If you read a book today, you might be preserving your memory when you are old.  A study from Rush University Medical Center in Chicago found that reading any type of literature works to stimulate the brain and that stimulation will help you with your memory when you are old.

The study also concluded that it helps at any age.  So, reading out loud to the grandchildren can do as much good for you as for them when it comes to preserving your recall later in life.

To that end, here is another list of books that I've finished in the last 30 days or so.  Some are pretty trashy, but some are really good.  If you're looking for a good read, print this list and take it to the library or keep it open while you shop online.  I don't trust you to actually remember the list . . . but probably would after you've read a couple of the titles below:

  • Emma by Jane Austen:  While any Austenite will tell you that Pride and Prejudice is the 'master work' by Austen,Emma has to be a close second.  It is funny and puts on display the cultural bias against strong women during the Austen times.  Instead of being over-the-top with a social critique, this novel uses the heroine to display both the success of independent women and the fall when that independence turns to superiority.  It is one of the books i re-read every few years and will forever.
  • Outlander by Diana GabaldonThis very popular series is being made into a TV series of the same name.  Before you dive into the TV version, it's good to remember why millions of people have loved the original works.  This is the first book in the series and will get you in the mood to see some tartan and heather.  If you are a fan of period romance, Scottish anything or time travel (but in a non geeky sci fi way) check this one out.  It's also a great reminder that there were fantasy books way before our current obsession with Vampires that sparkle in the sun.
  • Better Homes and Hauntings by Molly Harper:  Molly Harper is a fun writer.  She takes the ever-popular ghost, vamp, warewolf genre and makes it fun and funny.  This is total chick lit and I've fallen in love with her writing coupled with Amada Ronconi's voice in the audio book versions.  It won't bring you many life lessons, but it will keep you smiling.
  • The Leftovers by Tom Perrota:  If you've seen the TV show version on HBO, it's pretty damn depressing.  The book isn't that depressing, although it has its moments, and feels much more like it is trying to show how we can survive tragedy rather than how tragedy consumes us.  I was depressed after the first two episodes of the TV show where 2% of earth's population vanished one day and families and communities were left with no answers or means by which to deal with the loss.  I'm not sure if I will finish the TV show -- but I finished the book in a weekend.
  • The Giver by Lois Lowry:  This is another YA (Young Adult) novel and yet another set in the dystopian future.  It seems that we can't get away from depressed teenagers trying to save the future world, but if they have to do it -- this is a good enough book to see how it might work.  The great thing about this book is it isn't a series.  So, one story in one book and you can move on to making sure your future is not all based on the color grey.