This post should have gone out a couple of weeks ago but life got in the way!!
Last year I set myself the goal of reading 100 books in the year and posting them on Instagram. I have had years when I have read 100 books so I knew this wasn’t an impossible task but this would be the first year I had posted them. Well little did I know that I would not have the free choice I normally had on my reading material.
During the week of the middle of March I heard from a friend in England that their library was going to be shutting its doors that day because of the approaching pandemic. I went over the road and asked what was happening with my local library and was told that, even though they hadn’t heard anything official they suspected they would be closed by the end of the week and to just gather as many books as I could carry. So I left loaded down with about 20 books picked randomly.
By mid July the library was sort of open but to get a book one had to fill in a form and the librarians would select books on the answers you had placed on the form. My local librarians know me well so that helped but I was at their mercy as to what I read which does mean this year I have read books I would probably not normally have read.
Also with the #blacklivesmatters protests I wanted to read from my diverse authors so joined Shelters Book box #shelterbookbox. Once every 6 weeks or so I will recieve a book from a writer in a part of the world associated with Shelter International. Again this leaves me at the mercy of whoever chooses the book.
I would say my favourite books – the ones that have affected me the most – are Shuggie Bain, about poverty in 1980s Glasgow; American Dirt about a woman and her son fleeing from a drug lord in Mexico on the migration route to America; Girl, Woman, Other which about a connected collection of British black and mixed race women exploring how they dealt with underlying race in this country and how they explored their sexuality; Pull Of The Stars by Emma Donoghue set over 6 days in Dublin at the start of November 1918 with all the chaos of the Spanish Flu mixed in with the political situation there.
I’ve also explored my usual mix of dystopian fiction with the likes of Margaret Attwood; fantasy fiction with the likes of Raymond F Fiest and Conn Igguldon; historic fiction with Bernard Cornwall and Elizabeth Chadwick; and many other amazing books. I read books by black, Asian and Latino writers. I read academic ones for the Celtic MA I am studying. And ones that took me to other worlds where I could escape. I’ve read about people exploring their sexuality, their faith, their ethnicity; books that explore my own faith journey; books that have kept me awake during the night and invaded my day time thoughts and others that I have forgotten as soon as I have finished them.
I’ve learned that I love reading and definitely prefer fiction to non-fiction. I would love to be able to do all my MA learning via historical fiction books; that I prefer a good tense thriller to a romance; and that for me historical means over 100 years old. I see anything newer as current affairs 🙂
I’ve learned that I can put myself under pressure when I give myself a target and noticed that especially towards the end of the year I was reading to complete my target rather than reading for pleasure. But that also I can get distracted from reading and find myself playing on my phone when I could be reading.
I am going to do an Instagram story of this year’s reading but I have not set myself a goal. So I will still count the books as I post them but be kind to my target-driven self.