As a child, I loved reading. I could happily spend hours tucked into a big armchair with a book, the sounds of the house fading into the background as I disappeared into another world. My brothers and I also listened to masses of audio books, and I’m pretty sure that our nightly bed time stories went on for far longer than our poor sore-throated parents wanted them to!
As I got older though, I found myself reading less. Or at least, I read what I was required to for school or university and then didn’t feel much like reading anything else. TV and films gradually took the place of my beloved books. From time to time I would feel sad about that, but mostly it was just how it was. I still thought of myself as ‘a book lover’ but I rarely read for pleasure.
By my late twenties my first son had arrived, followed by his brother two years later. I was running my own business and the resulting racing around and tiredness left me struggling to even finish an article in a magazine some days. Deep down I felt I was missing something, but my ‘book worm’ days felt so far behind me it was hard to recapture them.
Then at the beginning of this year something changed. I was just starting maternity leave with baby-number-three, and – with my sons in school and nursery – my mornings were child-free. I was heavily pregnant so moving around was becoming less and less fun. My childhood memories of hiding in an armchair began calling to me. So I got my hands on an e-reader (and by ‘got my hands on’ I mean ‘swiped from my husband and he’s yet to get it back’), read a few book reviews, found something I fancied and off I went. I finished that book and started another, then another.
The months went by, and I read whenever I could. At all the times that I wasn’t writing (or dealing with kids, or housework… ) I’d grab my Kindle and slip quietly into whatever wonderful fictional reality awaited me. I read in labour (remember how I said mine went on for ages? I had to have something to do!) then I read while feeding the baby.
And now it’s early October and I’ve read nearly fifty books this year. That’s nearly…oooh… forty-nine more books than I read last year! And I’ve loved it. I won’t lie, they haven’t all been serious works of fiction. They weren’t all War and Peace. In fact, NONE of them were War and Peace. There have been many times – staggering around bleary-eyed after being up a gazillion times in the night – when I’ve just wanted something light and cheerful to distract me. But I’ve read some really fantastic books; books that have made me laugh and cry and some that have really made me think.
And as a writer, all of them have had value. They’ve helped me realise what I want to achieve, showing me everything from what I would love (in my wildest dreams) to emulate, to what I’d rather avoid. And sometimes what I’m just plain not interested in.
So I’ve decided I’m going to use this blog – over the coming weeks and months – to write about some of the books I’ve read. In part, as a written reminder for myself about what I learned from them, but largely just to talk about some books that I’ve really loved and to share them with anyone else that is interested. I’ve really got some gems to recommend!