I’m here in Florida on vacation doing something that both relaxes me and makes me happy: reading.

Even from a very early age, I was a really fast and really focused reader. While I had trouble with school and became frustrated with my learning disabilities, that never translated to reading. At first, I read science fiction and outlandish fiction novels from authors like Tamora Pierce. I was obsessed with her books about a young woman who wanted to be a knight in this very science fiction world, so she pretended to be a man in order to become a knight and train. Yes, I think I was a feminist even at the early age of 10 😉

And as I grew up, I found that one of the few things I could truly focus on for any length of time were books. I could sit down, start reading and literally feel myself become part of the book’s world. I would look up and be almost done with the book and hours had passed. But I didn’t even realize it. And the same is true today.

I loved science and biology in particular, but felt overwhelmed and discouraged from the field in school. So as soon as I went to art school, I really missed that part of my life. So I started reading books about science which quickly lead to my now favorite topic to read about: cognitive science. I started with Temple Grandin and quickly fell down the rabbit hole. I now am quickly reading all the available books that Oliver Sacks has written, listen to NPR’s radio show RadioLab, and consider an exciting Friday night getting on the couch and watching the PBS series on the development of the brain throughout life.

So while reading books on the beach of a brain scientist’s experience of having a stroke and the implications of her journey on brain science today may not be everyone’s cup of tea, it’s something that I love to the core. I can curl up in my beach chair, listen to the ocean waves, and become absorbed in fascinating facts, observations, and case studies. And that to me is a perfect, relaxing vacation.