One thing I have learned working at a public library, I never need to buy another book again. That is not to say I will not buy a book ever again, but, I have learned that I don't need to. If you love to read, there is always a book available at the library. And, more importantly, there is someone there trained in how to help you sift through the thousands of titles to find the one you will most enjoy at that moment.
The biggest hurdle to more casual reading hobbyists is the time limit on books at the library. Many patrons find this stressful. What I always remind people of first is that the books are free. Don't sweat it. You have already paid for them with you taxes. You can always renew the book, or return it and get it again 24 hours later (if no one else is waiting). If you can't bare to part with it, the 10 cent per day fine is not steep. Also, you can always return it unfinished, grab another book (don't worry, we have plenty to go around) and come back to the unfinished one later. And here is a dirty little librarian secret, if you become a regular library user and we get to know you, we may just waive those day or two fines for you.
My point is that everyone needs something in their life that forces them to slow down and focus on themselves. I have about 4 part-time jobs, 2 small children, neither of whom are not in school full time yet, and a husband. Reading is my escape. It is a cheap hobby since I borrow books and audio books from the library. It is a fun hobby because I can read about any topic or subject in the world. And finally, it is an easy hobby to devote time to every day. I can read while I watch the kids build in the playroom. I can read in the school pick-up line. I can listen to an audio book while I do the laundry, vacuuming or dishes. And, I can read while I sit on the couch at night with my husband.
Reading works with my busy schedule because it can be snuck in throughout the day. I carry a book or my i-pod with me everywhere. If I have a free moment, I can read a page or two, but if I end up unexpectedly stuck in the car with a sleeping toddler, I can read many more.
I got the idea for this post from my husband. His favorite blog The Simple Dollar (which I highly recommend for its useful advise on many topics) had this entry on hobbies, specifically his reading hobby. Although the post does not put enough emphasis on the fact that reading can be a free hobby through exclusive use of your public library, he does mention it. Also, the article ends with some great tips on starting any hobby.
For those of you who want to get started on their reading and want a few leads, I will be posting about the books I read in January in the next few days.
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