I used to read a lot. I mean, really, a lot. At my 21st birthday the funny stories told about me were mostly centred on the odd things I would do to find a way to finish a book – the oddest one of these tales was when I tried putting a book inside a plastic bag so I could read in the shower, I kid you not. Then life got busy, then it got busier, then there was lots of rushing, and a couple of kids came along, and then sleep became more important than a good book, and my world was no longer about reading despite my best efforts to keep it up. However in the past few years as the kids have gotten older it has become easier to find time to pick up a book. I still am not reading at a level I would like to, but it’s certainly vastly improved on 5 years ago.
I tend to be a slow reader, often taking up to a month to finish a book, and because of this I have become very very picky about what I read. I am not going to waste my time on anything that does not add to my life, that is not beautifully written, clever, and inspiring. My go-to help spot is Goodreads – I love using this site, and can usually be spotted standing in the library with a pile of books and the app open on my phone checking out each potential read. I have a rule that I will not read anything that rates below 3.85, and prefer to read books that go well over 4 out of 5 stars (as the Goodreads rating system is driven by real people rating what they have thought, I find this to be a fairly honest and true system). This may seem limiting, but to be honest with you it really works. Since I have started doing this I haven’t read a single rubbish book, and have read quite a few that have gone into my Top 20.
You can select a reading challenge using Goodreads, and it helps you track progress – and who doesn’t like to see their goals as a percentile achieved! My current challenge for this year is to read 18 books – so far I have just begun my 10th book, so am going rather well, even if I do say so myself. Reading highlights so far this year have been;
- The Secret History by Donna Tartt – easy reading, intelligently realised, and beautifully written. I now know why she’ a favourite author for so many of my friends – I couldn’t put this down, and finished it in 9 days!
- The Narrow Road to the Deep North by Richard Flanagan – this is last years Man Booker Prize winner, so well written, and gives you insight into a part of war that is rarely talked of.
- The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern – just magical! Now in my Top 10
- A Constellation of Vital Phenomena – this took me to a storyline that I would never have imagined finding myself in – so so good, such an invigorating take on surviving and living through war.