Many of you readers have such generous natures that, when you are looking to purchase something from Amazon, you come over here and click on the Strange Gods image, which both takes you to Amazon and benefits me with a small gratuity, for which I am exceedingly grateful. Last month’s clicks bought me this super-comfy pair of sandals — yes, you, my good readers, have finally gotten me out of my crocs!
The thing is, I only found the sandals because they showed up on an orders report, and I thought, “well, those look great…” and they are. I often find really excellent, useful, unusual items that have actually helped enhance my life and improve my fitness — or given me a perfect gift idea exactly when I needed one — thanks to readers placing their Amazon orders through my site.
Given how interesting and often helpful your purchases are (and no, I can’t see who buys what, so I have no idea who among you might have purchased this; something that can hear me all the time? Terrifying!) I have to admit, I was intrigued when I saw orders popping up for Adult Coloring Books of varying design and subject.
My first instinct, I am ashamed to admit, was a little cynical. Something along the lines of, “oh, heavens, are we all going to infantilize ourselves with coloring books, now?” (I am forever my mother’s daughter…)
Then I shushed myself and thought, “is this a thing?” and decided to investigate before throwing shade at it.
After reading some comments (and looking at the customer images — people are really proud of their work and want to show it off!) I considered that a coloring project might be a good thing to have when I want to keep my husband company and he wants to watch a terrible movie, (like “Chappie” so, so bad…). It would require less attention than knitting (which I stink at) but I could still check my boredom.
Suddenly, this seemed less silly.
I wanted to ask my neighbor, a recreational therapist who works with high-functioning Alzheimer’s patients and also takes interesting art classes, what she thought, but she was away. Given our past conversations, I’m guessing she would say something to the effect that “putting colors on paper, and making designs relaxes us.”
And then I remembered that toward Christmas, a few years back I had actually suggested this oomphy “grown-up” coloring book and these colored pencils as a Christmas gift for teens, and had given them, myself, to a niece who loved them. How had I forgotten that?
Apparently, it is confirmed: Adult coloring books are indeed “a thing” and according to this article I was ahead of a trend:
Adult coloring books are giving Harper Lee a run for the money on best-seller lists this summer.
Dover Publications has sold more than 3 million adult coloring books with titles like “Flower Fashion Fantasies.” Quarto Publishing will have 1.3 million in print this year ranging from mandalas to fairies. “Secret Garden: An Inky Treasure Hunt,” by one of the genre’s most popular illustrators, Johanna Basford, remains a top seller on Amazon two years after its initial publication.
In fact, adult coloring books occupied as many of eight of the top 20 slots in a spot-check of Amazon’s best-seller list last week, including “Creative Cats” and “Adult Coloring Book: Stress Relieving Patterns.”
“We cannot print them fast enough,” said Amy Yodanis, Quarto’s head of marketing. “We are getting orders of 60,000 at one time from some of our biggest retailers.”
There are coloring clubs, coloring contests and a frenzy of coloring posts on social media. . .”People are stressed and anxious all the time,” said Jeannine Dillon, Quarto’s publisher. “Coloring is a way to calm down and unwind at the end of the day.”
But art therapy is not the only reason coloring has taken off. As hobbies go, coloring books are incredibly simple: portable, easy to pick up and put down, old-school analog pursuits with no batteries or messages, no calorie-counting, skill-building, classes or scores.
The writer tried it out herself, to good effect:
It took me more than two months to complete a single page of “Splendid Cities” because I never spent much time on it in one sitting. I’d color during a stressful moment at the office or at home, or use it as a break from a complicated or boring task, or to transition between tasks.
My longest stretch coloring was an hour while awaiting delivery of time-sensitive documents that I feared were lost. Coloring distracted me from worrying about something I couldn’t control or fix.
Yes, I can see that. I’m very tempted to pick up one of these books, and some pencils the next time I have a long flight; I dislike flying, and can never settle down. This might do the trick.
Once again, readers, thanks for something interesting to think about, particularly as picking up a coloring book is blessedly inexpensive! And no-one who knows me would be surprised to hear that this one is tempting me, and oh heavens, this could be trouble…