book, just imagine those positive effects lasting long after you finished. Seems like an excellent motivation to pick up that bestseller to me!

Like Netflix for Books

oysterI am still an old-fashioned book reader. While I am enticed by the lightness of a Kindle when I am lugging a 500+ pager around in my purse, I am too worried I would crush an e-reader in my bag to make the investment, and I enjoy physical books. However, after the initial investment, the Kindle can be a money-saver for a frequent reader. E-books are typically $5 or so less than the physical book, and you get the bonus of instant gratification without making a trip to the book store. And now, for voracious readers there’s an even more economical option that is designed for iPhones and iPod touch without the e-reader investment: Oyster.

It’s a new service that is similar to Netflix, but for books. Readers join the service via subscription (to the tune of $9.95 a month), and then get unlimited access to 100,000 books. There are editorial staff recommendation, and like Netflix, it will use data gathered from titles you read to create suggestions for the next item to pick up, and like the instant queue, you can create a reading list of what you’re read/want to read next.  Then you can follow your friends to keep up on what they’re reading to inform your choices. Another bonus? If you’re reading the 50 Shades Triology and don’t want anyone to know about it you can use privacy mode to hide your selections. Or, if you’re looking for a specific chapter or recipe from a book, you don’t have to spring for the whole shebang. Check it out here, and with what I’m guessing they are going for with their brand name, the reading world is your Oyster.


linksHi everyone! I’ve been busy going to the beach, seeing a battle of the bands, and boating around Lake George then attending a motorcycle rally. What fun! Here’s the links I’ve clicked in between.
Just another reason to dislike Fox News –they’re hating on female breadwinners.
Oprah’s advice never gets old. Here’s some gems from her Harvard commencement speech.
Who knew that Kmart sponsored so many hilarious celebrity lines? Leopard print shapewear?
Will Smith and his family, saving the world time and time again.
Crafts are for more than just DIY. How handmade can help develeping areas.
If this rain and gale-force winds are getting you down, here are 16 quotes to brighten your day!
A must read for wedding season! How to pull off a top notch toast.
I want one of these at my next house party.
There is a new, healthier chip in town. The chick pea chip!
In case you need vacation ideas, 20 ultimate bucket list experiences.
I ice cream sandwiches made with french toast cookies?I need to get to Smush immediately.
Ok, so this place is defnitely not for the squeamish, anti-gun campaigners or animal lovers, but after hearing about Joe’s Bar from a friend, it might have to be an oddity on my next road trip through Pennsylvania.
Turns out that smarter people tend to drink more (but you knew that already you smarty pants, right?)
Things have really changed for women in 50 years. Answering a letter to Harvard.
What have you read recently that caught your eye?