Burrr—this week the weather has turned cold. I don’t know about you, but it makes me think about hot chocolate, cinnamon rolls, a good book, and maybe warm glowing fire in the fireplace.
I’m sure that winter isn’t fully in swing yet, but this Halloween week sure is looking cold.
Last week, I was visiting the sales office in our newly opened clubhouse at one of our 55+ communities in Herriman, Midas Creek Villas.
While there, I noticed that they have a large whiteboard in the main foyer. I asked the friendly sales staff about it, and they said that this community has really embraced the idea of community activity.
In fact, every day of the week, they have something fun for anyone who wants to join, and apparently, the activities are very well attended. I don’t know if they are doing this there, but it got me thinking about book clubs, and with books being very near and dear to me, I thought this would be a great time to talk about them.
Books for 2019
Fiction vs Nonfiction
I’ll be the first to admit, I like fiction.
I know, there’s plenty of people who don’t care much for it. They feel that it’s not true and is a waste of time, but in his book, Art Matters by Neil Gaiman (which I recently read this year), he makes a compelling point that even fiction is true in a sense. It gives culture and perspective and teaches in a safe and entertaining environment. To discount art of any form, because it isn’t historically accurate is a discredit to the intent of that art.
So I love stories for the sake of stories.
I like non-fiction as well. About 50% of what I read is non-fiction.
If there is anything I’ve learned over the years of reading non-fiction, it’s that our understanding of the past is extremely limited. I would be surprised if any of us didn’t find some measure of culture shock, merely by visiting our same local 200 or even as recently as 100 years ago. The further back we go, the more foreign the culture would appear to us.
That’s why I love learning about the past, or even about current events in places I might be unfamiliar. Often, I’m inspired, disgusted, and excited by the content I can learn from a well-researched non-fiction book. For example, this year, I read Killing Kennedy by Bill O’Reilly and then followed it a few months later by reading American Moonshot by Douglas Brinkley. Two different books, both involving the same political figure. Neither portrayed JFK exactly the same. In one book, I found myself disgusted with the man, in the other, I felt a sense of respect and admiration. It helped remind me that nobody is completely one-sided. And in the process, I learned a lot of interesting historical facts that I had never heard before.
Expanding your horizons
Several years ago, I found myself trapped. I’ve always enjoyed reading, but I’d been reading a lot of the same sort of literature. I was to the point where it wasn’t as fun or engaging as it used to be. The stories still held my attention, but I was stuck in the grips of a single genre.
I decided that I needed to branch out. There were tons of best-selling books that were completely outside of my interests, and I had no internal motivation to read them, so I signed up for an online app called Overdrive. It’s available through most libraries here in Utah. It’s kind of like a digital library on your phone or tablet.
With it, they have tons of ebooks, and audiobooks. They also have a section called “Always Available,” which means that you don’t have to wait for someone else to finish reading one of their digital copies before you can check it out.
Since I didn’t want to wait to read every book that I thought I might like, I started going through the Always available list of books. Many were audio books, which I listened to on my commutes. As I did this, I was almost forced to check out books that I would’ve never picked up otherwise.
This was amazing. I found genres and authors that I never knew existed. It broke me out of my shell and helped me explore books I’d never considered before. I’d highly recommend it.
Another way to experiment with books you might not know you’ll fall in love with, is to join a book club. Many of our communities form book clubs. These are a great resource. You’ll find enthusiastic people who don’t judge you based on the genre you prefer. I remember that once upon a time, I refused to be seen with a fantasy book tucked under my arm. Now, I proudly recommend the biggest of fantasy books such as The Way of Kings by Brandon Sanderson, or hilarious nerdy science fiction like Bypass Gemini by Joseph R. Lallo.
My favorite book this year
With so many books out there, I can’t possibly keep up with the newest ones coming out each year. So I read them all, old and new, as I can get my hands on them.
This year, if you’re looking for a fun series to get into, might I recommend one that isn’t all that new, but perhaps you haven’t heard of it:
This was such a fun, light, and delightful book that is both a great book in itself, but helps to introduce us to this hilarious author. The Wee Free Men is the first of 5 books that nest within a much greater world of books by this author, and was my first introduction to the late Sir Terry Pratchett.
It follows the adventures of a young girl as she discovers that she is in fact, a witch.
Perhaps you have some great book recommendations yourself?
If you do, great. Share them. Even better, share them in one of our social 55+ communities. We’re chuck full of fun people who enjoy a good read.
If you’ve never considered a community like these before, well, maybe like a new genre of books can add spark to your life, perhaps giving an age restricted community like any of our Villas communities a try, will proffer the same sort of jump to your step that you’ve been needing lately.