Through all the changes in life, I have carried my original hobby, my endless source of inspiration and wanderlust and knowledge: reading! Summer reading is a thing for me. So is back-to-school reading, winter reading, and spring reading. It can get tricky finding new material (in English) abroad, so I have relied on my ibooks and good-old periodicals to keep me going. No War and Peace under my beach umbrella this year, so this isn’t that kind of list either.
It’s been a unique summer for me, from windy Caspian beach days to three-airports-in-one-day-days, and now my son’s first days of preschool are around the corner (they start so early here in Baku). Here are a few notable reads I enjoyed recently, for those who share my year-round love – or at least want something new to read once in awhile.
GOOD Quarterly Journal. I’ve been a fan of this publication for some time, but balked at a subscription renewal when the price jumped last year. Then a few months ago I ordered one online and it arrived just in time for my summer travels.
I was blown away by how much “meatier” the articles have become, the subject range, and the aesthetics. Articles titled “A Unified Theory of Pope Francis”, “A photo essay about what we can learn from hotel rooms”, and “visual homilies on Rage, Regret, Giving, Sleep, and Work” seem tailor-made for the Adaptation House reader. Sorry Vogue, maybe next year.
Above, spread from Good Spring 2015. Their line is “A Quarterly Journal for the Global Citizen”.
An Innocent Abroad: Life-Changing Trips from 35 Great Writers. I got this book as a free ibook download, with one of those Starbucks cards. At the time I just needed something to read while waiting for some doctor’s appointments during my stateside visit, but I found myself returning to it again and again. Compiled by Lonely Planet, it’s a collection of non-fiction short stories about life-changing moments as a traveler. The stories are as eclectic as their authors, and I enjoyed them all. A book like this is also perfect for flights, trains, and being on the beach with kids, because you can pick it up and put it down in without having to re-orient yourself each time. You can of course order the paperback, and I’m usually a fan – but in this case I don’t think I missed out on anything with just the ibook.
The Foreign Service Journal July/August 2015. This issue has some pretty intense articles about the state of Foreign Service and overall, I’m loving the recent redesign. But wait, WAIT that’s ME in there!! I wouldn’t have had the chance to read this for another 3 month (thanks to the perfect storm of Pouch and mail forwarding) if someone on Trailing Houses had not pointed it out – A little blurb that includes me in an article titled “Foreign Service Furniture: The Good, the Bad and the Just Plain Ugly”. Tiny mention though it is, I’m thrilled to be included.
Really RELAXING Colouring Book series. People used to laugh back in art school when I said coloring books were therapeutic… well well well, what’s up now Professor?! Studies have shown that “The (coloring) action involves both logic, by which we color forms, and creativity, when mixing and matching colors. This incorporates the areas of the cerebral cortex involved in vision and fine motor skills (coordination necessary to make small, precise movements). The relaxation that it provides lowers the activity of the amygdala, a basic part of our brain involved in controlling emotion that is affected by stress. ” – psychologist Gloria Martinez Ayala, as quoted from this Huffington Post article.
Adult coloring is in full trend mode, and I intend to order all the stock I can get from Amazon before it jumps the shark. Ever tried it? Throw one of these in your next Prime cart and steal a few last hours of summer to experiment. Or take a break from all that unpacking (or worrying about when your stuff will arrive so you can start unpacking) to de-stress with one of these beauties.
I like to use Stabilo fine line pens rather than crayons or colored pencils for these, $16.52 for a set of 20 on Amazon.com.
Above, clockwise from top left: Really RELAXING Colouring Books 1, 3, 9, 8, 10 and 7, $6.95 each on Amazon.com.
What good reads did you find this summer? What’s your favorite way to de-stress before swimsuit season – or after moving season?