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Reading Revelations


For several years I’ve set myself the challenge of reading a certain amount of books per year. The idea first came to me when I joined Goodreads as an author in 2016 and noticed they had a facility for logging reads and reviews as well as calculating your reads annually. I initially thought of using it as a teaching aid since I had a great deal of reluctant readers in my tutoring rota. How great it would be for them to chart their reading progress and also instil the practice of writing reviews as it was a required part of KS3 learning. Kill 2 things with wings and all that. I decided to follow the maxim: do as I do. Besides, I feel that children need role models for the good things in life as well as the bad. 

Following the success of this first calculated reading venture, the Goodreads challenge became an annual thing and nothing difficult for me to accomplish since I read voraciously and had always done so. After my dad died it did however become a serious challenge. His death blocked my inclination to read. I found the only thing which I could now do with any amount of pleasure was watch series on telly. So here began my addiction to iPlayer, E4, Amazon Prime and eventually Netflix. 

In 2019 I fought my way through my reading blockage and began reading again. The initial desire I had for reading was missing though. I just didn’t relish reads with the same visceral pleasure. Then the 2020 London Lockdown happened. I brandished my library card with huge relief and ordered books online from Carnegie Library as though book burning had returned to the world. 

But once again I was unable to read. My pile of books sat in my TBR box gathering dust. And with that dust came a sense of guilt I couldn’t understand or shift. My Goodreads annual challenge shuddered to a grinding halt. My reading mechanism seemed rusted beyond repair. This inability to read may seem such a small thing to those who don’t read and absorb their reading like the air they take in to breathe. To me it was a kind of death and I feared it more than testing positive for COVID. 

I was forced to turn back to my couch potato standbys – iPlayer, E4 etc. Every time I did though, I felt the guilt weigh heavier. I felt disloyal to reading, thought I should be making more of an effort, cursed myself for my weak will. 

But on January 1st 2021 I woke up, picked up a Nicci French novel I had started a few days earlier and read, read, read. I read as though that novel was the only book left in existence. Once more I relished the craft of writing, looked forward to the next page, anticipated the knowledge of knowing what the end would bring and the satisfaction of a book well written and a read absorbed like vitamin D on sunlit skin.

I’m not entirely sure why or how this happened when it did. But I’m grateful beyond words. I’ve rediscovered a part of me that was lost for so long. I sense this means more good things are to come and am very glad you are here to share them with me.

 

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