Hi, it’s Sabrina here! Today I want to talk to you about six books that inspired me to try and pick up a new hobby – a.k.a. Six Times Sabrina Got Extremely Carried Away Fantasising About Her Future Because of a Book. What I mean by this, is that the book had me daydreaming and researching for weeks before – for the most part – I gave up. These books all had a huge impact on me by making me want to learn new things and actually kept me productive for a little while and I’m going to tell you exactly how. I’ve got six books to talk to you about, in no particular order.
THE WALLS AROUND US BY NOVA REN SUMA
Though The Walls Around Us, one of my favourite books I read in 2019, is not really about ballet, it does feature quite a bit. It follows the story of three teen girls and the way their lives are intertwined in a mysterious and thrilling way. Fortunately for me, the hobby this book inspired me to research was not killing people, but ballet dancing. I loved how ballet has such a huge impact on the characters’ lives, and how it made them so passionate and competitive. For weeks, I thought I wanted that too. I remembered how badly I wanted to try ballet when I was a young kid, and how I never got the chance to try. So, after a couple of weeks of obsessing, I decided to look up some Youtube at-home tutorials. And you know what I discovered? I thought beginners ballet was absolutely, mind-numbingly boring.
EVERYTHING LEADS TO YOU BY NINA LACOUR
I put off reading this book for years because I thought it was going to be a simple romance that I wouldn’t enjoy. I’m so glad I ended up picking it up though, because it isn’t all that simple and it is super cute! It also features a main character, Emi, that works as a set designer for movies which really intrigued me and made me feel creative. It is so clear that Emi adores her job and puts her heart and soul into dressing sets in the perfect way. For a little while in high school, I thought maybe one day I would be an interior designer, and this book made me think about different ways I could get a job that involved decorating rooms. Of course, it’s not as simple to get those jobs as it is for Emi in the book, who hasn’t even completed high school before she becomes employed. My research told me it requires a degree from university and though there were a few different degree options, I didn’t want to make a big life decision like that based solely on inspiration from a book I read.
A DUKE BY DEFAULT BY ALYSSA COLE
This contemporary romance is one of the few books I’ve rated 5 stars this year and one of the reasons for that is how completely it captured my imagination with the premise – Portia from New York moves to Scotland to take up a sword making apprenticeship at an old armoury. This remains an integral part of the story and isn’t simply swept aside to focus on the romance (though that was equally enjoyable) and… I still want to do this apprenticeship so badly!!! Obviously, I don’t have the resources to start simply creating swords, and research has turned up precious little other options in my area – and in these times, all the courses have been postponed anyway. Still, I thought, why not look up some sword fighting tutorials on Youtube? I have an empty wrapping paper roll that I can swing about, so surely I could do this at least? A quick google search reveals that no, it’s essentially pointless to try and learn sword fighting on your own because you need a teacher to correct your form – as with any martial art, apparently.
A CURSE SO DARK AND LONELY BY BRIGID KEMMERER
After the last book, it should not surprise you that this book inspired in me a desire to take up knife throwing. Yes – of the two big hobbies featured in this wonderful Beauty and the Beast retelling, my mind latched on to knife throwing rather than playing cards. In my mind’s defence, I do hate gambling, so I guess the choice was natural – though if you asked my parents, they’d probably say I’m scared of knives too. Anyway, after a few weeks of considering myself tough enough to try and learn the skill of knife-throwing and thinking about how cool it would be to have that random ability in a society that has absolutely no need for it, I returned to my senses and continued with my normal life – there were no google searches needed for this one.
THE RAVEN CYCLE BY MAGGIE STIEFVATER
The Raven Cycle is so hyped up that I don’t think I need to tell you what it’s about and why I love it, but I will anyway. It follows a group of friends on their search for a dead Welsh king and I absolutely love all the characters and the beautiful writing style. I will also tell you that it’s not the only series of books that somehow convinced me I needed to learn Latin, but it did have the most significant impact – perhaps because I love Ronan so much. I just thought – and still think – that it would be amazing to know Latin, and that it would help with learning other languages. I went so far as to download apps on my phone that were supposed to help me and even checked out an entire textbook from the library. Unfortunately it is part of my personality that I struggle to stick with things for long periods of time, and I only ended up getting through a very small portion of the textbook before returning it to the library and putting the idea on hold. On that note, however, if there’s anyone reading this who would be interested in trying to learn Latin as well and would hold me accountable for doing learning activities, I would love your help!
STARFISH BY AKEMI DAWN BOWMAN
Why not end this post with the hobby I actually kind of stuck with? Starfish features a main character named Kiko who loves to draw and paint and dreams of getting into a prestigious art school. Almost every chapter ends with Kiko describing something she has created that day and I totally fell in love with those descriptions (along with Kiko herself and most of the rest of the book). Something in the universe must have been telling me to try some painting, because in the same month (June, 2019), one of my favourite makeup Youtubers, RawBeautyKristi, uploaded this video where she followed a watercolour painting tutorial. From there, the Youtube algorithm took over from the universe and I discovered a lot of Youtube channels that focused solely on watercolour painting – my first favourite of these was kelogsloops and to this day, I still get ridiculously excited when he uploads (it’s rare). So, I did some research and bought myself some cheap watercolour paints, brushes and paper from Kmart in August 2019 and you can still find me painting with those today (though I have also picked up some more expensive supplies). I have attempted to do some drawing as well, but I quickly decided that was not fun enough for the work I had to put into it, lol, so I paint simple things or trace printouts. Painting brings me a lot of relaxation and joy, and I have Starfish to thank for that!
What do you think?
Have you read any books that have inspired you to research a hobby, or even pick it up yourself? Do you already have any of the skills on my list? Would you like to learn Latin with me? Let me know!