In this Books Love Me series, I’ll be featuring literature lovers from all over the globe. They will allow us to enter their world of fiction. Join me for an enjoyable tale describing the juicy details of…
Lois’ Love Affair With Literature
Lois Joy Hofmann is an author, photographer and world circumnavigator, reinventing and reimagining her life in retirement. In her previous life, Hofmann spent 35 years in the medical device field in various technical, marketing and management positions. She eventually became CEO of a San Diego company and took it public on AMEX in 1998, joining a very select group of women: “only 3% of the companies that went public in the U.S. between 1996 and 2013 had women CEOs.”
Lois escaped the corporate world for her first retirement reinvention: sailing around the world in a 43-foot catamaran, Pacific Bliss, with her husband Günter. The pair visited 62 countries during their 8-year sailing circumnavigation, logging a total of 34,000 nautical miles.
Lois’ second retirement reinvention has been becoming an author; she’s currently busy writing the third book in a nautical trilogy, In Search of Adventure and Moments of Bliss. Hofmann’s first two books, Maiden Voyage and Sailing the South Pacific have both won first place in the non-fiction travel category of the San Diego Book Awards. Hofmann’s stories have appeared in magazines such as Latitudes and Attitudes, Cruising World and Living Aboard. She has been a contributor to online magazines and blogs such as: Multihull Magazine, Yacht Blogs, Multihull newsletter, Top Dekk and The Log. Her story, “Force 10!” won first place in the Solas International awards for best adventure story on the water. Hofmann has been a keynote speaker for various organizations including: yacht clubs, optimist clubs, rotary clubs, bookstores, writers’ conferences, and libraries.
The Hofmanns reside in San Diego, California and have also purchased lake property near Balsam Lake, Wisconsin, a house and cabin that they’re turning into a Heritage Home for family reunions and retreats. The couple still enjoys travel, albeit by more conventional modes.
would you describe your love of literature a torrid affair, a summer romance, or “it’s complicated”?
It’s complicated, because I would never have put literature ahead of the need to make a living and provide for my family. Now that I’m retired, I can afford to have a torrid affair with books.
What book is your childhood sweetheart? Why?
Laura Ingall’s books. I could relate to the stories, growing up on a farm, and the self-sufficiency each child had at an early age.
What book made you fall in love with reading?
The Little Home in the Woods, and other Laura Ingalls’ books.
Stream of Consciousness
What is your funniest or favorite “book reading” experience?
I liked books by Mark Twain as a child, and laughed at his experiences in Huckleberry Finn.
Who is your literary alter ego?
When I play the game, I get The Fellowship of the Ring, either Gandalf or Tolkien.
Genre: Literature and Travel
What came first, your love of reading or your love of travel?
My love of reading came first, because as a child, I could not travel unless it was on a road trip with my parents.
What book sparked your love of travel?
I read lots of books on my parents’ bookshelves about missionaries in Africa. These dedicated men and women came to our country church and presented slide shows and chalk talks. I loved seeing the dark skin and colorful clothes of exotic people from faraway lands. Our area in northern Wisconsin was primarily populated with white people: Germans and Scandinavians. As my reading ability increased, I read more advanced books about air travel in small planes. My hero was Jimmy Doolittle who avenged the attack on Pearl Harbor that occurred one month before I was born. I read biographies of aviators Charles Lindbergh and Eddie Rickenbacker. It never occurred to me that these were considered “boys’ books.”
What are your travel reading habits?
First I pack a guide book for the place I am going—usually Lonely Planet. Then I pack one book—either fiction or nonfiction—about the place I’m planning to visit. After that, I pack my Kindle and make sure it has a variety of books I haven’t read, with different genres to satisfy my reading desires.
What is your favorite literary travel quote?
“Travel turns you upside down, challenges all your assumptions and habits and rearranges your soul.” Pico Iyer
If you could get any book quote tattooed on your body, what would it be? Why?
My favorite quote is “Life is either a daring adventure or nothing at all,” by Helen Keller. This tattoo would be a reminder not to drift through life, but to make life an adventure—each and every day.
What do you read when you are stressed out?
I turn to the Bible or a devotional book, read a section, and then pray. My favorite devotional book is Streams in the Desert by L. B. E. Cowman and Jim Reimann. My good friend and NYT best-selling author Marie Chapian has also written many devotionals which sit on my bedside stand. My favorite is The Secret Place of Strength.
What is the last book you read?
Bend, Not Break, a Life in Two Worlds by Ping Fu
My favorite quote in the book is the words of Ping’s father as he led her to a grove of bamboo. “This (tree) is the third friend of winter. Bamboo is flexible, bending with wind, but never breaking, capable of adapting to any circumstance. It suggests resilience, meaning that we have the ability to bounce back from even the most difficult times….Your ability to thrive depends, in the end, on your life circumstances. Take everything in stride with grace, putting forth energy when it is needed, yet always staying calm inwardly.”
Are you a book sniffer?
If you mean “A peculiar/socially awkward/weird child who prefers the company of textbooks over people, i.e., a “nerd” or “dork,” (from the Urban Dictionary), no, I’m not a book sniffer. But if you mean getting a little high on that fresh-cut paper scent of a new book, yes, I admit to being a book sniffer.
What would the title be of your memoir?
Well, the three-book series I’m writing is sort of a memoir, in that it is personal experience. The series is called “In Search of Adventure and Moments of Bliss” because during our eight-year circumnavigation, my husband and I were looking for both. But if I write another book, it would be called Soul Mates. This one would also be autobiographical.
If you could only recommend one book to people for the remainder of your days, which book would it be?
The Bible is obviously my first recommendation as the best book in the world. The book of Psalms brings a spirit of happy rejoicing and the Book of Proverbs provides wisdom. These two books of the Bible should be read over and over.
For business, negotiation skills and wisdom in dealing with people, the first book I’d recommend is the classic, Think and Grow Rich, by Napoleon Hill. Mine is earmarked and highlighted, but still sits on my office bookshelf.
Thank you Lois, we appreciate the glimpse into your literary love affair. To read more interviews and get inspired by more book lovers , click here.
If you have an insatiable love of literature that you wish to share, please email me at aplacelikemeinagirllikethis(at)gmail(dot)com.
And don’t be shy, it’s encouraging for the rest of us literature lovers to glean inspiration and wisdom from the journeys of others!
Let’s show Lois some love, comment below if you relate with Lois and her love of books?