Maybe it was the pandemic, maybe it was the political cycle, but no matter what happened last year, something sent me looking someplace else to spend time.
To be honest, I still spend time checking out politics and worrying about the pandemic — it’s just that since the spring of last year, I’ve found something better to do — read books.
Reading has always been one of my favorite pastimes. Unfortunately, for many years, making time to sit and read a book took a backseat to family matters, running a business, or playing golf. Those are all important things that I simply chose to prioritize over reading for pleasure.
Where I’m now at in life; family grown, business sold, golf played, offers the opportunity to once again invest more time with my nose in a book. Since the first shutdown back in mid-March, more than 40 books have been consumed by Rob Ford, avid reader. So what does Rob like to read, you’re hopefully asking?
Well oddly enough, listening to a podcast sparked this reading spurt. A podcast by the author Malcolm Gladwell led me to check out his newest book, “Talking to Strangers.” Having read that one, I quickly dispatched a few other Gladwell books, “Blink,” “David and Goliath,” “Outliers” and “The Tipping Point.”
His books are easy reads and are always great at taking large ideas and breaking them down to my level.
In this same vein, I enjoyed Michael Lewis’ “The Fifth Risk.”
Between having those bones to chew on, I began reading books by authors including Harlan Coben, Lee Child, David Baldacci, and Dan Brown. Those writers dependably deliver fun page-turners that don’t necessarily cause my gears to grind like Gladwell, but stimulate the imagination so well.
Tara Westover’s “Educated,” Mitch Albom’s “Finding Chika,” and Khalid Hosseini’s “The Kite Runner” were a bit deeper in substance but time well spent reading.
Another author that I enjoyed this year is Bill Bryson — “At Home,” “The Body,” “A Walk in the Woods,” and “Notes from a Small Island” are all books by him that I totally disappeared into. The first two explain parts of your house and parts of your body in interesting ways. The last two detail his trips across the Appalachian Trail and the United Kingdom, respectively. If you haven’t picked up one of his books, do yourself a favor and try one.
In between modern works, I try to squeeze in a “great book.” On my way out of a local high school last March, knowing that I might be gone awhile, I grabbed copies of John Steinbeck’s “ Travels With Charley” and Achebe’s “Things Fall Apart.”
I’m not sure why, but prior to the fall election cycle/debacle I had the foresight to read once again George Orwell’s “Animal Farm’’ and Mark Twain’s “A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court.” Unlike the content of a modern world, they both remind you that the corruption of power and the idiocy of governmental leaders isn’t anything particularly new.