Gift Idea for the Inquisitive, Older Folks on Your List

Do you know any seniors with spry, agile minds who use their natural curiosity to… work the newspaper crossword puzzle every day? My mom is part of a retired bunch who tear into the daily crossword puzzle as if they were contestants on a reality show. It’s nice to see them so excited about their puzzles, but is a crossword a day adequate for staying engaged and learning about the world around you?

This year Mom’s getting Mental Floss, a magazine that bills itself as “where knowledge junkies get their fix.” The material is sort of like a Weekly Reader for grown-ups, with topics that cover art and popular culture to history and science. There is quite a bit of trivia in the magazine, which makes it perfect for readers who like challenging their memory or ability to draw conclusions based on information they already know. Although the articles are educational, they have none of the dreaded textbook feel that is associated with classroom learning, and the droll humor appeals to any age.

A recent edition told the story of how ice came to be commercially produced in the USA. You would think a Southerner recognized the need for ice during an August heatwave (and perhaps many did!) but it was a couple of brothers from Boston who took off with the idea. Now, wouldn’t a story like that make for interesting conversation at the next Bridge Club meeting?

It’s not only the older set who would enjoy the magazine; this is entertaining reading for high schoolers as well. If you have a knowledge junkie on your list, tie up a copy of Mental Floss from the bookstore and let them know you’ve got a whole year coming to them. The trivia they learn might even help them work their crossword.

BirminghamMom Tip: Mental Floss is co-founded by a Hoover native, Will Pearson. Congrats, Will, your BirminghamMom must be proud!