reading novels is good for your brain

Reading novels is good for the brains of old people, according to a recent New York Times story headlined “A Neurologist’s Tips to Protect Your Memory”:

One early indicator of memory issues, according to Dr. Restak, is giving up on fiction. “People, when they begin to have memory difficulties, tend to switch to reading nonfiction,” he said.

Over his decades of treating patients, Dr. Restak has noticed that fiction requires active engagement with the text, starting at the beginning and working through to the end. “You have to remember what the character did on Page 3 by the time you get to Page 11,” he said.

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What I’m working on now

I’m creating new ebook versions of my first three novels, which, for a while, have been available only as out-of-print traditionally published hardbacks. (For more info on those novels, click on the Books tab.) Another interesting creative exercise … I sent three hardbacks to a woman in Oregon, who tore them apart and fed the pages into a scanner, and then she sent me a PDF and a Word doc of each novel’s text. Now I’m proofreading the text, comparing the scans to the original novels and correcting mistakes in the scans’ optical character recognition. I’ll let you know when the ebooks are available.

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problems with crime-related DNA evidence

New problems in analyzing crime-related DNA in Colorado resemble the wrongful conviction of a main character in my Montana Blues novel, as the Denver Post reports:

The Colorado Bureau of Investigation is moving to retest DNA samples in thousands of criminal cases and expects to spend at least $7.5 million to remedy problems discovered in one longtime employee’s lab work, according to a state budget request.

Officials discovered “anomalies” in the DNA testing work of Yvonne “Missy” Woods last year and started both internal and criminal investigations into Woods. She worked for the CBI for 29 years and left before the agency publicly announced the anomalies in November.

About 3,000 DNA samples need to be retested by a third-party laboratory, CBI officials estimated in a January budget request. That will cost roughly $3 million. Additionally, the agency asked for $4.4 million to pay out to district attorney’s offices across Colorado to address claims by people who say they were wrongly convicted of crimes because of Woods’ work.

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More montana racism echoes my novel

Here’s an update on White supremacism in Montana, reported by the Montana Free Press and the Montana Daily, along the lines of my new novel:

Big Sky Active Club, the group linked to the racist stickers applied to various sites at Montana State University in Bozeman, “has repeatedly appeared in news stories about white nationalist activity in Montana over the past year. Big Sky Active Club reportedly took credit last March for etching Nazi symbols at the Four Dances Special Recreation Management Area near Billings, which is managed by the Bureau of Land Management and named for a prominent Crow leader. Months later, residents of more than a dozen homes in Miles City reported receiving CDs in the mail containing audio and music files supporting the neo-Nazi movement.”

The Montana Free Press story continues: “In October, a peaceful rally outside the Missoula County Courthouse in support of Palestine was disrupted by a group of masked protesters carrying signs with neo-Nazi slogans, one of whom was arrested and cited for disorderly conduct. White supremacist activity was reported that same day outside Missoula’s Har Shalom synagogue …

“A ‘demonstration report’ posted online by White Lives Matter Montana last October listed five regional groups, including Big Sky Active Group, as participating in the demonstrations outside the Missoula courthouse and Har Shalom.

“Last month, the Great Falls Public Library learned that neo-Nazi propaganda stickers had been inserted into numerous books in its collection.”

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