Spinning Stories

About three years ago, I did something I never thought I’d do.

I joined a gym.

I’d walked through the doors in search of a way to deal with stress, and I knew that exercise was an effective method of managing it. And I liked the fact that it was a community gym, one that welcomed people of all ages and at all stages of athletic ability. Almost immediately, I found a supportive group of friends who helped me adjust as I tried new classes, learned to use the equipment, worked up to heavier weights.

In the midst of this, I discovered that many of my gym friends were also avid readers.  In particular, my spin class is filled with men and women who love to read books, discuss books and trade books. In the few minutes before class, we’d catch up on what we were reading, what we loved and what we planned to read next.  When I had discussed an effort to gather books for donation for the Ellis Memorial Library, which had been devastated by Hurricane Harvey, Trisha Taylor quickly set up her own network and had collected so many boxes of books that it took over half of her garage.  

I had found my people.

The Texas Health & Racquet Club Free Library

Encouraged by the knowledge that so many members of my gym were readers, I asked the manager for permission to set up a small free library in the lobby.  He was very supportive, and soon I brought a small cabinet and filled it with some of my favorite books.  

Our little library skews pretty heavy towards crime fiction, but that hasn’t been a problem. The books disappear, and other members are bringing in their own favorites to share. I love introducing my gym friends to my author friends (through their work), and I’m thrilled when someone tells me she ordered another book in a series because she loved the one she picked up from our library.  

We have also entertained the idea of combining a spin class with a book club but none of us are coordinated enough to pull that off. So for now, we’re content to go to class and discuss our latest reads during warm up.  We’re too exhausted to say anything else once it’s over, but every now and then, I see someone leave with a book—or a leave a book—and I can’t help but smile.

–Laura Oles

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