Thanksgiving 2018 Special

by | Nov 12, 2018 | Bookish Blog (Previously Living A Life Through Books)

Hello everyone.  I’m Dr. Shahnaz Ahmed and Welcome to our special Thanksgiving episode of Living a Life through Books.  I assume you all survived my Halloween special and today’s episode is obviously very different.  It’s more about gratitude.  It’s about things that happen on an everyday basis that we don’t notice but can change your life and make a case for living a life through books.

My first story is about one of my patient’s parents, a pediatrician with 3 children.  Need I say more as to her time crunch issues.  We were talking about reading and she told me about her reading habits and I’ll paraphrase it.  Here’s what she said:  You know how to do it?  I read even if I have 10 minutes.  I have the Libby App and the Kindle app.  I don’t get time.  So, even if I get a little bit of time, I’m reading.

Yes, and then she advised me to join a book club.  I explained that I had just joined the women dentist’s book club.  She said, that’s great.  She herself was in a physician’s book club.  She said it keeps you reading.

I’m super impressed and blown away. What struck me the most was when she said “even if I get 10 mins”. She talked about having several books on hold on her Kindle through the library and she said she reads them as they become available.  For this Thanksgiving podcast, I will say that this was not a normal conversation. This conversation was a gift to be grateful for.

After I spoke to her, I made a mental note of the Libby app.  I had never heard of it.  And I made a commitment to myself to renew my library membership and to figure out how to borrow books on the Kindle through the library.  Through my library research, I found out that there are 3 independent systems of the library here in St. Louis– the city, municipal, and county.  They don’t house the same books.  Learned something new!

I became a member of the municipal and the county branches.  I was also able to figure out what Libby was all about and I downloaded the app that the pediatrician had talked about.  And here I am, with an iPhone, the app, being connected to 2 library systems and I can get books on my Kindle for 3 weeks for free.  Let’s stop a minute and think about that.  The things we take for granted.  Something as simple as a library.  I think of Thanksgiving as a reminder to give thanks. So, shouldn’t we be grateful for our books and our access to them?

OK, as you see, I took the pediatrician’s advice about the library.  I went further and put a few books on hold.  Jodi Picoult’s book Small Great Things would take 3 weeks for me to get so I put it on hold.  While I waited, I found The Book of Joy and When Breath Becomes Air.  I started reading both books and a day later, Small Great Things got released and was available to me.  And now I’m juggling 3 books with a deadline.  At the time of this recording, I am yet to finish any of the 3 and I have 2 more weeks to go.  Part of me is wondering why I’m pushing myself so much.  Part of me is feeling a bit of stress to try to get it done and then there’s the Thanksgiving part of me.  Grateful for this opportunity.  I can imagine someone in another country who would die to be able to read one book, let alone 3.  Great problem to have.  And a great problem to have for doing a Thanksgiving podcast on living a life through books.

Ever hear the expression, birds of a feather flock together?  We connect with people based on our joint interests.  For example, I have a group of friends that love to play board games and we get together and play.  That’s our connection.  So, talking about books or a particular genre could be a connection to make more friends. Except when you talk to your book friends you talk about new ideas and concepts.  Ways to grow.  New books to read.

I am fortunate to be a pediatric dentist because I can connect with the past and the future through my patients and their parents.  Here’s our next Thanksgiving story.

The other day, I went into my office on my day off for an emergency.  I had to see my 11-year-old patient, and it ended up being a very simple fix. So, I’m done in less than 2 mins.  The thing is that even if we had to do something extensive, this was an amazing patient.  I would have been fine without an assistant.  So, I look at her mom and I tell her that I’m amazed at how wonderful her daughter is.  I said that I was sure her daughter started off as a good kid, but then I asked the mom what she had done to make good into phenomenal.  And her mom, without skipping a beat, acknowledged what I said and talked about 2 books that helped her.  One was the 5 love languages of children and the other was about mindfulness for children.  This mother, a physician herself, was giving me examples of how she handles her daughter’s behaviors.  Things she learned in the books.  She most certainly was living a life through books!  How cool is that to see a real life example of books helping someone on an everyday basis?  Yes, this Thanksgiving I’m grateful for those reminders that pop up in my life to remind me that there is such a thing as living a life through books and it is OK.

It’s great to be connected to people who read and understand the challenges of trying to stay consistent and also understand the innumerable rewards, reading a book provides you.

Speaking of rewards of reading, if you ever took the Myers Briggs and you are an introvert and haven’t discovered reading yet.  I would say, welcome to the club.  There is no greater soul food for an introvert than a book.  It’s like a hot cup of tea on a cold day.  Imagine being wrapped up by a blanket, your tea by the side and a book or an e-reader in your hand.  Sounds like heaven to me.  It is that season now.  We are in Fall heading into winter.  Smile and read away.

And when you decide to venture out and meet your friends again, you’ll have so much to tell them about the new books you read.  The adventures you had and they in turn will share their stories.

This Thanksgiving, I’m grateful for my friends and everyone who has motivated me to read.  Others give us a means and an example and sometimes you don’t see it or you don’t know but when you see someone else doing it and you go, “Oh that’s how they do it.”  It’s like watching professional tennis before your own tennis match.  The very act of watching professionals play, trains your brain and teaches you strategies and strokes and you do play better. I find that as I get more bookish and am talking about and associating more with the book folks I’m learning about how they read and their strategies.  The whole Libby app.  Putting books on hold and then juggling all the books that you borrow and trying to read them all.

There is a lot to be grateful for this Thanksgiving: our friends, our libraries, our book clubs, our books, and what we learn from them.  And this podcast.

Before I end, I want to remind you all that I have a Facebook page.  Like me on Living a Life through Books.  Please feel free to reach me and comment there.  Would love to hear from you.   I don’t know if my website will be up and ready by the time this episode airs, but I’m counting on it being ready for the New Year, so I’ll roll that one out for our New Year’s, first episode for 2019.

If you love this podcast, before you tell me and thank me, please tell the world.  I would greatly appreciate a review on Apple Podcasts. I’m told that the more reviews I get, the more I will be found and relevant.  So, for this Thanksgiving, I’m grateful for all of your reviews.  Every bit counts.

Last bit of news before I go.  I’m grateful for my logo and web designer Aalia Rahman.  She’s a St. Louis based graphic designer and a surreal artist. Contact her at That is

I’m Dr. Shahnaz Ahmed with Living a Life Through Books wishing you all a very happy Thanksgiving filled with family, food, and love.  And as always, remember to water the seeds within you.  It’s time.


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