(Disclosure: I received a copy of this book for review from Blogging For Books. However I was not compensated for writing a review and as always all opinions are my own.)
Bend Your Brain: 151 Puzzles, Tips, and Tricks to Blow (and Grow) Your Mind (paperback, 192 pages), by Lindsay Gaskins. Four out of five stars.
If you’re looking for something to challenge your mental faculties–during a boring stint in a waiting room, on a rainy day, or to keep you and a partner entertained during a lull in the family festivities this Thanksgiving weekend–then this book is for you. It contains a variety of brain-bending puzzles that range from the visual to the wordy to the numerical, so whether you’re a trivia buff, a dictionary lover or a math nerd, there’s sure to be a puzzle here to entertain you.
The book is the product of the team behind Marbles: The Brain Store and they’ve used neuroscience to craft puzzles covering five categories–visual perception, word skills, critical thinking, coordination, and memory–for a full brain workout. (Think of it as hitting a circuit at the gym rather than sticking to one machine or type of exercise.)
The mix of puzzles is great for that reason, but it can also be challenging if you’re limited in one or more areas. Of course, you might be less limited if you work those areas of the brain, but still–someone who prefers passing leisure time doing crosswords might not appreciate numbers-related puzzle pages, and vice versa. I found the word association puzzles fairly easy but found the other types of puzzles much more challenging.
For that reason, you might have more fun with this book if you do the puzzles with a friend. I found this book more enjoyable when I curled up on the couch with the husband to take a tandem whack at it–for example, one visual/memory puzzle with pictures of famous landmarks was much easier to decode with two heads instead of just one.
This book isn’t really labeled strictly for adults; it would also be great for older kids or teens who needed something to keep them entertained (besides a smartphone) during a long car ride or flight this holiday season. It’s a great way to sneak some learning into a fun activity. I’m not even a “puzzle book person” per se (I’m a New York Times crossword gal) but I still enjoyed it!