Confessions of a Reading Challenge Cheat



It was 19 December and I still had 17 books left to read to complete my Goodreads challenge. I was convinced I wouldn’t reach my 100 book target before the end of 2018. So I decided to indulge in a spot of cheating by raiding the reading closets and shelves of the students on my tutoring rounds. Anyone who has followed my blog will know I have a bit of previous in this regard.


Once more, my students did not let me down. They brought their books to me like Wise Men offering their presents up to baby Jesus. Huge thanks to the Chowdury children for trusting me with their treasured collection. You set me on the road to achieving my goal when all seemed lost and gave me the opportunity to read my first ever Peppa Pig. Thank you also for handing over Little Miss Splendid to boost my reading power and self-esteem. Due to this generous reading donation my unreachable target moved towards something achievable.


My next stop was the children’s section of Tate Brixton Library where I grabbed a load of books willy nilly and started reading. No doubt, from the worried looks I was getting, I made an interesting spectacle crammed into one of those pint-sized plastic chairs. When a reading challenge is on the line it's no time to worry about the look of things. Besides, this little venture introduced me to some choice reading matter. My absolute favourite find was The Dam by David Almond with illustrations by Levi Pinfold. The muted drawings perfectly matched the poignant story tucked within this unassuming cover. My next favourite was Little Red and The Very Hungry Lion. Think Little Red Riding Hood but set in Africa. With all these great offerings available my target was beginning to move ever closer to that seemingly unreachable 100 books.

In my dreams my covert reading plans gained pace as I planned to head over to West Norwood Library on Christmas Eve for a morning of furtive reading. My plans were foiled by their late opening and the chance to go dancing at The Royal Festival Hall. The scales of fun trembled with the decision I had to make, but the dancing won out and library lurking would have to wait for another day. At this point I was still 5 books short of my target. But I wasn’t too anxious. After all, I still had 7 more sleeps to read my way to success. A tiny niggle at the back of my mind did leave me wondering if this would be the first time I would fail to achieve a reading challenge target.

I should not have doubted my resourcefulness though. Even as I finished another adult book which I had struggled my way through, I realised I had a few choice bits and pieces on my shelves I could reread if I didn’t get the opportunity to hit the library again. It was indeed this plan which took me from 97 reads all the way to that century I was hoping for mere days from the end of 2018.

So folks, never despair if the end seems light years away. It turns out that a reread is as good as a new read. And some new reads, though they may seem insignificant because their font comes in large sizes and pictures predominate, are as valuable as a New York best seller or a Carnegie Medal winner.



Whatever you plan on doing in 2019, be sure that reading (no matter what the book) is your top priority.

To check out my cheat reads or see reviews of the books I read in 2018 please visit my author page on Goodreads.


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