Monday Motivation #103 (5/16/22)
When I was a kid, our folks would take us to the public library every week and I’d check out 20 books at a time all summer long. The internet didn’t exist, and my family didn’t have cable TV, so our summer days were filled with a combination of chores and playing outside and entertaining ourselves quietly indoors. For me, that meant reading — a LOT. My weekly stack tended to include some favorite books to re-read, plus the next book or two in whatever series I was reading through at the time, plus a semi-random selection of new titles picked mostly based on cover art and proximity on the shelf to other books that I liked.
A year ago, I figured out how to connect to the catalog of digital books available through our local library system. It turned out to be easier than I expected, and the list of available books numbered in the tens of thousands. I checked out my first book (“Nomadland”) on May 31, 2021, and yesterday I returned book #66 (“The Personal Librarian”). Scrolling through my reading history for the last year is pretty fun. Historical fiction is definitely my top genre, with regular fiction a close second. There’s some sci-fi, some time/money management books, and a handful of biographies. When I read an article about an author or book that sounds interesting, I reach for my phone to see if the work is available to add to my “to be read” list.
I’ll admit that I never thought I’d be a fan of reading books on a digital device — but after figuring out how to tweak the settings so I have a more mellow background color (and bigger font!), I find myself getting lost in the “pages” as the stories unfold. And, on those occasions when the first few chapters just don’t capture my interest, it’s easy to return the volume and try something new.
I didn’t spend a lot of time reading for pleasure when I was a grad student, probably because “reading” became associated with “literature reviews” during those years. But I hope you’ll make the time this summer to pick up (or download) a good book, or do something else to help you relax and recharge in between research and work.
Three Things to Try This Week
Borrow a Book — The Capital Area District Library (cadl.org) and the East Lansing Library (elpl.org) are great spaces to browse, read, and study. Both libraries also offer digital services and free eBook downloads. Check out their websites to learn more about how to get your free library card!
Try a New Hobby — everyone needs outlets beyond work and school. What makes you happy? What lets you be creative? What encourages you to grow? Summer is a great time to try a new hobby or activity; here are some suggestions for finding something you’ll enjoy.
Review and Refresh — the change in seasons and semesters is a natural time to reflect on what’s working well, and where we might want to refine or release daily rituals that are no longer serving us well. Consider this approach for identifying and making space for what’s most important to you.
- Browse the art, enjoy the music, and check out the food trucks at the East Lansing Art Festival this weekend.
- Ready for the beach? Try the sandy shores of Lake Lansing, just a few miles from campus.
- The Graduate School is offering several more virtual “Lunch & Learn” sessions through the end of next month.