By Association

When I go to the gym, I take three things with me:

  • My phone, in case my kids decide to call with a not-so-urgent question;
  • My headphones, in case House Hunters, International comes on; and
  • My Kindle, so I can read.

My husband argues that this list should only include a jump rope, workout gloves and a stopwatch, but this is the only time during my day that I can get 40-minutes of uninterrupted time to read. I look forward to it, to catching up on whatever story I’m indulging in at the moment. The bonus? The association that comes from the experience.

So when I get on the stationary bike, I think about Bubba and the Dead Woman by C.L. Bevill, because that’s what I was doing when I started the book. Filled with rich, country humor, the story follows a local mechanic named Bubba who has the bad luck of finding a dead woman on his mother’s historic property.

Or, if I’m using the treadmill, I remember the scene in Fatherland by Robert Harris when the chief investigator learns that in his alternate history where Hitler won WWII with wit and strategy, the deaths of 11 million people were concealed to hide his cruelty and bigotry.

Or, when I get on the elliptical, I think back to Edward’s struggle to get in shape after his girlfriend dumps him in The Ex-Boyfriend’s Handbook by Matt Dunn.

These are just some of the books I’ve read, but every time I go to the gym, I have the pleasure of going back to those worlds and enjoying the stories once again. I can workout my brain while I workout my body.

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