Author Topic: Book Thread  (Read 24311 times)

Offline delalluvia

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Re: Book Thread
« Reply #10 on: April 30, 2006, 01:01:03 pm »
Henrypie

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I was in London for an academic year, experiencing depression.  The second apartment I lived in -- after I moved from a nicer one to save money -- was truly squalid: no heat; little furniture; fleas; a human poo right in front of the door downstairs one day.  But only just that once.  And of course I'm not sure it was a human poo.  But I'm kinda sure.

Ah, the charm of the city.  Actually the country and old houses are no better sometimes.  I lived in a tiny one bedroom converted 19th century carriage house for 3 years during my college years in central Texas.  Lovely, picturesque.

But recall that carriage houses in the 19th century are nowadays known as ‘garages’.  No insulation.  Inside the little house it grew to over 100 degrees F in the summer and below freezing in the winter.  One summer we got fleas and we could not get rid of them.  I was a poor student as well, but I could not afford an exterminator.  This was the country.  He would have had to do the house AND the yard AND my cats AND probably the neighbors’ yards AND wandering pets/critters as well (I had field mice and possums living under and around the house).

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The part about books: the only thing I liked about this apartment was that in the kitchen there was a cupboard crammed with books.  The previous tenant had left them.  During the winter I got the flu -- of course I got the flu.  So for a week I was so feverish and achy and miserable that I skipped all my classes and didn't leave the house, but I read and read of the books of the magic cupboard, huddled by the space heater in the kitchen.

I know you were miserable, but this reads rather romantically.

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1984 (Orwell)
A Thousand Acres (Smiley)
Moo (Smiley)
Breathing Lessons (Tyler)
A Patchwork Planet (Tyler)

The World According to Garp and A Widow for One Year, The Handmaid's Tale, West with the Night and Out of Africa, Rabbit, Run, The Corner, Wicked Women, Horse Heaven.

I’m afraid I’ve not read any Updike either.  I've read Out of Africa, a biography on Karen Blixen (forgot the name) and Silence will Speak (biography of Denys Finch Hatten) as I'm a nut about that era and area.  I also strongly identify with Blixen.  The Handmaid's Tale I read and it really creeps me out everytime the funny-mentalist religious freaks in this country start yipping and yapping. 

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Moo is such a delight.

I’ve heard about this book, but never read it.

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1984 wasn't such a good book for me to read then.  I was totally creeped out by scary futuristic London and how it didn't seem all that different from the London I was in.

It still is a creepy book.  I read this years ago.

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Sebastian Junger was on the Colbert Report the other night and he is HOT.  Movie star hot.

Yep, I think they tried to get him to do TV/movies, but he preferred to write.  With a name like that, I wonder what his friends call him?

Chan

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Del: (Or Ms Rain or Dela, or Lluvypie, or whatever.  I haven't yet found a diminutive that feels right for you.  What should I go with?  Can you think of one that you like?)

You can call me whatever you like.  [blushes]  I have to admit I prefer calling you Chan despite knowing your real name because it’s easy for me to remember.  In the world of slash fanfiction writing, the word ‘chan’ refers to the type of story where an adult has sex with an underage person.

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Well, when you move to London, you know where my house is.  Cross the Abbey road crosswalk so you're facing the studio, and turn left.  Keep walking for about thirty seconds, and you'll be there.  Number 24.  Watch out for the cat, she bites.

One landmark in my pictures of that area show a sign that says ‘Abbey House’.  What is that and is that close to your place?

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I forgot to write before about how much I loved Robin Lane Fox's book on Alexander.  It makes me laugh because every weekend in the Financial Times in the U.K., he has a column on.......gardening.  It's so great.  This erudite, tweed-wearing old fellow happily nattering on about aphids and bindweed, and debating the merits of Rosa Rugosa and Rosa Rugosa Alba.  Long live the English eccentric.

He is indeed!  He also wrote the ‘Making of Alexander’ book, which of course, makes it a read far and above other books of that type.  LOL!   So not only does he write about genteel subjects as aphids and bindweed, he also writes about how it wasn’t a big stretch to imagine Alexander going for soft dancing boy Bagoas, since after years on horseback, Hephaestion’s arse would have been as tough as saddle leather.

I read Clancy's Hunt for Red October and Sum of All Fears before Clancy got egomaniacal and ruined his Jack Ryan character.  There is a great part in Sum in which most Americans would do well to read.  The president has ordered the arrest of Jack Ryan who is trying to save the world, and when Ryan orders the captain/colonel to ignore the order and the officer protests that he can't, Ryan firmly reminds the officer that he took an oath to the Constitution and not the president!
« Last Edit: April 30, 2006, 01:04:40 pm by delalluvia »

Offline Front-Ranger

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Re: Book Thread
« Reply #11 on: April 30, 2006, 04:53:57 pm »
Thanks for all these wonderful recommendations. I'm printing out this thread for my next trip to the bookstore! I have very little time to read, and I spend about half of it rereading BBM! So your recommendations are very important to me. I have a few to add. First starting with nonfiction, there are two I wholeheartedly recommend for women. The first is The Alphabet vs. the Goddess, by Leonard Shlain. It is the most important book I've read for many years. It can get a bit scholarly though. Secondly, Women Who Run with the Wolves, by Denver's own Clarissa Pinkola Estes. I previously mentioned this to Becky as a book which reexamines old fables and fairy tales in terms of culture and myth.

Since I have little free time for reading, I often listen to books on tape. One that is mind-blowing is Jonathan Safren Froer's Extermely Loud and Incredibly Close. It is a Catcher in the Rye type of story about a young man living in New York after the 9-11 disaster. It is so good and better than his first book Everything is Illuminated which was a pretty good movie. Also, any of the books of Alexander McCall Smith, particularly those set in Botswana, are excellent to listen to.

If you like BBM (and u do, otherwise u wouldn't be here!) I bet you will also like Like Water for Chocolate. Although it is set in Mexico and doesn't have any gay themes, there are many parallels. Another book that I am reading right now that does have a gay theme is The Dreyffus Affair by Peter Lefcourt. Leslie (llnicoll) recommended it and I am finding it to be very good. Another excellent book with a gay theme, among others, is Jonathan Franzen's The Corrections. Finally, I also really liked Dave Eggers' A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius.

I also read a couple of excellent biographies recently. One was a recent bestseller about Gengis Khan. Amazingly, it was fascinating. Another biography was about Josephine, consort to Napoleon.
When you see the smiley face in the sky, the pandemic will be over!

Offline henrypie

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Re: Book Thread
« Reply #12 on: April 30, 2006, 10:00:20 pm »
Chantie-
The apartment I had to move out of because it was too expensive was very nice and about two blocks from the Willesden Green tube station. Zone 2, very close to the Royal Academy where I was taking the classes I skipped all the time.  Squalor-apartment: 79 Bruce Grove, closest tube stations were Seven Sisters and Tottenham Hale.  Opposite side of city, much farther from school, Zone 3 so my tube pass was more expensive.  Aside from the squalor of my particular flat, the neighborhood was vibrant, lots of fabulous cheap fresh produce markets.  Lots of racial tension, too.  A very good experience in some ways, but it was all through the chronic fog-pain of depression.  Yich.

So wait, you grew up in St. John's Wood?  I can just hear the Jubilee line lady saying it in her tight-ass little voice.  The next stop is St. John's Wood!  This train terminates at: Stanmore.

I went to the Sainsbury's at the Finchley Road stop regularly.

I'm about to watch Proof.  When my husband saw that Jake's in he groaned and said he ought to get me a "life-size Jake."  I think he meant like a cardboard cutout.  In any case, he's a good man.

Oooh hey -- I surely do recommend that you start with In the Beauty of the Lilies for Updike.  Has he won a Pulitzer?  A Nobel?  Yet?

Offline Chanterais

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Re: Book Thread
« Reply #13 on: May 01, 2006, 10:58:47 pm »
Sorry I went awol for a while.  Had to kill an exam dead.  And now that I've slain the beast, I'm back to reveling in this thread.  I love the stories that come out when people talk about their favourite books.  Like pieces of music, I guess we all associate certain novels with certain places, or certain times in our lives, and the people who were with us then.  We talk about the books we love, and in doing so we are telling about ourselves.

Yoooovia:

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You can call me whatever you like.  [blushes]  I have to admit I prefer calling you Chan despite knowing your real name because it’s easy for me to remember.  In the world of slash fanfiction writing, the word ‘chan’ refers to the type of story where an adult has sex with an underage person.

You know, I got comedically indignant when I first read this, and then remembered the crush I had on Jack Bowers, an eleven-year-old I babysat a few years ago.  I swear, if he'd been fifteen years older I wouldda married him.  He was so great.  Funny as hell.  But no, I didn't seduce him.  I did give him noogies, however.  And that is the extent of my pederasty.  So yes, Chan is just fine.  I like Chantie a lot too.

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One landmark in my pictures of that area show a sign that says ‘Abbey House’.  What is that and is that close to your place?

Yes, isn't that the sensationally ugly block of flats on the corner?  I seem to think it's a blue sign, right?  Go past that and hang a right.  There's a little street called Garden Rd. that you'd never notice if you weren't looking for it.  A few steps down there, you'll find a quiet, leafy little enclave away from the business of Abbey Rd., called Hamilton Gardens.  Ours is the one with the crimson door.  Knock, and come right in.

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I read Clancy's Hunt for Red October and Sum of All Fears before Clancy got egomaniacal and ruined his Jack Ryan character.

Oh, I'm in emphatic agreement!  Mr. Clancy's terrific if he sticks to the thriller stuff, but as soon as he starts thumping his Republican drum, I tune out.  Oh, and also when he starts rabbiting on about this new martial technology or the other.  Boring.  Flip, flip, flip.

Frontie:

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Thanks for all these wonderful recommendations. I'm printing out this thread for my next trip to the bookstore!

Oh, I know!  Isn't it great?  I made a list, but I've already lost it, which tells you something about me.  But I'll make another one, and tuck in into my wallet so I have it on hand whenever I pass a bookstore.  Like the Boy Scouts, I'll Be Prepared.

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Also, any of the books of Alexander McCall Smith, particularly those set in Botswana, are excellent to listen to.

I ain't religious, but I am evangelical about the Number One Ladies Detective Agency books.  You can't tell me that Mma. Ramotswe doesn't exist.  Of course she does!  To anyone who hasn't read them, run, don't walk to the nearest shop and get the first in the series, the above mentioned Number One Ladies Detective Agency.  Your world will immediately become a cheerier, better place.  You will also develop an unhealthy addiction to redbush tea, but I can't be held responsible for that.

Henrypie:

Oh yes, Willesden Green's very decent.  I have absolutely no idea where Seven Sisters is, but I'll be sure neverto go there. Forewarned is forearmed.

I just squealed with appreciate laughter when I read this:

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So wait, you grew up in St. John's Wood?  I can just hear the Jubilee line lady saying it in her tight-ass little voice.  The next stop is St. John's Wood!  This train terminates at: Stanmore.

You've got it exactly!  Word perfect!  I'm so impressed.  How long ago were you there?  If it was in the last six years, then that enormous Sainsbury's you shopped at is our local supermarket/eyesore.  Before then, there was a seriously crummy little Sainsbury's I wouldn't touch with a ten foot pole.  This is so funny.  I like to think of you patrolling the bread aisle.  I feel like we're connected through so many things, supermarkets being least among them.

Books:  to sedately celebrate having demolished my first exam, I am tucking myself up tonight with an old copy of The Sign of Four, a little Sherlock Holmes mystery courtesy of Herr Conan Doyle.  I anticipate fog, jangling carriages, ingenious solutions and dastardly villains.  Maybe a rabid dog in there somewhere.

Interesting facts: Sherlock Holmes never wore a deer-stalker hat, never smoked a pipe, and certainly never, ever uttered the immortal phrase "Elementary, my dear Watson."  Filthy lies.  It's all ornamentation by the movies.  Like cats, you just can't trust them.

Offline delalluvia

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Re: Book Thread
« Reply #14 on: May 01, 2006, 11:47:22 pm »
Chantie

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One landmark in my pictures of that area show a sign that says ‘Abbey House’.  What is that and is that close to your place?

Yes, isn't that the sensationally ugly block of flats on the corner?  I seem to think it's a blue sign, right?  Go past that and hang a right.  There's a little street called Garden Rd. that you'd never notice if you weren't looking for it.  A few steps down there, you'll find a quiet, leafy little enclave away from the business of Abbey Rd., called Hamilton Gardens.  Ours is the one with the crimson door.  Knock, and come right in.

Yes, it was a not attractive block of something.  Looked like an institution if you ask me.  Lovely lovely area.  Wish I could come by for a chat.

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I ain't religious, but I am evangelical about the Number One Ladies Detective Agency books.  You can't tell me that Mma. Ramotswe doesn't exist.  Of course she does!  To anyone who hasn't read them, run, don't walk to the nearest shop and get the first in the series, the above mentioned Number One Ladies Detective Agency.  Your world will immediately become a cheerier, better place.  You will also develop an unhealthy addiction to redbush tea, but I can't be held responsible for that.

I read the first one on my way home from London.  Sad to say, I was very disappointed.  I had saved it specifically to read on the plane so the atmosphere of the book could take me away.  While it was very people-oriented and a lovely set of new morality tales, the atmosphere I was looking for to immerse myself in was lacking.   :(

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I just squealed with appreciate laughter when I read this:

So wait, you grew up in St. John's Wood?  I can just hear the Jubilee line lady saying it in her tight-ass little voice.  The next stop is St. John's Wood!  This train terminates at: Stanmore.

You've got it exactly!  Word perfect!  I'm so impressed.  How long ago were you there?  If it was in the last six years, then that enormous Sainsbury's you shopped at is our local supermarket/eyesore.  Before then, there was a seriously crummy little Sainsbury's I wouldn't touch with a ten foot pole.  This is so funny.  I like to think of you patrolling the bread aisle.  I feel like we're connected through so many things, supermarkets being least among them.

Henrypie saying this also gave me such a jolt...you know? - I think it's homesickness I feel! - I so loved and got along so well in London, I feel like it's my 'real' home.  I shopped at the Sainsbury over on - I think it was - Buckingham Palace Rd when eating out got too costly.

« Last Edit: May 01, 2006, 11:48:54 pm by delalluvia »

Offline Chanterais

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Re: Book Thread
« Reply #15 on: May 02, 2006, 12:06:29 am »
Chantie
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I ain't religious, but I am evangelical about the Number One Ladies Detective Agency books.  You can't tell me that Mma. Ramotswe doesn't exist.  Of course she does!  To anyone who hasn't read them, run, don't walk to the nearest shop and get the first in the series, the above mentioned Number One Ladies Detective Agency.  Your world will immediately become a cheerier, better place.  You will also develop an unhealthy addiction to redbush tea, but I can't be held responsible for that.

I read the first one on my way home from London.  Sad to say, I was very disappointed.  I had saved it specifically to read on the plane so the atmosphere of the book could take me away.  While it was very people-oriented and a lovely set of new morality tales, the atmosphere I was looking for to immerse myself in was lacking.   :(

Well that's it.  We can't be friends.  No, look, I'm sorry, but it's just not on.  There are some lines I cannot cross.  Delalluvia! You're a woman of such taste!  How can you say such things?  Where is your heart?  I'm going off to pout in the corner now, and when I get back, you'd better have changed your mind, or our love affair is over.  And that would be sad, indeed.
 :D

Offline delalluvia

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Re: Book Thread
« Reply #16 on: May 02, 2006, 12:19:44 am »
Chantie
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I ain't religious, but I am evangelical about the Number One Ladies Detective Agency books.  You can't tell me that Mma. Ramotswe doesn't exist.  Of course she does!  To anyone who hasn't read them, run, don't walk to the nearest shop and get the first in the series, the above mentioned Number One Ladies Detective Agency.  Your world will immediately become a cheerier, better place.  You will also develop an unhealthy addiction to redbush tea, but I can't be held responsible for that.

I read the first one on my way home from London.  Sad to say, I was very disappointed.  I had saved it specifically to read on the plane so the atmosphere of the book could take me away.  While it was very people-oriented and a lovely set of new morality tales, the atmosphere I was looking for to immerse myself in was lacking.   :(

Well that's it.  We can't be friends.  No, look, I'm sorry, but it's just not on.  There are some lines I cannot cross.  Delalluvia! You're a woman of such taste!  How can you say such things?  Where is your heart?  I'm going off to pout in the corner now, and when I get back, you'd better have changed your mind, or our love affair is over.  And that would be sad, indeed.
 :D

 :'(  :'(  :'(  ;D

TJ

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Re: Book Thread
« Reply #17 on: May 02, 2006, 09:48:35 am »
I posted this elsewhere on BetterMost, but I think the subjet of the Adovocate column fits here in this discussion.

From the Advocate:

 
COASTAL DISTURBANCES
The next Brokeback
Christopher Rice suggests hitting the bookstore to get a glimpse of the next big thing.

http://www.advocate.com/currentstory1_w.asp?id=30096


April 24, 2006
Coastal disturbances


By Christopher Rice


Here’s my advice to all of you who are still broken up about Brokeback Mountain’s loss at the Oscars. Head to your local gay bookstore and shell out a few bucks for something besides porn. As it turns out, Jack and Ennis weren’t hatched during a pitch meeting at the Ivy. They first came to life in the pages of The New Yorker, a magazine driven almost entirely by words alone.

In some sense, the literary origin of Brokeback—and the highly visible marketing of Annie Proulx’s short story, on which it is based—has masked a spreading indifference to the written word among gay men. Gay op-ed pages abound with condemnations of the formulaic treatment we receive on television sitcoms, but any defense of the gay bookstore and the much wider array of representations it offers is weak at best. At worst, we get dismissive essays from successful gay authors who seem determined to disregard the bookstores that helped give them their start.

Rather than spending all of our energy trying to guilt-trip the media into representing us more diversely, it’s time we put our passion and our dollars behind the nuanced representations of gay men that have already been written.

Don’t think you’re part of the problem? Here’s a test. Which of the following do you recognize? Mack Friedman, Richard McCann, Barry McCrea, Vestal McIntyre, Sulayman X, Aaron Hamburger, Dennis Cooper, Harlan Greene, Thorn Kief Hillsbery, Keith McDermott, Patrick Ryan, Blair Mastbaum, Bart Yates, K.M. Soehnlein, Michael Lowenthal, Eric Shaw Quinn, John Morgan Wilson. This is but a small sampling of current writers whose work collapses stereotypes of gay men. (Here’s hoping you’re already familiar with living gay literary lions such as Alan Hollinghurst, Felice Picano, Andrew Holleran, Edmund White and others.)

If big gestures are more your style, get out your checkbook and spend a paltry $25 to join the struggling Lambda Literary Foundation—sponsor of the Lammy awards—the only organization dedicated to increasing the visibility of LGBT writers.

All of that’s pretty easy. The hard part will be letting go of excuses like “I try to read before bed but I fall asleep”—to which I’m always tempted to reply that I hope you don’t read the CNN news ticker while on the treadmill. Patronizing your local gay bookstore and setting aside 20 minutes each night to read is not too much to ask when the next gay-themed film to take American culture by storm may be at stake.

Otherwise, we had better prepare ourselves for an endless slate of happy-go-lucky sex comedies firmly rooted in the “taming the go-go boy” school of storytelling.

Brokeback is just one of many recent successful films that are faithful adaptations of written source material. In Brokeback’s case, it was the short story’s impact on several well-placed straight filmmakers that ultimately carried it toward the big screen.

That’s because gay men have been remiss in forming a potent segment of the book-buying public with the power to nudge gay titles into the Hollywood pipeline. If we truly want Hollywood to present us with representations of gay men that challenge and even devastate us, this situation needs to change. And why shouldn’t it? After all, we each have the power to change it before bedtime tonight.

TJ

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Re: Book Thread
« Reply #18 on: May 02, 2006, 10:00:23 am »
Christopher Rice is son of Anne Rice; and they both are published writers.

I do have a number of gay-themed books which I bought at regular bookstores and through different online book dealers.

Since I am on fixed income, I have not bought any books in that category for a few years now except for the 2005 edition of the stand-alone paperback, "Brokeback Mountain."

Offline henrypie

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Re: Book Thread
« Reply #19 on: May 02, 2006, 01:25:04 pm »
Hey Chantiepie,

Regarding what you wrote:
"Interesting facts: Sherlock Holmes never wore a deer-stalker hat, never smoked a pipe, and certainly never, ever uttered the immortal phrase "Elementary, my dear Watson."  Filthy lies.  It's all ornamentation by the movies.  Like cats, you just can't trust them."

Hee hee,
I just learned that from Curious Incident.  I think he did all those things in the movies, but never in the books.

By the way I don't know how much you rode the Central line, but did you ever notice that when she says "Shepherd's Bush" she sounds like she knows she's saying something naughty?  I rode the Central line back and forth from Ealing, where I stayed for a few nights with a friend of a friend when I was searching for an apartment.  I was in London from September 2000 to July 2001.  The Sainsbury's at Finchley Road was indeed a giant and an eyesore.  How about that Rainforest Cafe thingy?  What was that?  And the ... Homebase, is it called, down across the carpark from Sainsbury's?  I went to the latter a few times, looking for flea spray and mirrors and screws and whatnot.  I also went to see "Quills" at that cinema.  Ew.  Another bad memory.  Oh hey, on the bread aisle at Sainsbury's:  of course, I went right for the day-old bread.  I was just toasting it anyway.  Also olive ciabattas.  Mmm.


Dela,
I admit I tend to wax nostalgic for a lot of things about London.  I would love to give it a go again sometime, with a little more money, and a job.  If my husband got some swanky engineering job and I could be his kept woman, who sings and writes and takes her exercise in Regent's Park every day and, maybe, is a mom, well that could be splendid.  But living in/travelling through slums to get to central London everyday is mighty wearing (particularly during tube strikes of which there were many), and you don't live in central London, or one of the nicer suburbs, unless you have money to burn, or you have an ancestral home of some sort.  I also kinda think that if I were to jump off into a big new foreign city, it would most likely to be Stuttgart, where my husband is from.  We consider it from time to time.  There, my consuming hobby/task/interest/burden would be learning krazy-German (distinct, impossible dialect of the region).  And trying not to be depressed and angry at my crushing, chronic lack of articulateness.