Simple Hobbies: Reading

Last week I narrowed my hobbies to six (reading, writing, gardening, photography, hiking and sewing) and now I’m going to go through each one to decide what is really necessary for the hobby and how to schedule it into my life.

Reading:

There’s nothing like curling up with a good book.  I love how I can escape into another life without leaving my home.  Reading has lots of benefits such as reducing stress, keeping my brain active, learning new things, improving my writing and concentration.  Fiction reading has even been shown to increase empathy.

Reading has been a lifelong hobby of mine, although the amount of reading I do has varied over the years.  About five years ago I noticed that I wasn’t reading as much and tried to figure out the problem.  Available time and other obligations can get in the way, but there was nothing at that moment that was more time-consuming than other periods of my life.  I figured out that I didn’t enjoy reading on my Kindle and missed having the physical book.  Kindles are great for traveling, but otherwise I’d much rather have the physical book in my hand, there’s something I love about the smell and feel of a book.  Research has found that people comprehend and remember material better in a physical book than an e-book.  I always felt that books blurred together when I read them on the Kindle, I find them much more memorable seeing the cover and turning the pages.  I went back to old-school books and my reading hobby revived.

In terms of clutter, reading is a simple hobby.  All I need is a book and enough light to see.  Of course reading can lead to hoards of books, but I’m not one to hold onto books.  There are so many books in the world to read that I very, very rarely reread a book.  The books I keep are reference books (cookbooks, gardening books, etc), a couple of my absolute favorites and the books I haven’t read yet.  I prefer to check books out from the library for three reasons, 1. it’s free, 2. it gives me a deadline to finish reading, and 3. I love going to libraries.  As for light, my favorite book light is a headlamp, especially one with a red light option (to help minimize the effects of light on my ability to sleep).

I try to read about an hour per day.  I have the goal to read 30 books this year and I just finished number 11, so I’m a bit behind, but I hope to catch up on summer break.  Here’s what I’ve read so far this year:

  1. Furiously Happy: A Funny Book About Horrible Things by Jenny Lawson
  2. Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman
  3. The Little Book of Hygge by Meik Wiking
  4. The Book of Joy by The Dali Lama and Desmond Tutu
  5. Lily and the Octopus by Steven Rowley
  6. The Other Einstein by Marie Benedict
  7. Watership Down by Richard Adams
  8. The Bear and the Nightinggale by Katherine Arden
  9. Soulful Simplicity by Courtney Carver
  10. China Rich Girlfriend by Kevin Kwan
  11. Creative Confidence: Unleash the Creative Potential within Us All by Tom Kelley and David Kelley

I tend to alternate between fiction and nonfiction.  I’m currently reading Love in Lower-Case by Francesc Miralles and Going Solo by Eric Klinenberg.

I’ve also joined a book club, which I’ve only been to three times this year, but I really enjoyed it last week and I’m hosting next month.  I think book clubs are a great way to take a solitary hobby and make it social.  It’s nice to meet others that share a love for reading and it also helps me have accountability for finishing books.  I’d say a drawback is I don’t always like the chosen book.  Last month’s book was China Rich Girlfriend, which I struggled to read.

Time to curl up with a book..

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