The Sorrow and Joy of the Last Page

The writer and the reader experience the sorrow and joy of the last page. Not in exactly the same way, but pretty close. A good book drives you to that last page then, if you’re like me you sit there, hugging the book and feeling lost. This feeling comes from what psychologist and other scientists call deep reading. Most of us make pictures in our minds. We experience sorrow and joy. Science has shown that our emotional reactions are close to the same emotions as the characters we read about. The deeper, the more intense the reading–the more we exercise our brain. We become more empathetic. There are people who are not natural readers. Shocking, I know. They don’t experience reading in the same way. But, they can improve their reading skills and enjoyment. Parents reading to children is a critical step in helping poor readers learn to enjoy reading more. It’s important to read because reading increases the white matter in our brain. (A brief discussion of the science can be found here.) Reading nonfiction doesn’t do quite the same thing. In studies, reading nonfiction lights different areas of the brain than reading fiction does. Not better areas, different. Our emotions aren’t […]

Quotes in the Spirit of Christmas

My Monday Motivation and Inspiration post today is dedicated to the holiday I celebrate at this time of year. I invite those of you who celebrate other holidays to read these quotes in the spirit of Christmas and feel free to submit quotations about your preferred December holiday in the comments.  Christmas Eve was a night of song that wrapped itself about you like a shawl. But it warmed more than your body. It warmed your heart…filled it, too, with melody that would last forever. –Bess Streeter Aldrich, Song of Years Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the house Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse. –Clement Clark Moore, The Night Before Christmas   It was the beginning of the greatest Christmas ever. Little food. No presents. But there was a snowman in their basement. –Markus Zusak, The Book Thief     One can never have enough socks. Another Christmas has come and gone and I didn’t get a single pair. People will insist on giving me books. –J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone Thousands of lights were burning on the green branches, and gaily-colored pictures, such as she had seen in the shop-windows, looked down upon […]

The Excitement–and the Mess–Build

There’s a lot going on at my house and the excitement—and the mess—build. Soon they will crescendo at nearly the same time. My hubby gets to come home this week and at the end of the week, I will be appearing at the Longview Literary Festival in Lee’s Summit, Missouri. The Festival is free and runs from 10 am to 5 pm, Friday, October 26th. I’d say I’m cleaning house in preparation for hubby coming home but that’s not exactly true. Take a look. Preparations My dining room has been converted to a workshop, staging area, and collections point. I wanted to do a little something special for my sales table at the Festival. And being the overachiever whose OCD kicks in at every opportunity, things got a little out of hand. Yup, those are two of my too-curious-for-their-own-good dogs in the crate in the lower right corner. They caused a couple of paint mishaps that could have been disastrous. Don’t worry. They will only be in there for a few more minutes. The product I’m using to paint the styrofoam head drys quickly. Have I gone overboard? Definitely. Is it worth it? It’s been fun, stressful, and fun. Of […]