Reading book while drinking coffee

During the school year, one might get carried away with the long list of to-do’s that never seem to end. You finish one assignment, and just when you think you can breathe easy and relax, the realization of other upcoming deadlines sets in.

And just like this we get stuck in an endless cycle of keeping up with deadlines that we begin to neglect some of our most treasured hobbies that with time they start to become forgotten.

Speaking from experience, there were times where I avoided picking up a new book for the sole reason that I thought myself too busy to be able to finish it. Just like this, a cycle began of me finding excuses on why I couldn’t spend a few minutes of my day doing what I loved most: reading.

But now that summer break has come around, what better way to spend one’s free time than indulging in one’s favorite activities without worrying about being on the clock. Even those who will spend the majority of their break working could manage to spend a few moments getting back into their long forgotten hobbies.

Not only is break a good time to get back into one’s old hobbies, but it also gives the opportunity to pick up new ones. Who knows, maybe you’ve always had a hobby that piqued your interest, but you considered yourself too busy to give it a try. Well, now what will be your excuse not to try it?

Although you might love a specific hobby of yours, and consider it to be one of the things that makes you yourself, there are times when doing them repeatedly can make you lose your interest towards that hobby. Sometimes one gets tired of the same old routine, so why not spice it up with a new hobby? Maybe you’re into Do-It-Yourself crafts, and considering the wide variety of DIY projects out there, the range of all the possible things you could make is infinite.

On the beneficial side of it, it is to no surprise that hobbies function as great stress relievers, but there are also many more benefits to having a hobby, like allowing yourself to explore undiscovered talents as well as interests. You open yourself to the opportunity of meeting new people with the same interests as you which could prove to be beneficial when strengthening relationships with others.

If you come to find out that a hobby isn’t for you, don’t let that stop you from trying something else. Trying something is better than not trying it at all. Make a list of activities you want to try before summer break comes to a close: knitting, fishing, drawing/painting, photography, the list is endless. Whether you plan on spending your summer break working, vacationing, taking summer classes, etc, take the time to rejoice in new –– as well as the old –– hobbies.

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Steve Gregg

Some good fun easy-reading beach reads:

A Night To Remember, by Walter Lord
Lord was just an ordinary working guy who wrote to Titanic survivors, who wrote back about their experience. People wrote letters back then. He assembled them into a narrative for this ultimate book about the sinking of the unsinkable ship.

Oranges, by John McPhee
McPhee planned to write a magazine article about oranges but ran into so much interesting stuff that he wrote a book. It turns out that oranges are a fascinating fruit along with the people who tend them. The entire book is worth reading for the one anecdote about the man who demanded that his arm be cut off. Your assumptions, good or bad, can lead to wonderful or terrible results.

The Corpse Had A Familiar Face, by Edna Buchanan
Buchanan was the homicide reporter for the Miami Herald when Mariel boatlift flooded Florida with Cuban criminals who would shoot your dead for honking your horn. This books is a distillation of weirdest homicides related in a paragraph or a page so that you hardly need any brain cells to read it. She tells of the hungry man who died when his order of chicken went wrong and the guy who was shot dead at his birthday party by his daughter’s boyfriend and so many more. It’s funny in a horrible way.

All the Bill O’Reilly “Killing” books are pretty good and easy reading, if a bit sweet and bubbly like soda pop. I recommend all of them.

If you prefer something a little more substantial, then:

Empire of the Summer Moon, by SC Gwynne
Tells the fascinating story of the Comanches and one of their chiefs, Quanah Parker, who was something of a genius. The book was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize.

A Dawn Like Thunder, by Robert Mrazek
Mrazek tells the story of US Navy Torpedo Squadron Eight, half of which was lost on a futile attack on the Japanese carriers off Midway, which paradoxically, helped sink them by distracting their fighter cover. You’ll be hooked by the second page. The other, lesser half fought a desperate struggle to defend Guadalcanal. Mrazek tells it straight, how our mistakes led to victory and the coverup that made heroes of dunces. Interestingly enough, he also tells the true story of command madness that inspired “The Caine Mutiny.” The strawberries were actually binoculars.

The Looming Tower, by Lawrence Wright
The whole story and backstory of the Muslim Sep 11 attacks told like a novel, from Sayyid Qutb’s outrage at sinful Greeley, CO to John O’Neill doing his job in the World Trade Center. Perhaps the most frustrating moment in the story is when the CIA and FBI met, where the CIA had a folder with the names of two of the future skyjackers who had entered America but they could not pass it two feet across the table to the FBI because of federal law against cooperation between the two agencies. Winner of the Pulitzer Prize. There’s also a fictionalized mini-series based on this book on Hulu.

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