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Welcome to The Hiking Reader

Who I am

What Reading means to me

To be honest, I wasn’t much of a reader in my younger years. In fact I was bored because the only reading I did was required reading for school. That began to change in high school when I needed a book to read for a class credit. It didn’t matter what book it was we simply had to read and write in a journal what we read for the period. A friend loaned me a copy of Dragonlance Chronicles Dragons of Autumn Twilight. I had always been interested in fantasy stories and this just hit my style perfectly. That moment began my desire to read for pleasure as well as kick off my collection of Dragonlance Books.

Fast forward almost twenty years and I had read books off and on but I wouldn’t consider myself an avid reader. Then in late 2019 I was watching the show The Witcher and was aware there were video games based on this world but when I found out they were both based off of books, I figured I’d give them a try. This series kicked off my second big reading journey as this is when I became an avid reader.

This interest got me searching the internet for reading recommendations which brought me to the book communities on YouTube, Discord and Twitter. The rest is history as I’ve been averaging over a hundred books read over the last 3 years.

To me reading is one of my favorite past times these days. I rarely watch much TV and would rather spend that time get lost in my own imagination with the help of a good story from so many wonderful authors out there.

What Hiking means to me

Hiking has been a passion of mine for many years. I had a love of outdoors even as a child. This included playing several different outdoor sports as well as joining the scouts which got me into camping and hiking.

Though I haven’t done any camping in many years at this point hiking continues to be one of my most visited hobbies. For the longest time hiking was often done on my own and it became a type of Zen moment for me. It was an activity that provided not only physical exercise but it helped me relax and center myself. No matter the type of day or week I may be having, if I can get out and get a couple of miles on a trail, I’m always better off mentally than when I started.

As of 2023 I have a new companion for these moments as I adopted an American Bulldog who now joins me on my walks and hikes. She’s still going through training but she’s come a long way from the day she entered my life. I want her to be able to share the experience with me but also her safety is a concern for me as trails can be dangerous in certain locations.

In summary, hiking is almost a necessity in my life both for the physical and mental exercise it provides me. Having the chance to witness some inspiring and at times breath taking views doesn’t hurt either.

Experiences

I wanted to use this small space to mention my experience in both sharing my reviews of books read as well as my two experiences judging for some book competitions.

I initially started rating and sharing some short thoughts on books I’d read via the Goodreads website. I still use that site to track my book collections and continue to share my ratings and reviews there. However, I knew I wanted to do a bit more so knocked the dust off an old blog of mine and turned it into a space to share this information as well. That was a couple of years ago and as of 2024, I’ve migrated the site to a new host and am working on a new look as well. I don’t expect this to ever grow into anything big. It’s just a hobby of mine to share my personal reading experiences with others who might be interested or want to discuss books I’ve read.

In 2022 I was asked if I’d be interested in participating in the Indie Ink Awards as a judge. I was excited to give this experience a try so I signed up. Granted this was the inaugural year of this event and things got a little rough as far as keeping things organized, but there were some aspects that soured the overall experience for me as a judge. The huge win for me was getting to read so many authors and books that I probably never would have found without doing this event.

I was hesitant to act as a judge again after that. Well fast forward almost a year later and friend from the online book community was asking if anyone would be interested in filling out her team for the SPSFC-3 competition and I figured I’d give it a try. This was after talking to a close friend who shared his thoughts as a judge the previous year. I did feel this competition was organized a bit better and our team seemed to work well from the start even if I was a bit confused on the gameplan at first. I’m not afraid to ask questions though and got concerns ironed out quickly. My big take away from this second experience though is acting as a judge for these competitions is and rightfully so, should be a considerable time sink. My friend warned me these events are TBR killers and he was a hundred percent correct. At this point I have no desire to act in this capacity again. I’m simply have so many books already on my own TBR and shelves.  Now perhaps in a couple of years if I’ve put a solid dent into those lists, I might give things another try. We shall see.

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