Sit A Spell

This looks like a great place to sit and read a book or plan an adventure. I’m eight books behind in my 2021 Goodreads Reading Challenge so a peaceful place to read sounds incredible.

This lake is my go-to place to walk so I literally have never sat down here for even a minute. In fact, you rarely see anyone sitting on the benches around the lake. Is life really so busy that we don’t have time to sit and relax on a gorgeous fall day?

Seems kind of silly, doesn’t it?

One Dollar Book Swap

You know how we teach children not to take candy from strangers or go with them to find a lost puppy? I evidently need a refresher course as I found myself going to the oddest place for the promise of bargain books Saturday morning. One Dollar Book Swap is located in the back of a building in an industrial neighborhood in Dayton.

The maps app on my phone was directing me to turn at a place that clearly isn’t a bookstore and I was convinced she was lost. It was a little confusing and somewhat troubling at first but it worked out great!

Luckily, there’s a sign on the building that directs you down a gravel driveway to the back where there’s a loading dock entrance to what can only be described as used book paradise.

This is a no frills kind of place with a selection of over 200,000 books and no price tags because everything is just one dollar. They also have a large selection of dvds and it’s all neatly organized by category.

It would be especially nice if you have kids, including older ones who like chapter books. I enjoyed searching for vintage Little Golden books and found a number of treasures throughout the store. In fact, these aren’t junk books. I found some best sellers as well as some really obscure stuff. My best treasure though was the Forks Over Knives Cookbook that retails for like $30. It’s in great shape and, yep, was just a dollar.

I’m glad I went. Next trip I may take a few things to trade in for store credit. It seems like a good way to unload a few unwanted items for new materials.

Want to go? They’re located at 1723 Webster Street in Dayton. Find them on Facebook for hours and updates!

Happiness Is….

Happiness is a good book, a thunderstorm and an early bedtime. This new-to-me author has been surprisingly good and I’m on the edge of my seat, ready for the rest of the story.

Sadly, life has been too busy lately to do much reading so I take advantage of whatever free time is available after work to plow through.

What small thing brings you happiness?

Limited Horizons

Several days ago, I wrote about the National Comedy Center and how I didn’t especially enjoy it. I’ve noticed a recent trend in conversations both on and offline that are reminiscent of the philosophy behind this museum.

The Comedy Center uses artificial intelligence to show visitors comedy they will find appealing based on their individual tastes. This is accomplished through a kiosk where visitors create a comedy ID by selecting the comics, actors, tv shows, movies, comic strips, etc. that the visitor enjoys.

Some of the choices seemed rather obscure to me. Some looked like things I might enjoy or want to learn about. Some of the older choices made me wonder how familiar the average guest is with their work. Would a young person enjoy Charlie Chaplin if they were exposed to his brand of entertainment? What trendy podcast might I enjoy if I ever heard it?

The point is that our tastes are developed based on what we believe is the best of what we already know. Unfortunately, we don’t know what we don’t know and, at a museum kiosk, may discount something we would enjoy because we aren’t familiar with it. This skews the formula used to entertain us.

Is this why I went to this museum? To see more of the same stuff I know I’ll like? I actually went hoping to expand my horizons and maybe find some new laughs rather than view a greatest hits of material already in my consciousness. The museum areas where I discovered new stuff were the ones where I didn’t scan my ID. Scanning that ID was a guarantee that I would be shown clips of things I already like.

Instead of expanding my horizons, it felt like this place limited mine.

It probably sounds like I’m picking on the Comedy Center and that’s not the intent. After all, it is a beautiful space with some great stuff and that embraces technology in a truly unique way. It would just be nice to see them help visitors embrace something new.

This isn’t the only place I’ve had these thoughts lately. I belong to a few book clubs on Facebook where I’m noticing a similar trend. Members will post requests for recommendations that are prefaced by a phrase like ” I only read historical fiction” or they only read a certain author or won’t read nonfiction at all. They read a book they liked and want to read another one just like it.

This always catches my eye because it’s so far removed from my own way of thinking. You bet I’ll obsess over the work of a single author if it’s good. However, I read a lot of other things too.

It’s wonderful to be passionate about something but life would be awfully dull if we just stuck with what we already know. Personally, I’m interested in most everything and don’t want to limit myself to just the comedians I already like or the books I’m sure will please.

Maybe I’m the weird one but it’s just such a big world out there – I can’t imagine not wanting to explore it.

What are your thoughts? I would love to hear them!

Greenville Carnegie

The Carnegie Library in Greenville, Ohio is still in use as a library and has this statue outside.

Isn’t it delightful? Reading really does open up the world and make life more enjoyable.

This library has been well maintained and expanded over more than a century to suit community needs. I read an article about the building where the library director said that new isn’t always better.

Of course, this made my heart sing.

Sometimes our rich history wins and the gorgeous buildings of our past live on.

I’ve stumbled into three Carnegie libraries in the last couple of weeks and have shared something about each of them. Scroll back through my page here to find the others and trust that I’ll move on to something else tomorrow!

Do You Believe In Resolutions?

What’s your stance on New Year’s Resolutions?

Studies show that about sixty percent of us make resolutions but only about eight percent of us follow through on them.

I’m a planner and a goal setter so I usually have two or three of varying size.

One of my 2020 resolutions was to read 100 books. Check!

Another was to travel as much as possible with a couple of big trips in mind along with some weekend getaways. That clearly didn’t work out.

And there were some smaller ones that fell to the wayside but others came to light as the year progressed. For example, I log the miles that I hike and intentionally walk every day and am very close to reaching 500 miles.

Planning is in my nature and one of my stronger skills. I’m good at breaking down a large project into small pieces that can be completed in phases. Sadly, 2020 sort of beat the desire to plan right out of me.

And yet, here I am, contemplating goals for the new year. It isn’t productive to wait for the flip of a calendar page to start but a new year feels like a fresh start and an irresistible opportunity to take a run at planning again.

The picture above is from a Denver sidewalk. Most of us will never make it to the moon. But what’s the phrase? Shoot for the moon and even if you miss, you’ll land among the stars.

Reading, walking and traveling may not get me to the moon or the stars but these things will give me opportunity to improve myself and that’s pretty good too.