Is reading considered a hobby?

Tell me something.

Please, leave a comment and help me with this question.

Is reading a hobby?

I don’t sing, play a musical instrument, paint, quilt, sew, weaver, or dance. I don’t brew beer, make wine, cross stitch, or collect stamps.

But I do read. And I love to read. And I love to discuss good books. And I love to discuss the books I hate.

But it seems so passive.

The Rent Collector by Cameron WrightSomeone else did all the work. They put their butts in the chair and let the words flow. And on the days when the words didn’t flow, they still put their butts in the chair anyhow. Authors work hard. They show up. They put their butts in the chair on a regular basis. They edit, rewrite and when they are finally done – they promote their final product. They attend book signings, they Facebook. They Instagram. They blog. They write newsletters.

And I — get to read the final product. Is that considered a hobby?

I hope so because I spend quite a bit of time reading. I either have a book or an audiobook on hand at all times. Is reading an actual hobby?

I will happily let a good book consume me. And then there are the books that I adore so much that I find myself slowing down so I can prolong the story and hold off finding out the ending.

And for the books I don’t like. I set aside. I return to the library. I give away. I don’t have time for them. I wouldn’t watch a movie for an hour if I didn’t like it. No thank you very much. No reason to feel bad about it either.

I just finished rereading a book titled The Rent Collector. I loved it the first time and I loved it again.

The Rent Collector by Cameron Wright is a story about life in the municipal waste dump in Cambodia. Its an odd place. It’s an odd setting and it’s pretty powerful. It’s a story within a story. It’s about reaching down and pulling another up. Its about noticing something bigger and ASKING for help. It’s about the power of education. It really touched me both times that I read it. And, for the record, I rarely EVER read a book twice,

I don’t have the heart to dissect it as many good readers and editors might. I just embraced it and let it sit with me for a long time.

I feel honored when I read books that touch my soul like this one did. Perhaps I am too easily led by plot, however, in this case, I was ready to follow.

This Tender Land by William Kent KruegerMy other recent book that took me on a sweet journey was titled, This Tender Land by William Kent Krueger. It was a journey of abused kids running for their lives. It was a story of how they grew with each stop along the way. I was reminded of ‘Oh Brother Where Art Thou’ movie and the Odyssey and several others and yet, I willingly followed.

During my walk today I finished listening to Two by Two by Nicholas Sparks. I felt pretty disgusted with myself for downloading this audiobook. It was so scripted like a Hallmark movie and I resented the time I took away from my life to listen to it. Instead of closing the book and setting it aside (it was an audiobook after all) I just kept forwarding it at 30 second intervals. The main character was such a tool I wanted to stomp him into the dirt. I guess I was also upset that there seems to be too many words dragging down the story. I spent lots of time hitting the fast-forward button and probably missed some important stuff. But then, isn’t my time important too? Right? So, some good books crossed my path and some less memorable ones this past month.

And now I ask you again. What do you think? Is reading a hobby? I would truly love your thoughts and feedback.

Back to you. What are your thoughts? Many thanks for sharing!

Blogs and other resources:

 

 

Time keeps on slipping…

Yes, time keeps on slipping, slipping, slipping into the future as Steve Miller so eloquently sings to us. Here it is … three days into February, 2019 and I feel a bit overwhelmed with the loss of time. In an article by Matthew Jones, he listed 20 brutal truths about life that no one wants to admit.  The subtitle  “Time is your most valuable asset — you need to prioritize how you spend it…” actually kept my eyes on the article.   How we embrace the now is what really matters.  Living in the past, focusing on the future sucks away from the TODAY that we receive every morning. 

As a kid, those things that excited me like Christmas, school vacation, the local amusement park, and swimming at Verona Beach and Schiller Park took  FOREVER to arrive, it seemed. 

As an adult, there have only been a handful of times when time ticked by slowly… waiting for medical results, sitting on the tarmac, being stuck in traffic, waiting for an important phone call, trying to fall asleep.

Time also crawls by during the holidays for me. It’s not like when I was a kid and couldn’t wait for everything to unfold. Instead, I dread the hype and promotion and expectation of something wonderful. The thing is…when there is no one to share those moments with, the days creep by. It doesn’t help that holiday movies allude to happy endings, Santa visits, things working out well and mistletoe kisses – alone is just what it means sometimes.

There was great joy in 2018 and lots of sadness.  My brother Mark died and his funeral was so, so sad.  I spiraled into a hole of sadness, anger and isolation. After seeing that my siblings were in the same spot, we reached out to pull each other out of that dark space. A year has passed and we are still holding each other up.

So, in saying adieu to 2018, I find myself keeping busy with friends, volunteering, life long learning,  listening to amazing podcasts, working out and alas, writing again in my blog. 

I love when I read something that directs me to another site, another book, a movie, dvd or something that continues to open mental doors for me. I read a book called The White Darkness by David Grann.  The book told the true story about Henry Worsley who “spent his life idolizing Ernest Shackleton, the nineteenth-century polar explorer, who tried to become the first person to reach the South Pole, and later sought to cross Antarctica on foot. Shackleton never completed his journeys, but he repeatedly rescued his men from certain death, and emerged as one of the greatest leaders in history.” (From Good Reads summary)

That book led me to a PBS video series about the ship and journey called Shackleton’s Voyage of Endurance. Which led me to another book called Trial by Ice: A Photobiography of Sir Ernest Shackleton.

I want to do that more often – follow up one book with several other mediums to help me learn more and remember. 

I’ve gone exploring in the area of podcasts too. I’ll share more on that in the next post.

For now, I’m off to run some errands and volunteer at my grandson’s school. I learned that if I volunteer in the library, I go unnoticed but I can observe my grandson’s friends, interactions, and see him through another lens. And, of course, I get to check in books, check books out, sort, shelf and visit with the school librarian.

So, until we meet again… I hope your time is well spent and well-lived. I love hearing how others spend their days. Mine seem to fly by (except for those nasty holidays…) and it’s only by looking at my calendar that I can remember what occurred.


Related articles & sites:

The White Darkness 
20 Brutal Truths About Life No One Wants to Admit

 

 

Books, Presentations, & Windows 10 stuff

What else have I learned you ask?

Day 5 –  I learned that several people can read the same book and have such different opinions about it. The book in particular is The Heart Goes Last by Margaret Atwood. Some readers felt so creeped out by it they put it aside with no desire to finish it. Others got past the creep factor and made it to the last page. Others, yes, I am one of those others – actually got into the book and enjoyed the way it unfolded. At first the story line was disturbing but by sticking with it, I was able to enjoy the ride.

I have often been the person who was totally turned off by books that my friends enjoyed. They loved the plot, they loved the characters – whereas I was visibly upset by the story or unhappy with the characters.

It’s amazing how the same words can affect people so differently. Perhaps it’s because of the qualities of each unique self and what they bring to the table. Perhaps it’s just an ‘in the moment’ kind of attitude.  There are some books that I’ve read years ago that can make me angry, sad or squirm when I think of them today. Others make me want to reread them and get that glow or rush or inspiration. And yet, when I read books now they often have a different flavor from when I last read them. I’ve grown and changed over time and my attitude about subject matter changes with me.

Day 6 –  I learned not to trust the Ms Windows 10 upgrade. It was a really bad idea. The keyboard stopped working. My tracking stopped working. Browser tabs froze or closed. There was no way to fix it so I went online to see if others had this issue as well. Oh my!

There were TONS of pages of people with the same issue. I figured out that I had to uninstall and return to Windows 8. Sigh …LEARN FROM ME, stay far away from Windows 10 if you can help it! Ugh!

Day 7 – I attended a Rotary assembly today and listened to the Keynote Nurse Kelly speaks at Rotary Assembly in Cheyenne, WYSpeaker, Miss Colorado Kelly Johnson. I learned that she altered the culture of the Miss America contest by using her nursing talent as her ‘talent.’ She created a monologue about a nurse/ patient conversation and shined the spotlight on her profession.  Afterwards when her ‘talent’ was mocked, nurses across the nation stood up with united voices and fired back. In my opinion, nurses are the force that get us well again, not doctors. See the interview on youtube.com
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nYoCW1DQWQE

My friend Cee is a nurse and she told me if I ever hear a nurse say these words, “… you know, it might be a good idea to get a second opinion” then you turn and RUN out the door as fast as possible. Those ‘code words’ are insider knowledge about the doctor. Nurses KNOW things they could never tell the public. However, they are also there to serve you. Heed their casual suggestion.

Well, it’s been a week – are we having fun yet? I know I am. See you again on Thursday!

Related:

Tiny Beautiful Things: Advice on Love and Life from Dear Sugar

Book Review | Tiny Beautiful Things: Advice on Love and Life from Dear Sugar

I loved this book when I read it last year and when I reread it last week, I sat in admiration for
Tiny Beautiful Thingsthe words of insight, kindness and advice offered by Cheryl Strayed. She offers advice in a no holds barred sort of way.

The book is a collection of questions and answers sent to Dear Sugar advice column.

The questions ran the gamut of issues – topics include self-esteem, relationships, friendship, death, birth, love, work, fear, happiness and on and on. Some are just musing.

Some replies are pages long. The message in the reply is often quite poignant as Cheryl has a way of speaking to the heart of the person on the other end. Her words hold you accountable. If you are at fault, own it. If the world has been unfair, shout it from the roof tops. If you’ve done wrong, forgive yourself.

With most replies, she relates to something she has experienced. She writes with an openness that makes the reader listen more closely than ever before. As with most issues, the writer probably already knows the answer but can’t see a way out. Some others write because they have a need to unload. Others write with a palpable desperation.

“You don’t have a right to the cards you believe you should have been dealt with. You have an obligation to play the hell out of the ones you’re holding and my dear one, you and I have been granted a mighty generous one.”
― Cheryl Strayed, Tiny Beautiful Things: Advice on Love and Life from Dear Sugar

Some questions ask about love. Will we find love? Is this love? The heartfelt questions span
generations.

“I can’t say when you’ll get love or how you’ll find it or even promise you that you will. I can only say you are worthy of it and that it’s never too much to ask for it and that it’s not crazy to fear you’ll never have it again, even though your fears are probably wrong. Love is our essential nutrient. Without it, life has little meaning. It’s the best thing we have to give and the most valuable thing we receive. It’s worthy of all the hullabaloo.”
― Cheryl Strayed, Tiny Beautiful Things: Advice on Love and Life from Dear Sugar

To get a good understanding of the genuine questions and replies that fill this book, here is a question and a link to the answer. Find the book and read it. The answers and suggestions spoke to my core. Maybe they will do the same to yours.

Dear Sugar,

I read your column religiously. I’m 22. From what I can tell by your writing, you’re in your early 40s. My question is short and sweet: what would you tell your 20-something self if you could talk to her now?

Love,
Seeking Wisdom

Dear Seeking Wisdom…

When the World Came to Town:  9/11 in Gander Newfoundland by Jim Defede

world came to townSometimes when you least expect it there’s a story that takes you by surprise and captivates you. This book, When the World Came to Town:  9/11 in Gander Newfoundland by Jim Defede did that for me. This story detailed the events that happened in Gander, Newfoundland after the World Trade Center bombing in NYC on 9/11.  Do you remember that the airspace in the US was shut down after that happened?  Many of the planes turned back, others that were very close to the US were diverted to Canada. Others not yet over the ocean were rerouted to Gander.

This story is about the citizens of Gander (population 10,000) and nearby communities and how they stepped up to welcome 38 planes carrying over 6000 people.

Imagine a town of 10,000 finding food, housing, medicine, clothes (suitcases were left onboard the planes) and transportation for over 6000 people? Not only was this effort accomplished, it was done with kindness, friendship and caring.

The book took us away from the smoke and flames and horror of NYC and showed us genuine compassion by strangers in a strange land. Hope was offered in the form of warm meals, hot showers, new underclothes. Friendships were made. Faith in humanity was restored.

Need a reminder about pure goodness? Read this book.

Nice 5 minute story by Tom Brokaw

My Favorite Books: Cuckoo’s Calling

One of the best books I’ve read in a long time is called Cuckoo’s Calling by Robert Galbraith. It was at the library and looked worthy which is how I decided to check it out. What I found out later was that was written by JK Rowling.

Over the past few years I’ve had some wonderful books cross my path. Some others were not so good but I finished them anyhow and others never gained my attention and were set aside.

One of the best books I’ve read in a long time is called Cuckoo’s Calling by
Robert Galbraith. It was at the library and looked worthy which is how I decided to check it out. What I found out later was that was written by JK Rowling.

Unlike most of the population, I was not a big Harry Potter fan. I read the first book and was done. So, I don’t know that I would have read this book knowing she had written it. Which is why she used a pen name. Anyway … I’m glad I did.

The story is about a detective named Cormoron Strike who lost his leg in Afghanistan. His business is down to one client, his girlfriend just broke up with him, he’s living in his office and can barely afford to pay for a temp.

Everything looked hopeless and bleak until a client walked in the door and handed him the case of a lifetime.

What I liked about the book was the description of the characters. I have a clear picture of Cormoran with his prosthesis, his wiry hair, his beat up office and the people who come into his life.  If you read it, I’d be interested in your opinion – did you like it? If not, feel free to share.

Creating a Top Ten Book List

I decided to make a top ten list of my favorites books that I read in 2014. I have a list of all the books I read on my page 52 Books in 52, so it will be easy to remember which I read. Deciding which were my favorites is going to be the challenge.

I just received an email from a friend listing all her favorite books from 2014.

library booksI decided to make a list of my favorites as well. With a new year upon us, it’s time to read 52 books in 52 weeks again. I am usually pretty good about reading unless I come upon a book that bothers me then I walk away and stay away until the feeling passes. Then when I start to read it again, well, there’s that icky feeling. So either I plow through it or set it aside.

If it’s a book for my book club, I often plow through it so I can be part of the group discussion. The members of this group all have their certain likes and dislikes. They all know if it’s a sad or scary book then I won’t like it. I don’t like graphic stories (war, rape, carnage) and have never had success with sci-fi either. Some of my book club friends prefer psychological thrillers but hate romance, love biographies but detest chic lit and on and on.

deep bookshelfWhat amazes me is when I ADORE a book only to find out other members detested it. How can that be? And I was the only one in the group who HATED the book Gone Girl. They all loved it.

Alas, that’s how it is. Some books speak to one person and not others. I loved A Tree Grows in Brooklyn and some others thought it was BORING. How can that be?

So, stay tuned so I can go over my list of books and decide which I loved the best.

If you have any books to suggest, put it in the comment box.

Now…back to creating my top ten list!