Hobbies of Quarantime

A few weeks ago, I wrote about how my (newly developed) routines helped me cope with the ECQ. Whereas exercise and plant care were hobbies driven by necessity (I couldn’t allow myself to use ECQ as an excuse not to work out, and, well, someone needed to water the plants; otherwise, they would die…), I also cultivated other interests to keep positive during ECQ.

Books

This shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone. I love reading books, and I made it a point to read at least one chapter before sleeping as part of my night-time routine. (It was nice to end the day doing something I enjoyed since I was forced to welcome work into my home.)

During that two-month period, I read six books, including some that I didn’t love. I finally read books that had been sitting in my tbr pile for months (ok, years) and nonfiction books that I hadn’t gotten to for months (not years for this one at least).

Here are the books I read during this time:

Wine

Another hobby I unexpectedly picked up was learning about wine. It started off with an invitation to join an online wine masterclass hosted by AWC, and I got hooked. For some of the classes, I purchased the featured wines, but as I built out my stash, I began joining just to learn more about the lingo and culture.

I miss the days when it was so easy to drive to a winery. Since I lived in the SF Bay Area, I was spoiled with having Napa, Sonoma, and Livermore just two hours away (by driving). Well, anyway, I can still have my wine. On the plus side, I now have friends who have introduced me to wines from around the world.

Here are my favorite (non-California) wines:

  • Allan Scott Pinot Noir
  • Joseph Drouhin Laforet Bourgogne Chardonnay
  • Warwick The First Lady Cabernet Sauvignon

I’m still exploring though—I have more to taste! I recently downloaded the Vivino app to catalog the new wines I try, and I’ve been having fun with it.

Korean Dramas

Sometimes I can’t believe how hooked I am with kdrama. After I watched my first ever kdrama, Romance is a Bonus Book, (around this time) last year, I told myself that I should avoid them like the plague because I got too invested in the drama. In February of this year, I saw my sister watching Crash Landing on You (CLOY), and after seeing one episode, I decided to binge-watch it. I finished CLOY in 1.5 days… So, as I’ve said to myself before, kdrama is a trap. Yet do I listen to myself? Nope. I watched more.

Here are my kdramas of ECQ:

  • Goblin
  • Touch Your Heart
  • The King [in progress]
  • Itaewon Class [in progress]

Now that I’m deep into my kdrama obsession, try and stop me from watching more. Goblin is my current all-time favorite, but let’s see how The King turns out. Maybe I can live my kdrama life, too?

Smarter Faster Better by Charles Duhigg

There’s nothing like a nonfiction book to bring you back to reality after having read fantasy. I’ve just finished Smarter Faster Better, and I found it just alright. A little background here: Duhigg’s previous book, The Power of Habit, was the book that got me interested in nonfiction, so I was a little disappointed in how Smarter Faster Better turned out.

Since I’ve been reading psychology books here and there, I found the first two chapters a little lackluster. I thought to myself: I’ve read this somewhere before… I hope the rest of the book isn’t like this. Well, I’m glad that it takes a lot for me to decide not to finish a book because the middle chapters of Smarter Faster Better had some interesting concepts on using mental images and stretch and SMART goals. I even enjoyed reading some of the stories that gave context to Duhigg’s overarching ideas. (I particularly enjoyed the backstory to Frozen and the corporate culture of General Motors.)

Overall, there were maybe only two or three chapters that I liked. Most of the book fell flat to me. I found that the ideas did not flow well from chapter to chapter—each chapter could stand independently; I didn’t see the point of the book since none of the chapters built upon each other. I really wanted to like the book because I still think The Power of Habit is a good book to learn about habits, but Smarter Better Faster simply isn’t for me.

The Secret Commonwealth (The Book of Dust #2) by Philip Pullman

As I’d mentioned in my review of La Belle Sauvage (The Book of Dust #1), I decided to (finally) read the series when I saw paperback copies of The Secret Commonwealth (The Book of Dust #2) in bookstores. What? There were already paperbacks of book 2 out, and I still hadn’t read book 1?! OK, time to read. And then after reading book 1, I tried to hunt down hardbacks of book 2, but couldn’t find one. Thankfully, my friend introduced me to Book Depository, from where I ordered this specific edition. (Having consistent editions sparks joy in my life.)

The events in The Secret Commonwealth occur twenty years after La Belle Sauvage and eight after His Dark Materials. I admit that I could benefit from rereading His Dark Materials (I read it more than ten years ago…), but Philip Pullman tied all of the characters and events so well in The Book of Dust #1 and #2 that I was able to recall the backstories as I read on.

The Secret Commonwealth was almost perfect, except that it felt too much like a lead in to a third book. But I appreciate. I’m going to rave about certain events in the book, so I will tell you now that this post has spoilers.

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