Let’s Chat: Is Reading a Social Hobby?

It’s absolutely freezing here.

So. Much. Snow.

The roads are ridiculous, I can’t feel my fingers, and I’m currently eating steaming hot banana oatmeal to warm up my insides.  I’m writing this sitting next to my dining room window where the current falling snow is making me feel like I’m blogging from the inside of a snow globe.

And…I’m loving every second (minus the driving).

Winter is favorite season and I’m obsessed with snow!  There is nothing more gorgeous to me than freshly fallen snow.  This is mine and my daughter’s favorite snow covered tree.  So, so beautiful.

Stay safe and stay warm, local friends!

Today’s blog topic is one that I have been pondering for quite some time, especially the older that I’ve been getting.

Reading is an interesting hobby.

I think it’s the most antisocial and yet completely social hobby all at the same time.

I need silence when I read.  As in no talking, no television, no distractions.

I am an only child and have always loved having alone time.  I prefer quiet to chaos, silence to loudness, and peace to noise.  I have always been like this!  Reading is the perfect, quiet hobby for me.  Always has been and always will be.

Throughout the day, I find myself thinking about whatever book I’m currently reading.  While I’m driving, while I’m washing dishes, etc. I could be at the most amazing and exciting party and yet somewhere in the back of my mind…be dreaming of the next time when I will be able to peacefully snuggle up with a book.  Antisocial hobby?

And yet, I have had AMAZING and in depth discussions with people about books.  People who I don’t even know well!  Books have such a magical way of instantly providing complex topics for discussions.  Reminds me of a picture I posted on Instagram last month.  LOVE IT!

How can something be called antisocial when the very focus of it is to meet characters, travel to far away places, learn cultural differences, and to broaden the horizon of topics which previously had not be known?

I started this book blog as a creative outlet for this stay at home mom to be able to share her passion with others.  I can’t believe all that it has provided for me in such a short amount of time!  I have met so many new friends, both physically as well as virtually.  I have created a space in which I’ve watched others interact with each other though books.  I have had numerous people tell me that they appreciate the community I have created here.  All because of books.  Amazing.

This all brings me back to my original question:  Is reading a social hobby?

I’m not entirely sure…I just know that either way, it’s the perfect hobby for me. 🙂

What do you think?  Is reading a social hobby?  I would love to hear your thoughts in the comments below!

HAPPY BIRTHDAY AMY! I love you and I love our friendship so, so much! Can’t wait to celebrate this weekend! 

(To learn more about us and our special friendship read this post)

Stay safe and warm, everyone!

XO,

Jenny

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Local friends, I run a storytime every Tuesday and Friday at Whimsy Cafe in Buffalo Grove, Illinois from 10:00-10:45! Bring your kids (6 months-5 years) for stories, songs, and lots of fun. Price is included in your child’s admission, no need to sign up. If you are a blog reader, please be sure to introduce yourself!  I can’t wait to meet you and your little ones. 🙂

 

Let’s Chat: I’m A Monster. Anyone Else?

Congratulations Karen and Amanda!  You are each a winner of the ***GIVEAWAY (2 Winners!)*** Chuckerman Makes A Movie {Francie Arenson Dickman}.  Email me your mailing address (bookcoffeehappy@gmail.com) and you will each receive your autographed book asap!  Enjoy!

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There are 2 types of readers.  Those who use a bookmark to hold their place within a book and those who…brace yourselves…bend back (“dog ear”) the corner of page.  It is typically regarded that people who chose this former method are monsters who have no respect for the book or the words held within.

I bend back the pages.  Every single time.  **hides beneath chair**

Hear me out!  I haven’t always been like this!

In fact, I used to own a GORGEOUS red leather bookmark.  I bought it at the Coach Store and it was very fancy, very beautiful, and very expensive.  I used it for years and it did a perfect job of holding my place each time I put my book down.

I sold it at my garage sale last summer.  $3.00.

I have 2 children now.  And a husband.  And my quiet, quality reading time just isn’t what it used to be.  I used to be able to start a book in the morning, read allllll day long, and finish the book before bedtime.  These days, my time to enjoy a book is short but oh, so precious.  I sneak in a few pages whenever I can…naptime, before a doctor appointment, getting my car washed, etc.  There is no time for searching for a bookmark.  When someone around here needs me, the page gets folded and I’m good to go.  Fast. Easy.  Proof of this:  the picture that I posted on Instagram yesterday, lol (follow me @bookcoffeehappy).

Here’s a strange confession: I kind of like when I check a book out of the library and can see where the person before me left off.  Is that weird???  Sometimes I think “HOW did they put this book down NOW?”  Other times I think “Ooooh good call.  Perfect spot to leave off.”

The older I get the more into the minimalism lifestyle I become (another post for another day).  I don’t NEED a bookmark.  Just one more possession I don’t need to keep track of.

I think my monster ways have rubbed off on someone else in my house.  I’ve watched her do this twice over past week when it was time for her to stop doing what she was doing and didn’t want to lose her place.

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Yikes.

And on a random side note…

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SNOW!!!!  My favorite time of year is HERE!!!!

So tell me…do you use a bookmark?  If so, describe it!

Or…are you a monster like me?  Be proud and admit it!

**still hiding beneath chair**

Xo,

Jenny

If you enjoyed this post, check out my other “Let’s Chat” posts:

Let’s Chat: When Your Opinion Is The Unpopular One

Let’s Chat: When Did This Happen? More Importantly…WHY Did This Happen?

Let’s Chat: Tablet Vs Book Vs Audiobook?

Let’s Chat: How Long Until You Officially Abandon A Book?

Let’s Chat: Book Clubs…Yay or Nay?

It would really help me if you could follow/subscribe to my blog.  Also, please “like” my Facebook page (www.fb.com/bookcoffeehappy), follow me on Twitter@bookcoffeehappy, and follow me on Instagram @bookcoffeehappy!

Let’s Chat: When Your Opinion Is The Unpopular One

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The older I get, the more I find myself in situations where my opinion differs from those around me.  I embrace this about myself!  I have always had a strong personality with lots of opinions and I’m proud that even if they are unique, they represent me.  I have never had an issue sharing my opinion, even if I know that people may not always agree.

After I published my most recent post (Book Review: Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine {Gail Honeyman} it got me thinking about other books that I hate but yet other people love.

For years, I listened to everyone talk about The Glass Castle: A Memoir.  I heard only wonderful things, everyone around me absolutely loved it.  When I finally sat down to read it, my expectations were obviously very high and I couldn’t wait to dig in!

So I began to read…and immediately I hated it.

But this couldn’t be!  Everyone else loved it!  I must forge through.  So…I kept reading.

Hated it even more.

I must have the wrong version!  Maybe I’m reading the same title by a different author?  So I checked…I had the exact book everyone around me seemed to love.  Except I didn’t love it.  In fact, quite the opposite.

I read until page 100 or so before I decided that I hated every single thing about that book and needed to call it quits.  Would it eventually have gotten better?  Maybe…but I wasn’t willing to stick around and find out.

Another example is  The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (Millennium Series).  OMG DID I HATE THAT BOOK.  Somewhere around 200 pages in, I actually THREW it across the room and it hit my husband’s dresser.  The only time in my life where I actually physically needed to just get a book away from me.  Far away.  Quickly.  I could not have hated that book more.  Again…would it eventually have gotten better?  Possibly…but there was no way I could have stuck it out even for 1 more page.  Honestly, I’m impressed that I made it as far as I did.

And lastly…  Small Great Things: A Novel.  I did read the entire book.  I liked it…the story was fascinating, the characters were interesting, and the messages and lessons behind it were so, so very important.  However, that book was LONG.  And not just a bit long, like 200 pages too long.  An almost 500 page book which quite honestly felt like a million pages.  In other words, NOT a small great thing (get it?!).  I remember reading and thinking that it was never going to end, it was just so LOOOOOOOOONG.  Everyone around me was loving it!  I liked it, I didn’t love it.  Longest book ever written.

It’s hard when your opinion differs so greatly from those around you, but that’s also what makes the best discussions.  Which book (s) have you not loved that everyone around you has raved about?  Have you read any of the 3 that I mentioned?  What did you think of them?  Looking forward to reading the comments!

Xo,

Jenny

If you enjoyed this post, check out my previous Let’s Chat posts (the first one listed below is currently my most viewed blog post of all time):

Let’s Chat: When Did This Happen? More Importantly…WHY Did This Happen?

Let’s Chat: Book Clubs…Yay or Nay?

Let’s Chat: How Long Until You Officially Abandon A Book?

Let’s Chat: Tablet Vs Book Vs Audiobook?

*This post contains affiliate links.  I receive a tiny commission if you order on Amazon by clicking on these links.  Thanks so much for your support, Xo*

Please enter your email address to receive notifications each time I post on my blog, please “like” my Facebook page (search Book Coffee Happy), and follow me on Twitter @bookcoffeehappy!  Please tell any other book lovers to do these 3 things as well!

 

 

 

 

 

Book Review: Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine {Gail Honeyman}

I couldn’t WAIT to read this book!  I had heard such wonderful things from so many different people!  When I finally got my hands on a copy, I was so excited…

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Synaposis from Goodreads:

No one’s ever told Eleanor that life should be better than fine.

Meet Eleanor Oliphant: She struggles with appropriate social skills and tends to say exactly what she’s thinking. Nothing is missing in her carefully timetabled life of avoiding social interactions, where weekends are punctuated by frozen pizza, vodka, and phone chats with Mummy.

But everything changes when Eleanor meets Raymond, the bumbling and deeply unhygienic IT guy from her office. When she and Raymond together save Sammy, an elderly gentleman who has fallen on the sidewalk, the three become the kinds of friends who rescue one another from the lives of isolation they have each been living. And it is Raymond’s big heart that will ultimately help Eleanor find the way to repair her own profoundly damaged one.

Soon to be a major motion picture produced by Reese Witherspoon, Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine is the smart, warm, and uplifting story of an out-of-the-ordinary heroine whose deadpan weirdness and unconscious wit make for an irresistible journey as she realizes. . .

The only way to survive is to open your heart.

My Thoughts:

(Disclaimer: I will never post spoilers in my reviews HOWEVER the comment section is completely fair game to discuss any and all specifics including spoilers)

2 Stars

I read this book months ago and when I came here to review it I realized…it has left zero impression on me.  The worst books are the ones where you close the cover after you finish reading and never think about the characters or story lines again and this book is a perfect example.  I was so excited to read it…there was (is) such a buzz about it!  What I was assuming (and hoping) would have been a fun and heartwarming story ended up being a boring, sad, and depressing one instead.  The biggest thing I remember about this book was just how bored I was while reading it…but there was such a buzz about it that I felt compelled to keep reading. Such a disappointment for me because I was SO excited to read it! I’m curious to hear what others thought because this is currently such a popular book…Have you read it?  Did you like it?

Bottom Line:

There were absolutely a few scenes where I remember smiling while reading…but mostly I just remember yawning.

Please enter your email address to receive notifications each time I post on my blog, please “like” my Facebook page (search Book Coffee Happy), and follow me on Twitter @bookcoffeehappy!  Please tell any other book lovers to do these 3 things as well!

Click the image below to order the book through my Amazon affiliate link.  Thank you for your support, Xo

Book Coffee Happy Random Thoughts

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New reading material from Thursday night.  As for my review of the play…is it really fair to review ANY play that you see 5 days after you see Hamiltion???

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When I receive children’s books from authors to review, I let my favorite helpers open the packages and the books are read immediately 🙂

(Spoiler: both books I received were ADORABLE!  Reviews (and giveaways!) coming soon…)

10 days ago, you might have seen that I posted this on Facebook:

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Switched On was excellent!  Easy to read and a fascinating topic which I probably would never have discovered on my own.  I loved how each “chapter” was broken down into short categories, this made it a very quick read. I learned so much and all of it was very  interesting.  I now find myself looking at everyone around me in public places in an entirely different way than I did before and reminding myself to “switch on”.  This was a great book and I really enjoyed it! My husband can’t wait to read this one this next 🙂  Visit http://www.switchedonagent.com to learn more and to order your own copy.  Thanks again, Eric J. Caron!  You wrote such an interesting book! 

Earlier in the week, my daughter and I walked past this and my heart broke:

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We stood there and she listened as I told her how important it is to support businesses that you love or they will not be able to succeed.  She patiently let me reflect on so many memories of this particular bookstore and the beauty that it brought to our community.  I told her that seeing this sight truly was breaking my heart and how it’s our responsibility to support our local businesses. She just stood there quietly as I went on and on about what a sad sight this was and how we cannot allow this to keep occurring. Aaaaaand then a man walked over to us and this happened:

“Excuse me.  I have been listening to your beautiful speech and I just thought you should know that they closed this location only so they could rebuild a much larger and more beautiful location across the street.”

So basically I had the opportunity to teach various meaningful life lessons to my daughter AND we get a new gorgeous bookstore?!?  #Winning

Check out this beautiful display at the front entrance to one of our local libraries:

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Facebook/Twitter Maddie’s Miracles Giveaway ends tonight at midnight!  I’ll announce the winner tomorrow morning…Good luck!  (Search book coffee happy on Facebook and @bookcoffeehappy on Twitter)

I hope you are having a wonderful weekend and that you are reading something amazing!  I finished an AWESOME book yesterday…my review will be on the blog tomorrow morning 🙂

Xo,

Jenny

 

 

Giveaway Winner, ANOTHER Giveaway, Twitter, and a Book Review (A House for Happy Mothers {Amulya Malladi})

Maddie’s Miracles Giveaway Winner:

Thank you to those who entered the giveaway on my previous post:  ****GIVEAWAY**** Maddie’s Miracles {Scott Kramer}!  I have randomly picked a winner…Congratulations Sara Lambert!  Email me (bookcoffeehappy@gmail.com) with your mailing address, I will pass it along to Scott Kramer, and he will mail your autographed copy directly to you within 5 days.  Please post on Bookcoffeehappy with your thoughts once you’ve read it!

A SECOND GIVEAWAY:

If you didn’t win…or didn’t have a chance to enter…I will be giving away a SECOND autographed copy of Maddie’s Miracles: A Book of Life (affiliate link) exclusively on my Facebook/Twitter pages!  Giveaway will begin now and will continue through Sunday night midnight CDT.  I’ll announce the winner on Facebook/Twitter with my usual Monday morning blog post announcement.  Head over to Facebook/Twitter for another chance to win this beautiful book (Facebook: search Book Coffee Happy, Twitter: @bookcoffeehappy).  Good luck!

Twitter:

Book Coffee Happy is now on TWITTER!  Please follow me @bookcoffeehappy

And now…A Book Review:

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Fascinating topic!  I chose to read this book based on the topic alone, I had not previously heard of this title nor had I heard of this author.

Synopsis from Goodreads:

In trendy Silicon Valley, Priya has everything she needs—a loving husband, a career, and a home—but the one thing she wants most is the child she’s unable to have. In a Southern Indian village, Asha doesn’t have much—raising two children in a tiny hut, she and her husband can barely keep a tin roof over their heads—but she wants a better education for her gifted son. Pressured by her family, Asha reluctantly checks into the Happy Mothers House: a baby farm where she can rent her only asset—her womb—to a childless couple overseas. To the dismay of friends and family, Priya places her faith in a woman she’s never met to make her dreams of motherhood come true.

Together, the two women discover the best and the worst that India’s rising surrogacy industry has to offer, bridging continents and cultures to bring a new life into the world—and renewed hope to each other.

My Thoughts:

(Disclaimer: I will never post spoilers in my reviews HOWEVER the comment section is completely fair game to discuss any and all specifics including spoilers)

3 Stars

I recommend this book although the writing leaves a bit to be desired.

The plot was interesting and the story was intricately woven between the well developed characters.  The surrogacy market in India was a fascinating topic for me, especially learning the details of all that it entails.  I had no previous knowledge on this subject, and I found all of it to be so thought-provoking.

(On a side note…this is one reason why I ABSOLUTELY LOVE TO READ!  Books literally drive me to research and learn about so many topics which I otherwise would have zero knowledge.  This book is a perfect example of that.  I found myself googling this topic while I was reading this book just to learn more about the process, I found all of it fascinating and learned a great deal).

I think what ultimately led to me to not loving this book was that I wanted the author to dive even deeper into many of the story lines.  As compelling as they were, I think there were many areas in this book which could have been brought to an entirely different level had the author taken the time to explore each one in a more significant way.

Overall, I enjoyed this book and I would recommend it…I just wish it was written to dive even deeper into the details of the plot and into this extremely complicated topic.

Bottom Line:

Interesting topic, interesting plot, interesting characters.  The actual writing…not as interesting.

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Click the image below to order the book through my Amazon affiliate link.  Thank you for your support, Xo

Let’s Chat: When Did This Happen? More Importantly…WHY Did This Happen?

 

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Before my daughter started going to school for the full day, her and I would spend hours upon hours at our local library.  It had a tiny children’s play area with a very old play kitchen, a puppet stage with some very well loved puppets,  a few ancient puzzles, and little jars of crayons that you could check out at the desk to color a picture. There was a giant rug with huge pictures and their corresponding letters.  My daughter and I would pay a game where I would give her clues about the letters or pictures on the rug and she had to hop to the one I was describing. If a child helped to clean up after themselves, they could tell the librarian at the desk and would receive a sticker for their efforts.  There were stacks and stacks of children’s books.  My daughter and I would find a hidden spot in them and sit and read stories aloud, usually about upcoming holidays or events.  We would do all of this for hours and then go into the front room when we started to get hungry.  In the front room, there were a few random blue chairs where her and I would eat our packed lunches and then return to the children’s section for hours more.  At the front door to the building, there was a beautiful hand carved bench which was crafted to look like a bookshelf containing classic stories.  Next to it was an ancient payphone.  My daughter would sit on that bench each time we entered the building and would “call” her grandma each time we excited the building and pretend to tell her all about our day’s adventures at the library.  All in all, spending time at our favorite library was a perfect way to spend our days.   So many of my absolute favorite memories with my daughter occurred in that building.

And then…

Our beloved library received a multi million dollar renovation.

For over a year while they completed the renovation, the temporary location was our place to go.  It was much smaller than our library, but just as wonderful.  It had a few older toys, puzzles, a huge table with blocks, and art project kits that you could check out at the desk.  We loved the temporary location but were counting down until we could return to our favorite main branch and see all of the beautiful improvements.  When the day came where we could finally check it out, we were so excited!

They ruined it.

Not ruined exactly, just…changed it.  Completely.

A gigantic light wall!  Balls that you can shoot up through the ceiling and watch go across the whole room through huge mazes on the wall!  A humongous screen with interactive technolicgical games!  An entire table of ipads!  Big sticky shapes that are meant to be placed on the Velcro wall but you can throw them and they stick!

Gone are the stacks and stacks of books, they are now displayed by theme facing outward.

Gone is the librarians’ desk right in the middle of the room, it’s now on the other side of the library…so also gone is any monitoring of behavior (although this really is the parents’ job but that could be another whole separate post).

Gone are both the beautiful hand crafted bench and payphone at the front entrance.

What was once our quiet, quaint literacy based weekday activity has turned into kids literally RUNNING and SCREAMING through the children’s area.  And not just a few kids…LOTS of kids.  Due to the exciting and newsworthy major renovation, children from all surrounding areas now come to our once quiet library.  Throwing balls, throwing the sticky shapes, climbing on the puppet stage (what used to actually be a tiny doll stage is now a massive custom built area perfect for children to climb).  Everything is brand new, gorgeous, modern, and stunning.

My daughter’s reaction?  She hated it.  Absolutely hated it.  Refused to go back for months.  And I agreed.

There is another local library not far from our town that has a massive slide in the center of the room.  A SLIDE.

When did all of this happen?  When did libraries become indoor play places?

I have always taught (and always will teach) my children that libraries are meant to be quiet places.  I want them to respect the building and the people inside of it who are working, reading, researching, or just trying to enjoy some peace from the loud outside world.  I want them to marvel at the selection of books.  I want them to know that there are endless possibilities awaiting them in those books.  I want them to love those books.  Playtime at the library should absolutely be a part of the experience…but leaving with carefully selected books should be the most exciting part.

When we go to our library now, it’s with the intention that we are going there to play.  Yes, we still check out books…but….what child wants to sit and quietly read while loud kids and balls are zooming all around them?

There is a brand new massive playground outside. It’s huge and amazing and awesome!  But…a part of me misses the old one with the one rickety table and the old tire swing.  I’ll never forget my daughter playing in the dirt under the old tree searching for sticks.  No reason to do that now…the new playground is so huge that no child would ever think of searching at the base of some old tree.

Make no mistake, our new library is GORGEOUS.  Everything about the facility is new and beautiful.  I am beyond fortunate to be able to raise my children in a community where we have this amazing resource. Even the bathrooms are stunning.  But I miss the old bathroom with only the 2 stalls and the broken sink where my daughter learned to read the words “out of order”.

I completely understand that ANY library that actually encourages children to want to come and spend time there is wonderful.  I get it.  I just wish that children would want to come and spend time there for different reasons than they now do.  As an avid reader, instilling a love for books in my children is a top priority.  If I want to take them to a play place, I will take them to a play place.  If I want to take them to a library, I will take them to a library.  The 2 experiences should be different but now they seem to have tangled together…and the result is such a shame.  I also understand that the world is changing and children need to be exposed to the advancements in technology.  I just want to make sure that good old fashioned books and the libraries that house them don’t get lost in that.

As a stay at home mom, my job is to find creative and meaningful experiences for my children to fill our days with a bonus if I can do that for free.

I yearn for the old experiences that our beloved library used to provide.  Our new library absolutely provides experiences, just of a completely different type.  Our new library is so loud and chaotic in the children’s area, not a place you would want to spend an entire day.  We packed our lunches on that very first day we were allowed to finally come back after the year hiatus.  We ate in the gorgeous cafe area…and haven’t packed our lunches since.  Man, I miss those random blue chairs.

I’ve learned as a parent that the best memories and experiences you can give your child sometimes are the simplest ones.  I will never forget sitting with her quietly working on those old puzzles or worrying about when the last time those gross puppets were washed as she performed countless puppet shows for me.

In the end, it doesn’t matter how much money was spent on the renovation…some of the most perfect and special things in life just can’t be bought.

So…what are your thoughts?  Do you agree with me that libraries have gotten completely out of hand with their children’s areas or completely disagree?  I already know that my opinion probably won’t be the most popular one and that’s absolutely fine with me.  Feel free to speak your mind!  One request…Please refrain from mentioning specific library names or any specific locations in the comments!

Xo,

Jenny

Please enter your email address to receive notifications each time I post on my blog, please “like” my Facebook page (search Book Coffee Happy), and please tell any other book lovers to do these 2 things as well!