Reading has always been a massive passion of mine. It has been so ever since I was a small child. As a kid, I would stay up until the small hours, eyes red from lack of sleep, thinking ‘One more chapter…’. I would spend my time scouring the country (well, local boot sales) looking for an elusive Famous Five book. I would absorb books at a rate that my older self would envy. For therein lies the problem – as we get older, other things jump in the way.
When I was a kid I could read three books in a night, and then go to school in the morning and be expected to read books there – absolute heaven. Back then I had no need to worry about the rigours of work, or the limitations of money or even the enormous pressures of drinking copious amounts of beer during the weekends at public houses. No, the world was me and a book, and as a result I could tear through literature (and Enid Blyton) at a rate of knots. Yet now as a fully grown – hopefully – adult, I found myself making excuses for the lack of reading I now partook in. And the overwhelmingly predominant excuse was “I don’t have time to read any more!”
This, of course, was a load of balls. Everyone has time to read, they just chose to do other things. The time I spend watching Friends (ahem, Friends repeats no less) could be spent reading. The time I spend on computer games could be spent reading. The time spent writing ridiculous blogs could be spent reading. And so I resolved to change – and herein lay the challenge.
One year, one hundred books. How hard could it be? That is approximately a book every three and a half days, or two a week. Sounds a piece of cake.
And so I read. A half hour train journey became a half hour reading session. The time it takes for a kettle to boil became a time to snatch a page or two. As a man perfectly comfortable reading on the move, even a walk down the street became and excuse for a read (as a side note, reading whilst walking down the street at night results in a wonderful movement up and down of the book in order to catch the most sunlight possible. An experience everyone should try). I read and read and read. And as all easy how-hard-can-it-be challenges go, I achieved my final total of…
That’s right. I missed by a measly six books.
The moment I realised I was not going to make it was pitifully late in the year – possibly on the morning of the last day. For a moment, I was massively disappointed in myself. How could I come so close, yet not achieve the final goal! This had all been a waste of time.
And then I realised that actually the opposite was true. I had rekindled my love of books. I had read books I had been meaning to read for years, followed recommendations of friends and family, reread old favourites and discovered new ones. And it had all been great fun! It was great to have friends ask how the challenge was going. It was wonderful to see the titles piling up on my list. It was a joy to know that a pass time I once spend a good 101% of my life dedicated to, I had returned to with aplomb!
I will admit however, that missing the big one hundred mark still stings. It would have been great having told so many people what I was up to, to be able to tell them all “I made it!”. But in good conscience, I could not, and thus, in the tradition that has been handed down to us all throughout the generations, admitted so on facebook.
The response was great. People seemed interested in my big long list of books and my not so scientific rating method (I like most books so gave them a four or five. The two I hated got a one. Not much else was given out except for the book which I couldn’t even bring myself to give a one to). And what was even nicer, is that one or two have decided to try the challenge themselves. And if they are going to try, then why should I not join in again!
So here goes. Round two. One hundred books in a year. Those of you who are particularly observant will notice that we are around three weeks into the year – the point at which I should be on about six books read. And how am I doing? Well, I have nearly read one. Slow pace so far, but in my defence, the old chestnut of not having time to read is far closer to the truth than usual. However, I know that I need to pick up the pace should I want to meet the target – and believe me I do – so I had best get reading!
For those of you interested in my ramblings, I shall try and keep a little log of the books I read here. Feel free to suggest anything (I may ignore you, or you may help me unearth a gem). The more I read, the more interested I am in books, literature and writing as well, so I shall try and pepper in some more interesting book related posts as well. In the meantime, I shall try and think of a sensible way to finish off a blog post without it seeming abrupt.