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Life in Retirement: Books, glorious books


Reading has been one of the greatest pleasures throughout my life. Quite certainly, I’ve stated that to you before, so it’s not new information! But I know it’s a life priority that many, many of us share – and what has become clear to me through the book exchanges, conversations and gifts over the holiday season is that we are reading for many grand reasons. We’re escaping into fiction, for sure, but we’re reading to better understand those around us, to gain clear and accurate information on world events, and to increase positivity in our lives.

I love the people who have started a TBR Jar – a plain old jar you fill with slips of paper containing titles of the books you own but haven’t read yet, or the books on your list that you’ve been wanting to get to. When you close one book and are ready to start another, you simply dip into the jar to direct you to the next book that awaits you. It’s a simple and fun way to add yet another element of engagement in your private reading journey.

I encountered another novel (pun intended) idea in the summer, when I was invited as ‘the author guest’ to the very first book club meeting of an amazing group of women in Red Deer. That was exciting enough, but then they presented me with a gift of a multi-time used book called Simple Abundance: a daybook of comfort and joy. The book itself provides great short passages that complement my approach to life, but the idea of gifting it with all the other inscriptions that had been made for other people over the years was extraordinary to me.

Before I even read the first page, I spent considerable time pouring over the messages and signatures for other people. They were all full of gratitude and positivity towards strangers who had once held the book and then let it go back into the universe to continue on its journey. The book club folks simply crossed off the most recent recipient’s name and scribbled mine, along with a note of thanks. Well, thank YOU for showing me such a meaningful way of celebrating the gift and power of a single book. Gone are the days when we feel compelled to always buy new. Books are clearly meant to be shared, the same book can be experienced through different hands and lives, and knowing some of its history only adds to the richness of the experience.

So, during these cold months when we allow ourselves a bit more time to hunker down with a hot cup of tea and a good book, don’t be too quick to dismiss those older more experienced copies on the shelf. Their own journey is also part of the story they tell!

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