Saturday, February 18, 2012

Returning

You could say I've been on a sabbatical from books and blogs lately. I've still been reading and interwebsing, just in very small, more infrequent sessions. Mostly, I've been engaging in lots of selfish , time wasting pursuits, wallowing in lots of self-pity, and drinking lots and lots of hot chocolate. I suppose sabbaticals are supposed to be self-improving and rejuvenating, so I suppose a sabbatical is not exactly what I've been doing.

I'm not one of those super organized, proactive people. I find that I fall into ruts fairly easy and have a mess trying to climb my way out. Sometimes I don't even realize when I've fallen into a rut, but then I wake up one day and realize that I'm 9 pounds heavier than I thought I was (and what I thought I was is still heavier than I'd like to be), I don't remember the last time I actually cooked dinner, my almost 5 year old son is no closer to potty training or recognizing his letters, my greatest recent achievement involves camels, and I haven't finished reading a book in months.

Picking up a book seems like a great place to start. Somehow, I always seem to find myself in just about anything I read. My own goals and values seem so much clearer and attainable while reading the struggles and accomplishments of others, fictional or not. Books help me gain perspective in my life, often more than anything else. It's also a worthwhile and stimulating way to spend my free time.

Fortunately the books I've picked up recently are all books that are particularly great for climbing out of a rut.

My husband recommended that I read The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, by Stephen R. Covey. I had, of course, heard about this book before but never thought it would be a book that interested me or even one that applied to me. I really thought it was one of those "management" books for business people to feel more self-important about themselves than many of them already do. It's completely the opposite of my expectations and I am enjoying using it as a tool to review the own direction my life is taking.

I also have a goal to work through the books on my shelves that I have never read, most of these are religous books that either Seth brought into our marriage or I owned but never got around to reading. One of these is Spiritual Plateaus by Glenn L. Pace. I enjoy the approach this book takes toward gospel principles. The style is neither overly simple or overly scholarly, but is much more conversational than many similar books. It's easy to focus on the depths of the principles without having to sift through heavy, eye blearing language.

I always need a fiction book in my life, so I am also reading Shades of Grey by Jasper Fforde. Fforde ranks very high on my list of favorite authors and someday I will dedicate and official blog post to his works. For now suffice it to say that his works are a thought provoking critique of self and society, but are also silly, fun, and laugh-out-loud humorous from beginning to end. I am finding Shades of Grey a little slower and harder to get into than the Thrusday Next series, but that is perhaps simply because I have become comfortable to Thrusday's world. Fforde is a master of creating a world that is slightly "off" from our own, but bringing us into it as though everything were perfectly normal. I look forward to unraveling all the little mysteries of Chromaticia that I don't yet understand.

I'm glad to be getting back on the wagon and look forward to lots of self-improving hours of reading, pontificating, and reflecting.