The world is a crazy place and we think it’s more important than ever to have hobbies. Hobbies are more than just a way to pass time; they offer many different life enriching benefits, like stress relief, increased happiness, or skill development. They offer an outlet outside of work and personal relationships to provide personal growth and discovery.

This is why we encourage all of our employees at DiRAD to find the hobby they’re passionate about. This month’s Company Spotlight is focused on Readers of DiRAD! Those that love to escape into a book, whether it’s physical, e-reader, or listening!

Tell us a little about your favorite genre of books. Why do you love it?

Kirsten B: I love reading horror, biographies, true crime and psychological thrillers, but I’m also a softy for a rom com/meet cute books.

Kim S: Mysteries & Thrillers – I love twists & turns that keep me engaged & wanting more but I read many different genres.

Madison J: Dystopian, I love diving into the story and being taken into a new world.

Brooke S: Fantasy is my all-time favorite genre. Love a dystopian universe or a contemporary romance here and there too.

Emma W: I really love all genre books. I love how science fiction keeps re-imagining the future technologically while still considering how we ethically and socially interact with nature and with each other. I really love a good mystery fiction and seeing how the author has woven in suspense and creates narrative tension. Epic Poetry is also delightful for feeling connected to people throughout history. How stories told hundreds if not thousands of years ago still have emotional weight and beautiful storytelling.

What got you interested in it?

KB: I wasn’t big on tv when I was kid, I really just liked reading. One day I had read through all my chapter books and picked up my moms copy of “A Walk to Remember” by Nicholas Sparks – to say that was the moment I fell in love with reading is an understatement.

KS: I’ve been reading for years! I find it to be calming & relaxing.

MJ: Movies! I recently watched the new Hunger Games movie and decided to dive back into the franchise. 

BS: I read Harry Potter in 4th grade and never looked back. I went to every midnight release party at Barnes & Noble and found other series/books to keep me reading inbetween.

EW: Honestly, probably sitcoms. I love how in Frasier the plots were so predictable yet so compelling. I was curious how sometimes predictability falls flat and how sometimes it just adds color and nuance to the action of a scene.

What misconceptions do you think exist around it that keep people from participating/reading?

KB: That reading makes you nerdy! There are so many different genres of books, there’s literally something for everyone. You don’t have to hang out in a library, although having a library card does give you access to ebooks and audiobooks!

KS: It’s not really a misconception but I think people might not read because they haven’t found what pulls them in.

MJ: That it’s boring. You need to find what genre speaks to you, and it’s hard to put it down.

BS: A lot of people try reading one book that they’ve been recommended, get bored, and think that reading isn’t for them. I fully believe that they just haven’t found the right book to hook them.

EW: I think people can think of genre books as schlocky fluff for kids (or that maybe used to be the attitude) but there’s a lot of complexity hidden behind a weird pretense.

What are some of your favorite books? Why?

KB: Fahrenheit 451 and The Veldt by Ray Bradbury – forever my all time favorite. It gives you something to think about as the world is ever changing.

KS: I don’t really have a favorite book, but I have a few recommendations that I recently read – The Housemaid by Freida McFadden, Heart Bones by Colleen Hoover and Before We Were Yours by Lisa Wingate.

MJ: Hunger Games series, I love seeing the stories play out in my head after watching the story on the big screen.

BS: The latest series to hook me was A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J Mass. The wholes series is great, but if someone wants a great standalone fantasy, I’d recommend The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue by V.E. Schwab. Then, if anyone likes the Harry Potter universe and is willing to dip their toes into fanfiction, Manacled by SenLinYu is a masterpiece.

EW: The Man Who Came in From the Cold by John Le Carre for how quickly and nonchalantly he established character and drama. Piranesi by Susanna Clarke for being stunningly beautiful. Roadside Picnic by Arkady and Boris Strugatsky for being so starkly weird and philosophical at the same time. Craeft by Alex Langlands for a heartfelt look at historical tools and practices. A whole host of others.

What do you prefer: physical book or Kindle/e-reader?

KB: I’m a sucker for both. But since having my daughter, I lean on my Kindle a lot more than I had in the past. It’s just more convenient to put down while doing other things.

KS: Physical books (or Audiobooks when I’m doing housework).

MJ: Physical 

BS: Both. I’m guilty of purchasing the physical book, then downloading the digital copy to my iPad out of convenience. I love a pretty bookshelf, but iPads/Kindles are great for reading at night.

EW: Physical books. I used to be a purist about trying to keep books pristine but lately I’ve found a lot of value of marking up books with notes and thoughts and underlining passages to really have a conversation with them. I like the tangibility of physical books. The smell of old paperbacks. I have a copy of my dad’s paperback Lord of the Rings from the 60s and they smell, well, like old books. Vanillin. The other physical senses that are engaged makes it, personally, a more pleasurable experience.

How many books do you think you read per year?

KB: Last year I read 75! This year my goal is 100. Fun Fact – if you google my name the only thing that comes up is my GoodReads profile!

KS: 5 or 6 physical books (more if I include audiobooks)

MJ: In past years, zero! This year, I’ve read two so far and am hoping to read 10!

BS: I’m terrible at updating my GoodReads so it’s hard to be accurate, especially because I love to read new fanfictions that get recommended to me between traditional books. I would estimate 50-75 books a year!

EW: From Storygraphs I think I average about 32 a year, but I’ve been trying to target a less is more approach and sink my teeth into some longer reads. One of these days I really want to get around to Don Quixote.

Describe your perfect reading space. (ex. Quiet room, cozy blanket, cup of tea)

KB: In the winter/fall, I like to hide myself in the corner of my sectional with my heated blanket, in the spring/summer – I will literally read everywhere.

KS: If the book is interesting, I can read anywhere!

MJ: Sitting on the couch cozied up in a blanket with something fun to drink!

BS: Sit on a cozy couch, with a blanket, a pillow to prop up the book/iPad in my lap, my dog or cat cuddled at my side, a fizzy drink nearby, and either a nice playlist or a comfort show on in the background. If it’s raining outside? Perfection.

EW: An actual reading chair with an ottoman, a side table for a cup of tea, a window that shows an absolute torrential downpour on the other side. And friends reading their own books nearby so we can stop and take breaks and talk or have someone to exclaim to about what we’re reading.

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