February 22, 2010
Reading For Pleasure
A Whole New World
Every book has the potential to touch the human soul deeply, arousing patterns of thought that might otherwise have lain dormant. The pleasure we derive from the written word is unique in that we must labor for it. Other forms of art provide us with stimulus and ask nothing more than our emotional response. Reading is an active pastime that requires an investment of emotion as well as our concentration and imagination. The words we read are merely a starting point for a process that takes place largely within our minds and hearts.
There are few activities as comforting, relaxing, and healthy as perusing the pages of a good piece of fiction or nonfiction. Curling up with a book and a cup of tea is one of the simplest ways we can remove ourselves from the confines of reality in order to immerse ourselves in the drama and intrigue of the unfamiliar. The pleasure of transcending reality is only one aspect of the reading experience, however. Each time we read for enjoyment, whether we prefer the fantastic nature of fiction, the empathy awakened within us by memoir, or the instructive passion of nonfiction, we create entire landscapes in our mind’s eye. The books we choose provide us with the inspiration we need to accomplish such a feat, but it is our own creative reserves that empower us to use our imaginations for this unique and beautiful purpose.
The tales you lose yourself in can lead you on paths of discovery that take you out of your own life and help you see that existence can unfold in an infinite number of ways. You can learn so much from the characters and mentors who guide you from page to page. Your emotions are awakened each time you read, allowing you to become vessels of the passion that pours forth from line after line of print. Ultimately, the books you absorb—those that touch you deeply—will become a part of who you are, providing you with a rich and thrilling world within that you can revisit anytime you wish by simply closing your eyes. If you haven’t read a book for pleasure lately, try and allow yourself the time—you deserve it.
A couple of reviews for you from my Goodreads list. The first a non-fiction book and the second a cozy mystery. There's a book out there, somewhere for you -- no matter what your interests. Go for it!
Play by Play: Baseball, Radio and Life in the Last Chance League by Neal Conan
Most of you know how crazy we are about college baseball. We've just recently started reading baseball books. Play by Play was one we found at Half-Price Books. It is about Neal Conan (of NPR and Talk of the Nation fame) and the year he took off from NPR to follow his dream of being a baseball play-by-play announcer.
From the book jacket: " Following nearly twenty-five years as a prominent voice at National Public Radio, after being shelled, rocketed, bombed and held captive in the desert as one of their top foreign correspondents, Neal Conan decided to pursue a lifelong dream -- to become, of all things, a baseball announcer. And, that's what he did, specifically with the Aberdeen Arsenal, a franchise of the independent Atlantic League. Not the majors, alas, but it afforded him a rue opportunity to use the surge of conflicting emotions that we refer to as midlife crisis to rethink what he'd done and what he was doing. It also allowed Neal to marry his two lifelong passions - radio and baseball - and gave him the chance to return to the grassroots of each. He decided to put the fun and challenge back into things he had become bored with."
Lot's of fun baseball trivia in Play by Play. For instance: " One of Tyrone Horne's bats is in Cooperstown. In 1998 Tyrone did something unprecedented: he homered for the cycle. Hitting for the cycle is unusual, once a year or so, somebody will get a single,double, triple and home run in the same game. Four homers in a game is much rarer, and, so far as anyone knows, Tyrone is the only professional ballplayer every to hit a solo shot, a two-run job, a three-run homer and a grand slam in the same game." Conan shares other stories throughout the book.
If you are baseball fan or a fan of Conan's from NPR, I believe you'll enjoy this book.
Dropped Dead Stitch by Maggie Sefton
Kelly's friend Jennifer is a top notch knitter and a bit of a party girl. But she's always stayed one step ahead of trouble, until the night a stranger follows her home. As Jennifer recovers from the dangerous encounter, she looks to Kelly and their other close-knit friends for comfort and support. A retreat in the mountains, stitching and talking seems to be just what the doctor ordered. Surprise! The owner of the ranch turns out to be Jennifer's attacker and when he ends up dead - Jennifer is at the top of the suspect list.
All the usual characters return in this cozy mystery. Sefton gets 5 stars for the banter between the characters in this novel. She gets two stars for the story itself and the way it was written. I haven't quite put my finger on it, but I didn't think this one was written as well as the previous novels in the series. Perhaps Sefton has reached the *too many books in the series* itis! I enjoy visiting with the characters and love the knitting/weaving/crochet shop - Lambspun.