Trying to read for fun again…

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I’ve always loved reading but as you get older finding the time to read becomes more and more difficult. You go from suddenly being able to read every night, during the day, all the time, to never having a chance to read a whole book. Last year, I think I probably read a minimum of 10 books, not including uni books, and when I realised that I was quite disappointed. See, the trouble is I was finding it really difficult to read for fun. Studying a degree that involves a lot of reading is great but quite often the books you’re reading aren’t the most exciting and feel like a bit of a slog. Plus, academic books are full of really long words and complicated sentences. That can take it out of you a bit, y’know? At some point in the last few years I went through phases (read:months and months) where I wouldn’t pick up a book to read just for fun. I just stopped.

Ever since a really young age I’ve enjoyed reading, loving bedtime stories that my dad would read, using the best voices. I remember learning to read quite quickly and from the moment I could “read in my head” I was off. I devoured Enid Blyton books such as Famous Five and Mallory Towers (which btw I’ve just looked up on Amazon and they’ve now made the covers all modern and I really hate the look of them…), loved The Princess Diaries and Angels Unlimited (SO GOOD), enjoyed the Alex Rider series and well, what more can be said about Harry Potter, other than the fact that I would pre-order them and read them in a day. I love Harry Potter. End of. I remember receiving a reading list full of books to read before I started secondary school and being so excited that the summer holidays could be spent avidly reading all these varying books. This was also the point I realised that not every book is for me. I hated Charlotte’s Web – I can’t even give you a reason why, I just absolutely hated it. I’m not a fan of Narnia either… Or His Dark Materials. I’d clearly been very lucky before that point and never read a book that I didn’t like, but boy did I read some that summer…

When I was about 16 I got my Kindle, which I still have, because I had cottoned onto the fact that carrying a book the size of The Order of the Phoenix in your handbag is both impractical and heavy. I was commuting from Chichester to Guildford by train for college and the hour and a half journey was a prime time for reading. I adored, and still do adore, my Kindle. It enabled me to have tonnes of books at my fingertips for pennies sometimes. When Kindle’s first came out, which was around the time of my 16th birthday, so eight years ago, the Kindle versions of books were miles cheaper than physical copies. It was perfect for a student so was still desperate to read everything going. I carried on reading even when I started full time work at 18, reading on my lunch break, curled up in a comfy chair in the staff room. We’d swap book recommendations at work, comparing each book we’d read, offering Kindle suggestions. Reading was still a massive part of my life and it was great.

And then iPhones happened. Suddenly, my breaks and the time in bed before I went to sleep was filled with browsing Twitter and Facebook and then finally Instagram. The moment I wake up, they’re what I check and before I head to sleep, I have a quick browse. But what I don’t do, is read. And university reading doesn’t help with that. Often I’ll have chapter upon chapter of books about theatre to read and the last thing I want to do is read again. But upon realising in the new year that I’d barely read ten books in 2016 (also, I read five of those ten in Crete in a week…) I made a promise to myself to try and read more. I have an insane amount of books on my ‘To Be Read’ folder on my Kindle, and even more paperbacks/hardbacks that I’ve purchased through Amazon’s fab 3 for £10 offer. In fact, if I’m honest, we need another bookshelf… I’ve just got too many books! Which lets face it, really isn’t a bad thing.

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So, this year I’ve made myself much more conscious of my reading habits. Having a best friend who runs a reading blog (Copy & Tea btw – go read, it’s full of fab book recommendations and Alice makes me feel ashamed with how little I read…) and a wonderful Mum who is a writer and a publisher definitely helps. I’ve set up a reading challenge on my Goodreads account for 2017 to try and read 40 books. So far I’ve read 5 and I’m 2 behind schedule, so as you can see it’s going really well, but I’m really enjoying reading again. And yeah, I’ll probably go through my usual stage where I don’t want to look at another book for a month (probably once I start having to research for essays… I mean I’m already doing that if any of my lecturers stumble upon this!) but at the moment I haven’t reached that stage. Additionally, having time off for recovery has helped massively. I’ll try and update the blog with some book related updates as I keep going on but at the moment I’m just enjoying curling up with a cup of cinnamon tea and a good book. And a candle. ‘Cause y’know, candles…

What are your favourite books and reading habits? Let me know in the comments! 🙂

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