Albert Camus

Don't walk behind me; I may not lead. Don't walk in front of me; I may not follow. Just walk beside me and be my friend.

Monday, September 25, 2017

Who would give her such a gift? - The Date Before Christmas: A Novel by Elyse Douglas

The days and nights are magical and she finds herself falling in love with the alluring, enigmatic man who, she believes, is also falling in love with her.


Published: September 13th, 2017

Like any other waitress, Dina Lee has big dreams. She wants a new life, a better life—she wants romantic adventure, especially since her last two relationships were disasters.

When, out of the blue, she receives an anonymous gift to travel first class to three of the most exciting and exotic cities in the world during the Christmas season, she is stunned, conflicted and skeptical.

Who would give her such a gift? What would they want in return? Is it too good to be true?

Dina is assured by her benefactor’s representative that it is indeed true, and that Dina’s anonymous patron wants nothing from Dina in return. Dina’s best friend finally convinces her to accept the gift, and Dina is soon on her way to Paris, Rome and New York. Her adventures are far beyond what she could have ever imagined—beyond her wildest dreams. On one of her first exhilarating days, she has an unexpected encounter with a handsome mystery man.

The days and nights are magical and she finds herself falling in love with the alluring, enigmatic man who, she believes, is also falling in love with her.

Will Dina learn who her mystery benefactor is? Can the love she feels for the illusive man continue after she returns home—when her Cinderella moment is over? And will Dina give the miracle of love a chance when she learns the truth?

What Happens to Your Brain When You Read?
(or Listen to an Audiobook?) 

As a writer, I love to read—fiction, nonfiction, blogs, the back of cereal boxes and, of course, the liner notes on those old vinyl record albums. I also download audiobooks, because sometimes at night, I’m tired and I want to rest my eyes and let someone else read to me. It’s comforting and it’s relaxing. The other night I had a thought: What happens to my brain when I read or when I listen to an audiobook? 

Here are some of the things I learned: 

1. Your brain adapts to reading e-books in seven days (it’s called spatial navigability) 
2. The act of listening to a story can light up your brain 
3. Reading changes your brain structure (in a good way) 
4. Different styles of reading create different patterns in the brain 
5. New languages can grow your brain 
6. Story structure encourages your brain to think in sequence, expanding your attention span 
7. Deep reading makes you more empathetic 
8.According to researcher Jeremy Hsu, “Personal stories and gossip make up 65% of our conversations.” 

According to the OEBD Open Education Database, when we read, we make photos in our minds, even without being prompted. Reading books and other materials with rich imagery lets us create worlds in our own minds. Researchers have found that visual imagery is automatic. When we read a sentence, we automatically bring up pictures of objects in our minds. 

Reading about an experience is almost the same as living it. Have you ever felt so completely connected to a story that it’s as if you experienced it in real life? 

According to experts, when we read, the brain does not make a real distinction between reading about an experience and actually living it. The same neurological regions are stimulated. Reading is the original virtual reality experience, at least for our brains. 

Most any kind of reading provides stimulation for your brain, but different types of reading give different experiences with varying benefits. Researchers from Stanford University have found that close literary reading gives your brain a workout in multiple complex cognitive functions. Pleasure reading increases blood flow to different areas of the brain. 

Okay, so what about audiobooks? Researchers have also found that the spoken word lights up our sensory cortex and puts our brains to work, in a good way. When we’re told a story, not only are language processing parts of our brain activated, experiential parts of our brain come alive, too. 

Finally, story structure encourages our brains to think in sequence, expanding our attention spans. Stories have a beginning, middle, and end, and that’s a good thing for your brain. With this structure, our brains are encouraged to think in sequence, linking cause and effect. 

Neuroscientists encourage parents to read to their kids as much as possible. They say you will be instilling story structure in their young minds, while their brain develops flexibility and a longer attention span. So, it’s okay to listen to your coworkers’ endless stories about their vacations, to tune in to talk radio if you dare, and to listen to an audiobook in your car: it’s all good exercise for your brain.
About the Author(s)
Elyse Douglas is the pen name for the husband and wife writing team of Elyse Parmentier and Douglas Pennington. Elyse began writing poems and short stories at an early age, and graduated with a degree in English Literature. Douglas grew up in a family of musicians, astrologers and avid readers, and attended the Cincinnati Conservatory of Music, playing piano professionally for 15 years. His great grandfather lived to be a 134 years old, and was the oldest man in the world when he died in 1922. Their cat, Sir Eaton, loves parties and a few sips from a good glass of Pinot Noir.

Some of Elyse Douglas’ novels include: The Other Side of Summer, “The Christmas Eve Letter,” “The Christmas Town,” The Christmas Diary,” “The Summer Letters.” They live in New York City.

1 comment:

Unknown said...

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