This month, I hope to bring to you one book a day from that huge list of books pending reviews from my side, plus a little something extra as well. Excluding Sundays of course where I will go back to my usual Sunday Scribblings! If possible, I will go through the books from A through Z. Starting it off for the letter A and the first of the month, I bring you Anxious People by Fredrik Backman.
The extra: stamps….postage stamps, I mean.
Read on to find out more about both.
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Anxious People: A Novel by Fredrik Backman (Literary Fiction | Atria Books | September 8, 2020)
Set against the backdrop of a botched bank robbery turned hostage situation, Anxious People takes us on a rollercoaster of events that delve far deeper than its initial premise. Backman’s characters, each with their own set of anxieties and insecurities, find themselves trapped together, creating a catalyst for self-reflection, personal growth, and genuine connections.
I finally read this book earlier this year after keeping it on the top of my TBR from the time it was released. Over the last couple of years, each additional glowing review about this book or the author’s other books (which I am yet to read as well) tempted me to get started but I put it off until recently. And boy, am I glad I read it.
What I Loved About It
It is easy to simply say – everything.. but the first thing I totally loved here is Backman’s writing. It is brilliant, to say the least. Now I have one more author that I aspire to write like..
Quirky, cool, humorous, a contradiction in itself, sensitive, clever, insightful, and then some..
All those diverse characters ending up together in one place, in that place where they end up being captives in a truly weird hostage situation does not even seem out of place or impossible. And Backman manages to take us into each of these character’s minds as well as move back and forth in time effortlessly.
The book is one that captured my attention once I started reading it and I had to get to the end. I can say lots more but need to stop somewhere right.
Brilliant writing, quirky and flawed and real characters, truly cool storyline and wonderful character development, and all those unexpected twists and turns make this book a must-must-read for all.
Stamps, Wonderful Stamps: Therapy for Anxious People?
July 1st is National US Postage Stamp Day, observed on this date for the United States issued its first postage stamp on this date in 1847. While stamps were not required at the time and people could mail their post without a stamp having the recipient make any payments for postage, stamps became mandatory in 1855.
And since that first stamp almost two centuries ago (176 to be exact), stamps have had a cool, colorful, and wonderful journey indeed. In addition, stamp collecting (part of philately) is considered one of the most (if not the most) popular collecting hobby in the world. In an earlier post on my blog, I talk about being an avid(sort of) stamp collector as a kid but then kind of outgrew it until I had my own kids and discovered my father-in-law’s stamp collection a few years ago. Now, while I don’t have that same passion I had ages ago, I do thrill at the discovery of unique stamps or even just fun ones. And continue collecting, albeit at a leisurely pace.
How Stamp Collecting Can Help Anxious People, or Help Deal with Anxiety?
Like with any other hobby, stamp collecting can help people relax and calm down. In the words of Harry Lindquist, founder of Stamps, a leading American weekly publication,
“There is something peculiarly soothing to the mind and calming to the nerves in stamp collecting. No matter how inescapable may be the trouble that is weighing him down, the collector will find temporary forgetfulness in his stamp albums. Then, after an hour or two with his stamps, when he returns to his problem, it is with a refreshed mind and outlook; he often finds that the old enigma has a solution after all, which his tired mind, running in circles, had not been able to discover. The hobby of stamp collecting not only heals and refreshes the tired mind, but it becomes a healthy stimulant to the idle mind.” (source: PhilatelicDatabase)
The article including the above quote from the Philatelic Database has many other examples of how stamp collecting has proven to be a powerful therapeutic and relaxation tool. (link in next section)
This is so very true of collecting stamps and working with them. Even today, when I look at the stamps I have, it makes me feel better in so many ways. The memories of discovering those stamps, the stories behind them, the things I learned because of those stamps, and so much more.
All the Benefits
Thus, stamp collecting is definitely a great hobby to have. Just look at all the pros below
As long as you are not after those rare stamps, collecting stamps is pretty inexpensive. You can start off your collection with stamp sets online, and since stamps are light, you do not have to pay much in postage (stamps, I mean) for them!
An Art Collection of Sorts
Stamps are like miniature works of art.. So you have a museum within that album!
Cultivating Curiosity and Learning and Stories Too
The history and geography lessons as well as other related learning it contains within is enormous. Stamp collecting definitely broadens our knowledge of the world. We can learn about various cultures, significant events, as well as the history, geography and other stories behind each stamp. This not only fuels intellectual growth but also shifts our focus away from anxiety-inducing thoughts.
That tiny piece of paper includes and inspires so much learning, and this learning can provide an additional sense of accomplishment. In addition, each stamp comes with its own personal story. If used (like in many cases in a stamp collection), then who used it, when, and why make up the stamp’s story with other details coloring the story as well. And in my case, sometimes there is a personal connection to the stamp, and that adds a touch of sweet nostalgia.
Cultivating a Sense of Accomplishment, Mindfulness, and Relaxation
Collecting and organizing stamps brings with it a sense of relaxation and accomplishment that is right at our hands. The repetitive actions involved in sorting, categorizing, and arranging stamps can have a soothing effect on the mind, thus bringing comfort and stability to the minds of not just anxious people but everyone.
That whole process helps our minds focus on the stamps themselves thus improving our mindfulness, and each time we organize the stamps better, or add to the collection, we feel accomplished!
Read More Here + h/t and References:
- Stamp Collecting (Stamps.org)
- Introduction to Stamp Collecting (Smithsonian)
- Health Benefits of Stamp Collecting Hobby (Dove Medical)
- Relax with Stamps (Philatelic Database)
- Stamp Collecting Has Soothed Presidents, Can It Do The Same For You? (Stamps.org)
- Can Stamp Collecting Help With Dementia? (Stamps.org)
And Now, the End of This Post
Dear reader, have you read Anxious People? Or any other book by Backman? Your thoughts on the book? Do you collect stamps? If you do, then how long have you been doing so? Your favorite memory? Your favorite stamp? If not, any other collecting hobby?