Need more evidence that our superficial skim-and-go world is bad for your brain? Look no further than this 2012 study on the impact of reading on the brain, published in the World of Psychology. Read the story by clicking here.

It’s short. I’ll wait.

What really intrigued me about this branch of literary neuroscience is the specific investigation of the cadence of poetry and literary metaphor and how they fire the whole brain, versus the rapid-fire categorize-and-move-on approach of the online world.

I worry about my skull full of mush, when I read articles like this one.

When I dismiss something with a cursory glance, am I missing out on an adventure? A life-altering experience? A meaningful friendship? I mean, I know our world moves fastfastfast, but is it fair to categorize a thing within a millisecond and either accept it or write it off? Am I a better person because I do that?

Or a lesser one?

I hope my 444-mile walk changed me in multiple ways. In how I see and accept others. In the limits I place on myself. But especially, in how and why I choose to read a thing. Because, whether I like something or hate it, I always find growth from the process of exposing myself to something else. Something other. Something new.

moonriseMoonrise
by Cassandra King (Goodreads Author)

My rating: 5 out of 5 stars

3.4 of 5 stars 3.40 · rating details · 403 ratings · 102 reviews

When Helen Honeycutt falls in love with Emmet Justice, a charismatic television journalist who has recently lost his wife in a tragic accident, their sudden marriage creates a rift between her new husband and his oldest friends, who resent Helen’s intrusion into their tightly knit circle. Hoping to mend fences, the newlyweds join the group for a summer at his late wife’s family home in the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains. Helen soon falls under the spell not only of the little mountain town and its inhabitants, but also of Moonrise, her predecessor’s Victorian mansion, named for its unique but now sadly neglected nocturnal gardens. But the harder Helen tries to fit in, the more obvious it is that she will never measure up to the woman she replaced.
Someone is clearly determined to drive her away, but who wants her gone, and why? As Emmet grows more remote, Helen reaches out to the others in the group, only to find that she can’t trust anyone. When she stumbles on the secret behind her predecessor’s untimely death, Helen must decide if she can ever trust—or love—again.

I tend to avoid Writers Based in the South Carolina Lowcountry. Not because they aren’t talented people or amazing storytellers. I’ve just lived in that place a very long time. I tend to get distracted by the rabbit trails of my own imagination and don’t feel like I’m fair to the writer and how they saw the place in their own minds.

But I’ve always admired Cassandra King.

Because Daphne du Maurier’s Rebecca is one of my favorite all-time books, I couldn’t resist Cassandra King’s Moonrise (get the book by clicking here.) Even though she had a perilous path to climb in my own mind.

For several years, I was lucky to have access to a place near Highlands, North Carolina, where the novel is set. I spent some of the happiest moments of my life wandering its mountain paths, justifying my own trips to the Old Edwards Spa, meeting strange naked men at waterfalls (TOTALLY RANDOM AND NOT PLANNED AND NOT SEXUAL), and watching the pinpricks of blood pool on my arms as I picked pounds and pounds of wild blackberries.

I was destined to love this book. And I was so glad I did. I could see the Highlands version of Manderley, perched on a hill above a very familiar lake. I heard water spill over the Cullasaja dam and watched it race through rocks on its trek to the Ohio River. The scent of memory filled my nostrils as I browsed the Old Edwards Spa shop for things I couldn’t afford.

I ached to visit Highlands again. Maybe it was because my feet hurt.

But I think it was due to the talent of the writer.

Have you read a great book lately, one that lived up to every single thing you imagined? Please let us know about it in the comments today.

The FIVE STAR reviews keep rolling in. To Live Forever: An Afterlife Journey of Meriwether Lewis is available in paperback and e-book formats at these outlets: Click to Purchase To Live Forever.

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