Tuesday, January 17, 2012

My New Hobby

When I quit my job and decided to be a stay at home mom, a goal of mine was to find some hobbies.  For the 5 years prior I had been so busy with work and kids that all hobbies had fallen to the wayside.  And to be honest, I'm not sure if I ever really had a hobby.  Can you call travel a hobby?  Or reality television?  Or the enjoyment of a few too many cocktails at happy hour?

For a while, I didn't do too well.  I did take a photography class, and I enjoy playing around with my camera here and there, but I suck at it, so I haven't really embraced it as a full fledged hobby.  I started exercising, but I loathe every second of it, so surely that can't count.  I signed up for a yoga class, but after years of doing it on and off, I have come to accept that I will never be able to form a human pretzel.

However, I am happy to say that in the midst of all this attempted betterment of myself, I have actually found something I enjoy doing.

Reading!  Yes, I enjoy reading.  How novel!  (No pun intended.)

I have never really been a big reader, and once I started working as a lawyer, reading for leisure completely fell to the wayside.  If I ever had any downtime, I certainly didn't want to spend it thinking, about anything.  Once the kids came along, reading was pretty much exclusively devoted to books about pregnancy, babies, sleep, and developmental milestones which, lets be honest, is not good for anyone.

Last Mother's Day my husband got me a kindle.  I liked the new gadget, but didn't expect to use it much, and for the first few months I didn't.  Then, after a recommendation from a friend, I downloaded The Outliers, by Malcolm Gladwell.  The book was fantastic!  I couldn't put it down.  It is a non-fiction book about success - who gets it, why they get it, and how they get it. There was even an entire chapter devoted to Joe Flom, one of the founding partners of my alma mater law firm.

I suppose it's ironic to be so enthralled and attracted to a book that deals with success in the corporate world, when I had voluntarily just exited it, but I found it fascinating.  It made me think.  And this time, I liked the whole thinking thing.  I had missed it, actually.

Since then, I have become somewhat obsessed with reading.  Once I finish a book, I go through a brief mourning period, and then frantically search for the next one.  I have read some really fabulous ones (I just finished The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo series which was AWESOME), some entertaining but fluff ones (the Hunger Games Trilogy - hard to put down, but a bit too pre-teen for me), ones that have made me cry (The Year of Magical Thinking, anyone?) and some really crap ones (yes, I read the Brooke Shields PPD book - a good cause, but a crap read).

I am loving this reading books thing.

It makes me feel smart.  It makes me feel connected.  It makes me feel like I am still learning.  It is a good hobby - simple as that.

So internet, I am appealing for your help.  I am currently without book.  Help support the cause, and give me your recommendations!


  1. I just finished Freedom by Jonathan Franzen - excellent book.

  2. Holly Burns just posted her 2011 year of books on her blog, and I am shamelessly stealing most of them.


    Others that I have recently liked include A Discovery of Witches; Divergent, by Veronica Roth (really good, though also considered Young Adult fiction); and Bangkok 8, etc. by John Burdett (they're part detective/mystery story, part travelogue - set in Thailand); and Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand, which is an unbelievable, totally compelling true story about a world-class runner in WWII.

  3. Me and all the girlfriends have gone through The Help together. And while I skipped the movie because I'm not really into the touchy feely chick flick things, the book was actually a very fun read. A quick romp that made me laugh out loud in a coffee shop and cry on public transportation once or twice. It's got a few key mom moments that'll really get ya. Enjoy!

  4. Try www.goodreads.com - you can get recommendations from friends and keep track of books you've read and want to read.

  5. Try "a vist from the goon squad" by jennifer egan. It is a very smart and thought-provoking book (while being a fun read at the same time). It won the Pulitzer for fiction.

  6. The Barbarian Nurseries by Hector Tobar!


  7. Anything by Jodi Picoult.

  8. Someone already said The Help. Also, Tina Fey. Chelsea Handler's books. Anything by Jennifer Weiner. And, to save money, take a look at the free books. I've really enjoyed a lot of the books I hated in high school (Great Expectations, Jane Austen, Jane Eyre).

  9. The Help

    Anything by Jennifer Lancaster -- she has a whole series and they are hilarious

    I am going to read The Blogess' book when it comes out.

  10. I always find it hard to figure out what to read and I've found pinterest to be a good solution for that. Here's what I've flagged so far: http://pinterest.com/nahgaem19/to-read/

    I also agree with the recommendation of The Help and Tina Frey's book. I've read both recently and thoroughly enjoyed them.

    Good luck!

  11. You've GOT to read The Help if you haven't already! Also I love all of Jane Austen's books... Sense and Sensibility is just wonderful! Da Vinci Code and Angels & Demons are wonderful if you haven't read those yet. Not sure if you want nerdy law-themed books, but I think A Civil Action is really good! Time Traveler's Wife is a good one (a bit romantic, but definitely not a romance novel!).

  12. Me too! And I go through the same post book feelings! I too loved "the help". Also loved "Life of pi" "water for elephants" "eat, pray, love". And so many people love dragon tattoo but I cant get through first 25 pages! So boring. At what point does it become a must read?

  13. Cutting with Stone---took a while to get involved but so worth it.

    Olive Kittredge

    The Art of Fielding---Chad Harbach

    Major Pettigrew's Last Stand

  14. Thanks so much for all of the suggestions! I have read the Help, but will try and make my way through the others. And keep the suggestions coming! :)

    And Sabrina, Dragon Tattoo does get REALLY good. Just skim through the first 50 pages or so.

  15. Anything by Jhumpa Lahiri, but especially her collection of short stories, Interpreter of Maladies. Also, it is a bit of a fluff read, but funny (though it may hit a little close to home) - I Don't Know How She Does It.

  16. A message from the goon squad! Also I agree with the poster above that Jhumpa Lahiri is amazing. Also I love H. Murakami books, his newest novel 1Q84 is getting a lot of good press and so far it's an addictive read.

  17. I would recommend reading all of Malcolm Gladwell's books!!

  18. I just read "Delivering Happiness" by Tony Hsieh, CEO of Zappos. Very interesting and a quick and easy read. I read it in a couple hours. I have a bad habit of starting books and never finding time to finish them, so I felt pretty good about finishing this one the same day I started it.

  19. I second reading Jhumpa Lahiri, I read Unaccustomed Earth. I'd also highly recommend The Glass Castle (Walls). Additional recommendations: Welcome to the Monkey House (short stories, Vonnegut), The Historian (Kostova), East of Eden (Steinbeck), The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society (Shaffer & Barrows), Water for Elephants (Gruen), The Count of Monte Cristo (Dumas)... So many good choices, I love thinking about books!

  20. Have you read Lttle Bee, by Chris Cleave? Very very good :-)

  21. Have you read "Little Bee", by Chris Cleave?
    Great book!


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