6 Books Better Than Your Favorite TV Shows

What makes your favorite TV show so great? Is it the plot that hooks you in from beginning to end? Or the drama, filled with twists, turns and surprises crammed into a suspenseful hour-long primetime slot?

A great mystery or thriller book does just the same – without the one-hour time limit! If you’re looking for suspenseful new reads, check out the titles below. All of them have similar themes to popular shows, helping readers enjoy the action long after they turn the TV off.

NCIS

Every Tuesday evening, a team of special agents from the Naval Criminal Investigative service – or NCIS – solves crimes in the U.S. Navy and Marine Corps. The CBS show is one of America’s most widely watched TV series, and if you enjoy it as much as the rest of the nation, you’ll also love Kind of Blue by Miles Corwin. In this crime thriller, Lt. Frank Duffy investigates an ex-cop’s murder and attempts to solve a crime that still haunts his past.

Rizzoli & Isles

The TNT series Rizzoli & Isles, featuring police detective Jane Rizzoli and medical examiner Dr. Maura Isles, was actually inspired by Tess Gerritsen’s Rizzoli & Isles novels. If you like those books and the television show, you should also check out The House at Sea’s End by Elly Griffiths. The book follows Ruth, a forensic archaeologist who investigates a complex World War II mystery that just surfaced – while also juggling motherhood.

Person of Interest

In the hit CBS show Person of Interest, an ex-CIA officer is tasked with using government surveillance to stop crime before it happens in New York City. Similarly, in Russell Blake’s Silver Justice, FBI Special Agent Silver Cassidy must stop a Manhattan murderer before he can kill again.

The Bridge

The Bridge is an FX series that portrays Mexican and American law enforcement attempting to apprehend a murderer on the U.S.-Mexico border. In the fast-paced thriller The Devil’s Bounty by Sean Black, a former military bodyguard must track down a playboy criminal in Mexico.

Hawaii Five-0

This remake of the classic 1970s American television series Hawaii Five-0 proves that crime can happen in even the most idyllic locations. Along those same lines, in Torch Ginger by Toby Neal, Detective Lei Texeira investigates mysterious disappearances on the remote island of Kaua’i.

Elementary

Based on Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s iconic Sherlock Holmes character, Elementary promises a modern-day spin on the classic novels. If you can’t get enough Sherlock Holmes, you’ll also enjoy The Sherlockian by Graham Moore. In this acclaimed New York Times-bestselling mystery, Arthur Conan Doyle and a modern-day Sherlock Holmes fan each confront a grisly murder.

For fans of TV shows like the ones listed above, these books can provide some excellent alternative entertainment.

5 Ways Reading Improves Your Health

health_final_200Book lovers know there’s no feeling like getting lost in a great book. Page after page seems to fly by as you get more and more entrenched in the plot and character development. It’s almost as if you’re in the scenes and participating in the outcome. What you may not realize, however, is this activity is not only fun, but also great for your health! Check out these five surprising health benefits of reading.

1) Reduced Stress

When you get caught up in a great book and all your thoughts are consumed by the plot and characters, it seems like your everyday worries and stresses disappear. Not only does it seem that way, but it’s actually a proven fact! This 2009 study proves that reading for only six minutes can reduce stress by 68 percent, as well as slow your heart rate and minimize muscle tension. After a stressful day at work, instead of turning on the television, crack open a great book or fire up the Kindle in order to relax.

2) Improved Memory

Ok, maybe this one isn’t too surprising. Just like your muscles, your brain loves a good workout too. Reading regularly exercises your noggin, and all those synapses firing can actually improve your memory. In addition, a recent study showed that elderly people who read regularly are 2.5 times less likely to get Alzheimer’s disease.

3) Younger Brain

Of course we can’t stop the aging process (as much as we’d like to), but reading can help slow it down. This study showed that reading can significantly reduce your rate of cognitive decline. So curl up with a good book each night if you want to keep that brain young and spry.

4) Increased Empathy

Who knew that reading books could make you a nicer person? Apparently getting emotionally absorbed in a book carries over into real life. This study found that people who regularly immerse themselves in fictional stories are more empathetic. Even though the characters are fictional, relating to their situations causes us to be more open to real people in our lives.

5) Increased Tolerance for Uncertainty

Let’s be honest, all of us have struggled with ambiguity or lack of control in personal situations in the past. It can be stressful not knowing the future. Surprisingly, one easy way to cope is to read more. One study showed that reading fiction can cause an increase in tolerance for uncertainty. As people dive deeper and deeper into fictional stories and characters, their minds actually open up, and they become more comfortable with possibilities, options, and uncertainty.

Everyone knows reading is fun, but the benefits outlined above can really improve your health and life. If you’re reading a lot already, good for you! And if you’re not, try to find more time to read if you can. One thing you’ll need for sure is…LOTS OF BOOKS!