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Thursday, March 11, 2010


Everyone has a hobby. Some people like to free climb up sheer cliff faces and tightrope-walk between two skyscrapers. Some people are masters of useless information, annihilating their opponents at Trivial Pursuit and cutting a victorious swathe throughout Cork's many pub quizzes.
Some people make a bit of money on the side, a welcome incentive to continue doing what they love. Others, on the other hand, suffer such delusions of grandeur that they think their hobby will propel them into the vast strata of stardom (cursory viewing of The X Factor and America's Got Talent provides innumerable examples of the blissfully oblivious hordes).
A hobby is, if anything, the development of a skill. However, my skill is probably up there in terms of uselessness with the waterproof sponge and the blameless government minister. For I can read really, really fast. Yes, it's that useless.
My hobby is reading. Predictable, pedestrian and utterly reliable. When I was in fourth class the library was stocked with Babysitter's Club books and editions of Goosebumps and Sweet Valley High. This was a far cry from home, where my dad was more likely to offer me a biography of Nazi architect Albert Speer than a bubblegum-hued book with a picture of two smiling tweens with California tans on the cover.
I was hooked and like most addicts, I hid it well at first. However, it soon spiralled downwards. I ended up reading three books a day during class, a habit that eventually culminated with a torn copy of Dawn and the Older Boy and a teacher with a severely bruised shin.
When I went on the dole, an insightful friend pointed me in the general direction of the public Library on Grand Parade, knowing that I loved reading but unaware of the speed with which I plow through books. That was August. Now I read on average six thick books a week and I'm pretty sure some library staff members think "Oh no, not her again" and go hide in the reference section whenever I walk in the door. Some people drunk dial. I come home from a night out and look at the online catalogue.
Hobbies are supposed to fill spare time. But when all the time you have is going spare, what happens then? Answers on a postcard please. I'll get around to reading them eventually.