The joy of reading

I’ve always enjoyed reading, ever since I was young when I wished I lived in America and went to ‘Sweet Valley High’. However, it was only usually during holidays that I would devour a pile of novels as quickly as possible. This year, my New Year’s Resolution was to try to read 25 books in the year. Now I know for some proper bookworms, this probably doesn’t sound a lot, but for me, one book every two weeks or so seemed like an ambitious target. I was fuelled on in part by my new commute, which resulted in me sitting on the bus for over an hour most days. I’d had enough of gazing out of the window and felt frustrated with using this time to keep checking emails before and after my working day.

The impact of my New Year’s Resolution has been much greater than I imagined. It’s early November and I have now almost finished with my 24th book of the year. I’ve nearly always got a book in my bag. I don’t read on every single bus journey, sometimes I’m just too tired, but on the vast majority, you will find me engrossed in my latest literary choice. I now look forward to my bus journeys rather than seeing it as a chore. I’ve also noticed that it seems to be helping my day-to-day stress levels. It’s proving a nicer way to start and end the day and allows me to turn-off my work brain as I head home for the evening. I’m sure I sleep better too when I read as I go to sleep. A recent article in The Simple Things magazine, explains that reading can become a form of mindfulness – I most definitely agree!

Beyond these great personal benefits, I’m also enjoying the wider impact of books. I’ve hardly read anything on my Kindle this year; the good old paperback is my medium of choice. I enjoy receiving other people’s recommendations and passing books on to others who I think will enjoy them. My mom and I have been drip-feeding each other with books throughout the year. I’m talking about books with friends and colleagues much more, and finding new, common interests this way. I’ve always enjoyed a riffle through charity shop bookshelves and can now do this without any guilt, knowing I probably will get around to reading the book I’m about to buy, rather than it ending up on my bookshelf, unread for years. I look forward to buying and reading even more books next year! I’ve kept a note of the books I’ve read this year, but next year my plan is to write a proper review of each one.

For those interested, this year I have read:

  1. The Versions of Use by Laura Barnett
  2. The Leopard by Jo Nesbo
  3. The Loney by Andrew Michael Hurley
  4. Dissolution by C J Sansom
  5. Rupture by Ragnar Jonasson
  6. The Buried Giant by Kazou Ishiguro
  7. The Gustav Sonata by Rose Tremain
  8. Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty
  9. My Name is Lucy Barton by Elizabeth Strout
  10. The Hidden Light of Objects by Mai Al-Nakib
  11. This Must Be the Place by Maggie O’Farrell
  12. The Summer Book by Tove Jansson
  13. Nora Webster by Colm Toibin
  14. The Blackhouse by Peter May
  15. A Year of Marvellous Ways by Sarah Winman
  16. After You’d Gone by Maggie O’Farrell
  17. The Heart Goes Last by Margaret Atwood
  18. The Dry by Jane Harper
  19. Nutshell by Ian McEwan
  20. I’m Travelling Alone by Smaual Bjork
  21. The Marmaid and the Drunks by Ben Richards
  22. The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake by Aimee Bender
  23. The Unseen by Roy Jacobsen
  24. Captain Corelli’s Mandolin by Louis de Bernieres

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