Trying something new here.
About halfway through last year, I started wanting to keep track of what I had been reading. At first I tried to record the titles in the five year journal I started keeping in May (I have this one), but I very quickly found that too frustrating. The five year journal is great for noting down a couple of observations about each day, but it’s not designed for a lengthy entry, and I never felt I had enough room left over to record the finished book.
I read a lot.
I have a whole slew of books I reread pretty much every year, and another bunch I reread every few years. They are my ultimate comfort reads. Some of them, like Guy Gavriel Kay’s The Fionavar Tapestry, I almost know by heart.
I reread almost everything on my shelves last winter, after we lost the baby. I wanted books that were safe. When I ventured out and tried something new, I kept stumbling across pregnancy, birth, loss. I needed my friends.
I have always been a big reader.
When I was seven, I participated in a summer book club. I still have (somewhere) the certificate that proclaimed that I had read “many” books over the summer. They lost count of my total.
I got in trouble when I was eight (almost nine) and we’d just moved to a new house (again) and there was a girl my age who lived down the street who came over to say hello and I wouldn’t get out the car because I was too busy reading my book (about dinosaurs).
I read on the bus and in the library at lunch time for years at school. Books were my friends when I didn’t have any real ones.
I read all through my undergraduate degree. Even when I didn’t have time to read for fun (I had hundreds, if not thousands, of pages to read for my courses every week since I was a double major in two humanities subjects), I still read.
One of the first things I did when I moved overseas for my Master’s degree was go and get a library card. Not for the university libraries (although I did that too), but for the municipal public library. It turned out one of my flatmates had done the same thing the year before and hadn’t yet met anyone else who’d bothered to join. It’s one reason we became (and still are) good friends.
I read books for fun during my Master’s degree, even (especially) when I didn’t have time to do so. I measured the strength of the depression I fought during those two years by the genre of the books I was reading. When I started reading something other than ‘chick lit’, I knew I was getting better.
I read books for fun when I was teaching down under, even though I was a teacher of English Literature and my job required me to read and talk about books all day, every day.
I read books for fun during my PhD. During periods of intense pressure I would let the library holds pile up next to my bed, a promise of the reward that would be mine when that latest deadline was met.
I read books when E. was a baby, pacing around my living room with him asleep in the carrier. I read both Guy Gavriel Kay’s Under Heaven and George R. R. Martin’s A Dance with Dragons that spring. I read books when he was a toddler, even when I knew he’d be waking me up at night. And I read books now, while he is watching his daily allotment of Mighty Machines or The Berenstain Bears, and after he’s gone to bed (when I know he’s very unlikely to wake me up in the night).
I have sacrificed many, many hours of sleep in order to read. I try hard not to get too close to the end of a very engrossing book when it’s approaching bedtime, as otherwise I’ll be up to all hours finishing it.
I fail at this more often than I succeed. Q. is very good at sleeping next to me while I race breathlessly through the last few (dozen, ok, sometimes hundred) pages.
So in January I started keeping track of what I had been reading. I made a note of each title and author in a blue Moleskine notebook kept beside my bed.
I thought I’d start posting my monthly reads on here too, where I’ll have room to write a little bit about them. Maybe I’ll provide some inspiration to someone who’s looking for a new book. Maybe I’ll get inspiration from someone who reads the list of what I’ve read and has a suggestion to make. Maybe I’ll just enjoy looking back over my list in the months/years ahead. Or maybe it will prove to be a short-lived experiment. I’ll give it a go and see what happens.
January and February 2015 to follow shortly.