Judge this book by its pretty cover, but maybe not its title: “That Sounds Fun: The Joys of Being an Amateur, the Power of Falling in Love, and Why You Need a Hobby.”
I preordered Annie Downs’ new book, so I was able to listen to the audio version before my print copy even arrived. I sure am glad I did because I rarely listen to audiobooks, but I was eager to hear Annie’s stories. She read the book and three mini podcast episodes were included after the credits as bonus material – so fun!
I’d categorize this book as a memoir, as Annie tells stories from her life. Each chapter is named after a place. She shares about falling in love (not just with people, but with ideas and dreams and food and places too), the value of being an amateur, and why we all need hobbies. Through it all, she recognizes she – and all of us – is longing for Eden. Her stories brought to mind some of my own growing up and moving on and navigating this unpredictable life.
“I think when we go looking for fun what we are actually looking for is home. We are looking for peace. We are looking for simplicity, something to fill that spot that has been left by growing up or growing out or moving on. While we think we want fun, what we really want is Eden.”– From “That Sounds Fun” by Annie F. Downs
“That Sounds Fun” doesn’t sound like it would be packed full of life lessons, but this book is more than the title may suggest. Yes, it’s a fun book, but it’s also a meaningful book that left me with some truth I ought to hold onto:
- Finding fun matters in our lives that don’t always go as we planned or expected.
- Being an amateur is fun and brave. Don’t limit your life by thinking you have to be a professional at everything.
- Searching for Eden is sometimes going to require new places and new friendships and new experiences, but there’s always a chance to come back to places you felt loved
- Hobbies slow our minds and lives while connecting us to ourselves and others.
Specifically, her words on grief resonated with me – so much so, I had to pull over while listening, rewind multiple times, and jot them down. I texted them to a friend and then have re-read them more than once.
“We are all amateurs at loving and losing because each circumstance and situation is different. Every relationship that ends is different than the one before. Every friendship that falls apart pings unique spots of pain. When a person dies whom you’ve known and loved, the loss is unlike any loss you’ve ever experienced. In a way people can’t see, there is a grief to losing dreams that will never be fulfilled or jobs that you weren’t hired to do or homes that are no longer yours. There are losses that no one else sees, grieving that is so deeply private that while the rest of your life look right in space and place you know profoundly that Eden is lost.”– From “That Sounds Fun” by Annie F. Downs
And then there were words on savoring seasons and noticing that echoed what God has been teaching me.
“We think strength is shown when we force sadness to end. We think we have grown up, matured, increased in health and humanness when we put a full stop to feeling sad or disappointed. Pulling ourselves up by our bootstraps is always rewarded, but it just wasn’t ever meant to be that way. We rush seasons in our personal life … hurrying though … But what is there to gain in letting the season decide its own length instead? No amount of self-control, will power, or changing your wardrobe is going to make the summer turn to fall fast enough for some of us. … We need to remember we actually have no control of that. We notice the mornings that start to have a bite of coolness in the air. We love the nights we have to grab a cardigan or jacket on the way out the door to dinner. But we have no control over any of it. We just get to notice it, enjoy it, and savor it.”– From “The Sounds Fun” by Annie F. Downs
Part of me always wants to rush through the slowness of winter to get to summer. I’m eager for August, when my taxi service commitments will lessen slightly when Rachel goes to kindergarten. My personality defaults to pushing down the feeling and pulling up the bootstraps.
But, regardless of the season, I want to choose the joys that surprise me in my ordinary life. I want to live at a pace that makes noticing a priority, wherever I am and wherever I’m going. I want to realize almost everything I think I should control is better off held with loose, open hands. Life will be more fun that way.
(P.S. My book arrived the day after two insanely crazy days being a mom and a caretaker for my mother-in-law who has been living with while she’s recovering from open heart surgery. What sounded fun to me on a day without much planned included getting my nails done, mailing this book to a friend, carrying my Trades of Hope bag that was made in a Guatemala town I love, and getting a COVID vaccine on our way back to “normal.”)
About the book
FUN: A little word that can make a huge impact on your life
What sounds fun to you?
You might be surprised to learn the idea of fun is actually pretty serious business. Join author Annie F. Downs on a journey of discovering not just the fun that you want in your life, but also the fun that you need. After all, she’s kind of an expert.
As the host of the widely popular “That Sounds Fun” podcast, Annie and her guests chat about fun every week. She chases it, she celebrates it, and now she’s going to help you find it for yourself. Annie’s witty, warm approach in this book will help you see the unexpected benefits of opening up, letting go, and giving in to a little more fun in your days.
“That Sounds Fun” (the book!) officially released today! The 240-page hardback book is published by Revell.
About the author
Annie F. Downs is a bestselling author, sought-after speaker, and successful podcast host based in Nashville. Engaging and honest, she makes readers and listeners alike feel as if they’ve been longtime friends. Founder of the That Sounds Fun Network – which includes her aptly named flagship show, That Sounds Fun – and author of multiple bestselling books like “100 Days to Brave” and “Remember God,” Annie shoots straight and doesn’t shy away from the tough topics. But she always finds her way back to the truth that God is good and that life is a gift. Annie is a huge fan of laughing with friends, confetti, soccer, and boiled peanuts (preferably from a backroads Georgia gas station). Read more at anniefdowns.com and find her (embarrassingly easily) all over the internet @anniefdowns.
I preordered this book with my own money, but I loved it so much I wanted to tell y’all about it. Of course, I’ve added it to my book recommendations.