Reflections on Reading


Before I start my ‘List of Betterment’ or ‘My Reading Gym,’ as written about in my blog post in November, see here  I reflected upon what I read in 2016.  I was in a book club which I left.  I left for several reasons, but the main one was that there are too many books I wish to read, without reading books I don’t wish to read.  Also, it was a pain in the ass to get to. However, I will miss the debates and the conversation.

Last year I read a variety of books, mainly for pleasure. I read Sarah Waters, Alexandra Fuller, A collection of short stories by Irish women called ‘The Long Gaze Back’, Alexander McCall Smith and more. Over Christmas I read two excellent books.  ‘The Emperor of Ice-cream’ by a writer from Belfast called Brian Moore.  It is set in World War II, and it is about a teenage boy called Gavin Burke who becomes an ARP warden, and how he grows from a boy into a man once the war finally comes to Belfast.

The second book my husband brought me for Christmas and it is ‘The Princess Diarist’ by Carrie Fisher.  Little did I know she would die a couple of days after I received the book.  I read it in one day.  It is poignant and funny and a great read.  I would highly recommend it.

I now find it funny that I can’t even remember most of the books I read in 2016.  This year I intend to keep a list so I don’t forget them.

Apart from my own Reading Gym, I am going to read exclusively for two other purposes.  Firstly, for pleasure and secondly, for learning more about the craft of writing.    I figure if I am reading and blogging about several classics, I deserve a bit of light hearted reading to compensate.   I also wish to read more about writing, as there are some excellent books on the subject, and I need all the help I can get.

I also have a huge number of books on my bookshelves that I haven’t got around to reading yet.  I love going to the library, but this is a bit of a problem as I always see at least five books that I want to read, and so I never get around to reading the books I actually have on my shelves.  Simple solution –  don’t go to the library.  That may not be so hard.   I am currently sitting in the library, trying to get some peace, and two school girls are sitting next to me and whispering in the most infuriating manner. The obvious solution is to move, but for the moment most of the desks are occupied.  I will keep an eye out until a quieter spot becomes available.  I should have stayed at home and worked.  I always come to the library thinking I will do more productive work, and it always turns out to be the opposite.  So, that could be a solution to that problem.  Stay away from the library.

Do you have any reading goals, or do you just jump aimlessly from one recommended book to another?  Do you read the same author all the time or always read new authors?  Or do you re-read your favourite books all the time?    I am curious to know.  Please tell.  For me reading is the ultimate pleasure, but only when you can lose yourself completely in another world, and you can’t wait to get back to the book.  Otherwise it can be tortuous.

If you feel so inclined, please feel free to read along with my list and give your thoughts and opinions on the books.   I have come to the library today to work, but also to borrow Middlemarch by George Eliot.  The first book on my list.  It looks daunting indeed, but Andy Millar dealt with it in ‘The Year of Reading Dangerously’ by committing to 50 pages a day, I might try the same thing.  Sounds doable.  I will let you know how I get on.

In the meantime, Happy 2017 to you all and Happy Reading.