Hello, Dear Blog, my old friend,
I’ve come to talk with you again…
It’s been over a year and a half since I last posted, though not for a lack of reading. The last year and a half have been some of the most productive reading years of my life, at least when it comes to page count and books–I’ve read over 80 books. It’s more that I couldn’t find the motivation or inspiration to post and even when I felt I had things I wanted to say any attempt to try to put thoughts into words and post felt forced. And, generally, whenever I have to force something, it doesn’t work out very well. So I decided to let things be.
As a result, these last 18 months, I’ve felt more like a consumer of books–reading and reading, but not really synthesizing or processing what I was reading properly or at least not as much as I would like. It’s been frustrating, but I’ve been letting the feeling of frustration build and simmer. I think it’s finally reached a point of critical mass and I’m ready to come out of hibernation.
So here I am, Dear Blog, I’ve missed you and I’m back. 🙂
And, now, Dear Reader,
Here’s a fun, informative and entertaining video I came across a few months ago titled How to Read More Books in the Golden Age of Content. It’s somewhat of an ode to readers of books and lovers of bookstores and chock-full of tips on reading. I highly recommend it to anyone passionate about books or anyone wanting to read more books (especially in this age where we are deluged and drowning in content 😦 ). Thirty minutes might seem a bit long for a video, but it’s quality content and the time just flies by.
Something I found particularly interesting is that most of the reading habits and tips in this video (with the exception of the tips on speed reading) are the same habits I have and the same tips (in some form or another) I give to friends wanting advice on how to read more. It’s been in the back of my mind to start a blog series on the subject for a few years now so perhaps this will be the first in a series of posts on “How to Read More”. We’ll see.
I’d heard about this video a few times in the last few days, but I finally watched it today, when a friend shared a direct link. Apparently, it’s based off a book by a psychologist named Randy J. Paterson called How to Be Miserable: 40 Strategies You Already Use. I don’t know if I’ll read the book, but the video is great and so true. It made me laugh a lot. 😀
Ps. The last minute is just an ad for Audible.com. I found it a bit annoying. If you want save yourself a bit of time, the maximizing misery part ends at about the 6:15 mark.
At the end of last month/beginning of this month, I visited my brother and his family in California. During one of my last days there, my sister-in-law took me to her favorite place to to look for books: the Fountain Valley Friends of the Library Bookstore; a tiny, little, room of a, gem of a bookstore run by book-loving, friendly, volunteer staff. 🙂
For some reason, I’d always imagined library bookstores to be full of old, worn library books, that no one was reading any more, with ugly library card pockets glued to the front of the book and stamped all over with an ugly “WITHDRAWN” stamp–overall, a pretty drab and aesthetically unappealing collection. I figured if I were to ever visit a library bookstore it would be for the sole purpose of a book’s contents (e.g. to look for some scholarly, obscure book that I couldn’t afford to buy at the regular, new or used price), never for aesthetics. I’d never been to a library bookstore, so I had my doubts when I walked in, but about five minutes later, I was sure that if I lived even remotely near there, I’d likely be a very strong contender for the label of “most frequent customer”. 🙂 It turned out that all the books there were, as far as I could tell, donated by readers. I found a few ex-libris books, but I didn’t find a single ex-library book.
It was such a pleasant surprise to discover a vast and quality selection of books, in excellent condition, in such a tiny place. Best of all, their prices. were. incredible. Most books were 1 dollar; the most expensive books were 2-4 dollars; and romance novels…well, they were on sale! 🙂
Unfortunately, romance novels aren’t my thing, but I imagined for a moment how lucky I’d be if they were: 100 romance novels for 10 dollars! (Oh, the joy! 😀 )
We only had about thirty minutes there, because closing time was at 5:00 pm, but it was a small enough of a store that I felt I was able survey all the essentials, and yet it still left me with more to explore. As it was, I had a hard enough time cutting down the stack of books that I’d collected, in about 20 minutes, to a size and weight I was sure would be manageable in my luggage on my flight home.
In the end, I settled on the nine awesome and beautiful books you see at the top of this post, for the incredible price of $11! They are all in excellent condition and the Kafka and Isben books look as if they’ve never been read before! I walked away feeling like a treasure hunter who’d stumbled on to some local secret. 🙂
It’s funny because, prior to my trip, I thought I’d have a lot of extra time and imagined that I’d use it to visit plenty of bookstores. Things turned out differently and I ended up without much time to spare, but that was okay, because thirty minutes at the Friends of the Library Bookstore was really all I needed. 🙂
If you’re someone who loves to own a physical copy of the books you read and you’re lucky enough to have a Friends of the Library or any library bookstore in your vicinity, I can’t recommend them enough. They are lovely and fantastic places to explore; the gems you can discover and prices you can purchase them for are a book lover’s best-kept secret.
This morning, one of my brothers asked me if I’d seen the “Norway coffee” video that was trending on YouTube (with over a million views). I hadn’t and asked him if it was worthwhile to watch it and give it an additional view. He said it was, so I gave it a view… Actually, I gave it several views. And it’s so worthwhile, I’m sharing it here. 🙂
This isn’t the “How to drink your morning coffee in Norway” version that is trending on YouTube. It’s the version uploaded by the guy in the video. It currently only has 9,500 views, but it could certainly use a few more.
More on it later. At the moment, I’m just happy to know I have the rest of my life to meditate on and explore this collection of poems. 🙂
We shall not cease from exploration
And the end of all our exploring
Will be to arrive where we started
And know the place for the first time.
—T. S. Eliot, Four Quartets: “Little Gidding”