How to increase your brain power. Pick up a book from the 50-state book tour

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Exercising your brain will help keep you sharp even into old age. Paul Heavenridge’s Literary Works article reviews why reading keeps your brain sharp. And Sadie Trampette’s article will prompt you to increase your brain power by giving it a reading workout every day.




To help you exercise your brain join along on the 50-state book tour.

What you can see and read in the following states.


What’s unique about this state?

  • In 1963 the University of Mississippi Medical Center accomplished the world’s first human lung transplant, and, on January 23, 1964, Dr. James D. Hardy performed the world’s first heart transplant surgery.
  • Borden’s Condensed Milk was first canned in Liberty.
  • In 1902 while on a hunting expedition in Sharkey County, President Theodore (Teddy) Roosevelt refused to shoot a captured bear. This act resulted in the creation of the world-famous teddy bear.

Mississippi best read is The Sound and the Fury by William Faulkner

The Sound and the Fury, first published in 1929, is perhaps William Faulkner’s greatest book. It was immediately praised for its innovative narrative technique, and comparisons were made with Joyce and Dostoyevsky, but it did not receive popular acclaim until the late forties, shortly before Faulkner received the Nobel Prize for Literature.


What’s unique about this state?

  • Missouri is known as the “Show Me State”.
  • The ‘Show Me State’ expression may have begun in 1899 when Congressman Willard Duncan Vandiver stated, “I’m from Missouri and you’ve got to show me.”
  • The first successful parachute jumps to be made from a moving airplane was made by Captain Berry at St. Louis, in 1912.

Missouri best read is The adventure of Tom Sawyer by Mark Twain

On the banks of the Mississippi River, Tom Sawyer and his friends seek out adventure at every turn. Then one fateful night in the graveyard they witness a murder. The boys make a blood oath never to reveal the secret, and they run away to be pirates in search of hidden treasure.


What’s unique about this state?

  • Montana has the largest migratory elk herd in the nation.
  • The state boasts the largest breeding population of trumpeter swans in the lower United States.
  • At the Rocky Mountain Front Eagle Migration Area west of Great Falls more golden eagles have been seen in a single day than anywhere else in the country.

Montana’s best read is A River Runs through it and Other Stories by Norman Maclean

When Norman Maclean sent the manuscript of A River Runs through It and Other Stories to New York publishers, he received a slew of rejections. One editor, so the story goes, replied, “it has trees in it.” Forty years later, the title novella is recognized as one of the great American tales of the twentieth century, and Maclean as one of the most beloved writers of our time. The finely distilled product of a long life of often surprising rapture—for fly-fishing, for the woods, for the interlocked beauty of life and art—A River Runs through It has established itself as a classic of the American West. This new edition will introduce a fresh audience to Maclean’s beautiful prose and understated emotional insights


What’s unique about this state?

  • Nebraska was once called “The Great American Desert”.
  • In 1927, Edwin E. Perkins of Hastings invented the powered soft drink Kool-Aid.
  • Sterling Morton founded Arbor Day in Nebraska City in 1872.

Nebraska’s best read is My Antonia by Willa Cather

My Ántonia was enthusiastically received in 1918 when it was first published. It was considered a masterpiece and placed Cather at the forefront of women novelists. Today, it is considered her first masterpiece. Cather was praised for bringing the American West to life and making it personally interesting. It brought place forward almost as if it were one of the characters, while at the same time playing upon the universality of the emotions, which in turn promoted regional American literature as a valid part of mainstream literature.

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Judy Kundert

Judy Kundert, a recipient of the Marquis Who’s Who Excellence in Authorship award, loves storytelling, from folk and fairy tales to classics for elementary school children. She authors award-winning middle-grade novels designed to inspire and intrigue children. After she left her career as a United Airlines stewardess, she earned a Bachelor of Arts degree from Loyola University, Chicago and a Master of Arts from DePaul University, Chicago. Most recently, she completed a master’s Certificate in Public Relations and Marketing from the University of Denver. For fun, she likes reading (usually three or four books at a time), watching movies from the oldies to the current films, traveling, biking, and hiking in vast Colorado outdoors with her husband. Learn more at can find me at the foot of the Colorado Rocky Mountains hiking, biking

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