March 27, 2017
Blue Mind Global Book Club Culminates with Local Event
By JOY CRIST
March 25, author Dr. Wallace "J." Nichols joined a group of roughly 50
island residents and visitors to celebrate the culmination of a global
community read of his bestselling book, “Blue Mind: The Surprising
Science That Shows How Being Near, In, On, or Under Water Can Make You
Happier, Healthier, More Connected, and Better at What You Do.”
multi-week event, which began on January 16, was the brainchild of
Buxton Village Books owner Gee Gee Rosell, who has orchestrated
community reads as a way to promote our local Radio Hatteras – a
FEMA-funded station that has proven essential during hurricanes, and
which provides important information on local happenings (as well as
through community reads, Rosell chooses an island-appropriate book
which is then shared via broadcasts on Radio Hatteras 101.5 / 99.9, as
well as other potential media outlets.
this one, I walked past Nichols’ book ‘Blue Mind’, and it just kind of
jumped out at me,” said Rosell in an earlier interview. “I love that
book. I’ve been selling it [as a] hardcover since 2014, and I’ve sold
hundreds of copies.”
And clearly, the public loves it too.
the roughly 70 day read, which featured Monday through Friday evening
book readings on Radio Hatteras as well as annotations and supporting
commentary by Nichols on Facebook, the original weekly event turned
into a daily collaboration, as thousands of people joined in the
virtual book club.
had 50,000 views at one point, and 1,000 people participating daily,”
said Nichols. “So while it was intended to be weekly, it turned into a
addition to the global online participants – which included readers
from California, Denmark, Alberta, Canada, and even Duck, NC, several
visitors made a long trek to Hatteras Island to attend the “live”
finale and fundraiser, which was held at the Avon Fire Station.
Emerson and her friend Barbara, who are both from Florida, met through
the online book club, and actually made a 989-mile drive from their
home in Florida to meet in Avon for the finale. “We come from two
different coastal areas, but ‘Blue Mind’ has brought us all together,”
said Emerson of the Florida-based nonprofit Beach Guardians Atlantic
Coasts/ Wild Blue Sea. “I’m a 35-year ocean professional, and ‘Blue
Mind’ spoke to me… We were excited and happy to drive all the way here
for this [event.]”
the majority of the book club up to this point had been in a virtual
sphere – with live Facebook videos, streaming reads on Radio Hatteras’
website, and online book sales literally causing the publisher to run
out of copies and print a second edition – Saturday evening’s event
felt more like an actual book club, with added benefits.
the Saturday evening gathering, both locals and visitors wined, dined,
and mingled before the presentation and Q&A with Nichols, who made
an island expedition from his home in California to attend the local
“Surf Swim” and “Relax” brand wines were served in glasses provided by
Ocean Atlantic Rentals – (no plastic in sight to keep in line with the
book’s philosophy) – and exceptional coastal hors d'oeuvres such as red
pepper and spinach crab quiches were provided by Dee Callahan Caterer.
folks also took the pre-presentation festivities as an opportunity to
purchase their own copy of “Blue Mind,” with all proceeds of the event
split 50/50 to benefit both Radio Hatteras and Blue Mind Life.
very excited about this evening, and with highlighting ‘Blue Mind’ down
the road,” said Natasha Quidley, Director of Lodging and Marketing for
the Inn on Pamlico Sound, which donated accommodations for Nichols.
“We’re starting a pilot program to have copies of ‘Blue Mind’ available
at each of our rooms at the Inn, so that visitors can read it while
they’re staying with us, and if they choose, can purchase a copy to
take home, with [all proceeds] going to Radio Hatteras.”
from all over the world have clearly been drawn to the book, which
focuses on the science behind our inherent attraction to the water. “It
takes the science of the neurological response of a human to water, and
makes it accessible...” said Rosell in an earlier interview. “At any
given page you’ll say ‘oh, I knew that!’ because you know that your
blood pressure goes down, your heart rate goes down, and the answers
you were mulling over for a life-changing situation become more
available to you when you walk on the beach, or put your kayak in the
water and go for a paddle…”
while the recent “community read” attracted fans from all around the
globe throughout its run, it made sense to celebrate the virtual book
club finale on Hatteras Island.
After all, the book begins with the following line:
“I’m standing on a pier at the Outer Banks of North Carolina, fifty feet above the Atlantic…”
as many fans of the book already know, Nichols is no stranger to the
area. Despite being a current California resident, he visited the Outer
Banks as much as possible while a graduate student at Duke University,
held the second annual Blue Mind Summit on the Outer Banks, and hopes
to return with his daughter in the future to walk the length of the OBX
coastline – an ambitious undertaking, to be sure.
came out here whenever I could,” he said. “The kayaking, surfing,
beaches – everything here was definitely a part of my formative love of
shared his appreciation of the Outer Banks with both his live and
virtual audience during the evening’s presentation, noting how the
Outer Banks specifically ties in with the concept of “Blue Mind” as
well as his upcoming book, “Go Deeper: The Seven Ages of Water.”
as the presentation progressed, and Nichols utilized the Outer Banks as
a prime example of the allure of the water, the crowd at the Avon Fire
Station continually nodded in agreement.
had a lot of people from all over the world who have said that here –
the Outer Banks – is ‘their water’, and they can’t wait to get back,”
said Nichols during the presentation. “…This is the School of Awe – the
School of Wonder – for people who visit, and for people who live here
the event is wrapping up, (with the Saturday evening finale marking the
69th day of the community read), the Blue Mind movement continues, and
people who missed out on the online book club while it was ongoing
still have ample chances to catch up.
Village Books will continue to carry the nationally acclaimed book, and
folks can still catch archived segments of the corresponding commentary
on Facebook, to enjoy a little extra annotation to an already
engrossing read. “’Blue Mind’ is one of our bestsellers, partially
because I loved it and told people ‘if you haven’t read this yet, you
should,’” said Rosell. “For [the community read], we have had more and
more folks hopping on every night, so if you have missed something,
it’s easy to catch up. You can even go back and listen to every
for many people at Saturday’s event, that’s exactly what they intend to
do – even if they’ve already read the book once, twice, or a dozen
the kind of book where you can just pick a place, start reading, and
learn something, or be inspired,” said one attendee. “And it’s perfect
for here. It’s the definition of a ‘beach read.’”
host of local businesses came together through donations and assistance
to make Saturday evening’s event a success, which included Buxton
Village Books, Don and Catharine Bryan Cultural Series, Cape Hatteras
Bed and Breakfast, Inn on Pamlico Sound, Ocean Atlantic Rentals, Lee
Robinson General Store, Dee Callahan Caterer, Hope Spot Hatteras, and
the Avon Fire Department, which provided the space.
of course, the presence of the author himself – Dr. Wallace "J." Nichols
– certainly didn’t hurt in fueling excitement for an exceptional
community read that benefited two especially worthy causes: our local
Radio Hatteras, and Blue Mind Life.
started as a conversation, and we used free technology to expand this
communication from right here [on Hatteras Island],” said Nichols.
“This whole thing has been an experiment, and today is the final day of
the experiment… but [we’re all] sharing our love and passion of the
How to Join the Conversation:
of Blue Mind are still available at Buxton Village Books. You can also
visit the “Dr. Wallace 'J.' Nichols: Changing conversations for good”
Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/wallacejnichols/?hc_ref=PAGES_TIMELINE to see the video from Saturday night’s event, as well as previous Facebook live broadcasts.