Girl running on mountain

7 Hobbies Perfect for Book Lovers (Besides Reading)

The pleasure we get from hobbies is second nature. Of course I spend my free time reading. Whether our hobbies relax our bodies, nourish our minds, or make us, somehow, stronger, there’s something innate within that activity we find enjoyable.

 

You have to wonder, then, what makes reading so enjoyable for us book lovers. To better understand what makes reading special, it’s necessary to analyze and compare it to similar hobbies. So here are 7 hobbies besides reading that are perfect for book lovers.

 

1. Listening to records

 

via GIPHY

 

The internet has made listening to whatever song whenever nearly effortless. Music streaming services like Spotify, Google Play, and SoundCloud have made it possible for anybody to listen to any song anytime they like. But there seems to be a renewed desire for the sort of listening experience only vinyl records can provide.

 

Why it’s a hobby for book lovers…

 

One of the reasons people love vinyl is not because it offers more than streaming, but because it offers less. A record lasts for a set amount of time with a set amount of songs which were written and arranged in a specific order. Compare this to streaming only your favorite tracks from your favorite artists. The deep cuts are skipped, and the context in which your favorite songs exist remains unknown. In this way, there’s something very novel-esque about listening to a record straight through with no distractions other than the spinning turntable. It’s a complete, pure experience communicated from the artist to the listener, just as a book goes from the author to the reader.

 

2. Hiking

 

Hiking

via Utah.com

 

Hiking mountain trails for fun is something people a long time ago would have laughed off. If you were, for example, a medieval Norwegian farmer, hiking a mountain meant possibly being eaten by wolves. But today there is, of course, a whole industry around the hobby. It’s a great time for anybody to take this up. Even Norwegian farmers.

 

Why it’s a hobby for book lovers…

 

It’s so familiar that it’s almost meaningless to say finishing a novel is like climbing a mountain, but there’s truth in it. Somehow, the comparison sounds almost insulting. As if both activities are purposelessly excessive. But it’s not reaching the mountain’s peak (or the novel’s end) that’s the reward. It’s the journey up. The beauty of a long hike is the focus on your footing, the measured weight on your back, and the people you pass along the way. If you’re sensing a pattern, it’s no accident. Book lovers like focus.

 

3. Doodling

 

via GIPHY

 

…specifically doodling. Illustrating, painting, or general drawing are not the same. Doodling is an exercise in resigning one’s imagination to their subconscious. It’s the drawing equivalent of free writing in one’s journal.

 

Why it’s a hobby for book lovers…

 

In a sense, books require you to give up. You’re letting the author control your head for a little while. The resignation involved in reading is similar to doodling. Whereas reading is a little more passive, doodling is active. If you’re looking for a way to put your brain to work without really doing anything besides moving your hand, pick up a pen, and free your head.

 

4. Meditating

 

Meditation

via Lil Lack Yoga

 

People who meditate are able to clear their heads, attain a higher level of focus, and generally relieve stress. Although on the outside it may not look like much, it takes an enormous amount of concentration. Folks who haven’t given meditation a shot might find sitting still with their eyes closed hard to do for more than a few minutes.

 

Why it’s a hobby for book lovers…

 

Doodling may require a certain disregard of conscious thought, but meditation often requires the opposite. Meditating forces people to acknowledge a line of thinking, and to brush it aside. There’s an element of intentionally losing one’s identity. Reading a book is similarly self-less. In the best books, readers completely lose their sense of self in the same way people who meditate do.

 

5. Playing an instrument

 

via GIPHY

 

Whether it’s piano, guitar, drums, piccolo, or theremin, creating music is one of the most satisfying things someone can do. Even if you’re bad. The idea of making something evocative from abstract sound waves has excited people basically always.

 

Why it’s a hobby for book lovers…

 

When someone picks up a book, no matter how long it is or what it’s about or who wrote it, they’re setting out on creating a world. If it’s a fantasy book, the reader may have the duty of erecting a school of witchcraft and wizardry using only their brain. If it’s a philosophy book, the reader has to construct the philosopher’s way of looking at the world. Part of reading is building something from scratch, using only the blueprint the writer’s given you. Playing an instrument is precisely the same thing. In that sense, any reader should be able to play a guitar with no problem!

 

6. Writing

 

Writer

via The Impact

 

Like many of the entries on this list, writing is a way to make something from nothing. Ultimately, writing is the transcription of speech. Not vocalized speech, but internal monologuing that the writer has. It’s an oddly self-obsessed practice, really. But, in the end, good writing is shared with good readers and everybody involved has a good experience.

 

Why it’s a hobby for book lovers…

 

It’s the other side of reading’s coin. To better understand why your favorite books are your favorites (and to find new favorites on the way), the best way is to open up the hood and look inside. Write a few rough drafts, put them aside, and re-read them later. They’ll be bad. That’s why they’re called rough drafts. But you’ll begin to understand how your favorite books were put together, and maybe even the thoughts that went into conceiving them. Unlike the rest of the list, this hobby won’t so much reflect your love of reading, but deepen it.

 

7. Running

 

runner

via The Independent

 

Everybody’s heard of the elusive “runner’s high.” But many who aren’t accustomed to running think it must be a myth. The prospect of getting anything close to a “high” while subjecting yourself to running long distances is absurd. But it does exist if you stick with it.

 

Why it’s a hobby for books lovers…

 

Renowned Japanese author Haruki Murakami dedicated an entire memoir to the arts of writing and running. It’s not unfamiliar to writers that running is a hobby well-suited to their sensibilities. But the same goes for readers, who use many of the same skills as writers. Unlike hiking, a run has no endpoint. The end is what you make it, and no two runs will be exactly the same. You will never exactly retrace your steps, or run exactly the same distance. The end of a run is almost meaningless. It’s the action of propelling yourself forward, and only barely paying attention to your physical exertion that makes running special. Once you’re attuned to the practice of running, it does not take long to abandon your body’s actions, and pay attention only to your mind. In the sense that you’re relieving yourself of your sense of self, running is a lot like meditation, and is perfect for book lovers for the same reasons that meditation is. But the difference is the tangible feeling of self-improvement many runners feel, which readers share as well.

 

In short, any hobby that forces you to at once focus and lose yourself is ideal for readers looking for variety. Now get back to reading! Or doing any of these other things…

 

Feature image by Kalen Emsley on Unsplash