Monday 5 August 2013

Semi Charmed Book Challenge

In my younger years I loved to read.  I'd read before I got up, between showering and getting dressed, while cooking and in bed of an evening.  Once I read two books in one day (we'd just moved to Switzerland and I had a LOT of time on my hands).  When I had my first baby I read while she fed.  Then she started to grab the book, and failed to sleep and the times for reading slipped away.  Add three more children to the mix and I've read hardly anything for nearly a decade.

But I've been thinking recently about me, and who I truly am, and I realised that I'm not me without a book on the go.  So I decided to read.  It was hard to get back into it and I started a lot of books that I just didn't finish.  And it was especially hard to read fiction.  I think I felt guilty taking time for pure pleasure instead of reading to learn a skill, or something I could place some, albeit arbitrary, value on.  I read a lot of books about religion without meaning to.  I read a lot of self help books.  I read a book about how to write a book. I read a book about how to carry out art fraud. I probably won't, by the way.  I decided I needed to get back into fiction.

So I read Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantell.  It perhaps wasn't the easiest choice but it was a good mix of fact and fiction and I read it slowly over a couple of months.  And I loved it.  Thomas Cromwell was quite a guy it turns out.  I think I maybe even developed a crush on him.  But after my time with Thomas, I found it hard to find another character who caught my attention.

I often work well to a deadline, so I searched around the internet to see if a reading challenge might be the way back into books.  Nothing really jumped out, but I subscribed to a blog which collects reading challenges.  And then, coupled with a chance visit of a friend who inspired me by mentioning he'd set himself a challenge to read a book a week, I stumbled across The Semi-Charmed Book Challenge.  And the book I'd started on the 5th of July fitted not one, but two categories!  I took it as a sign and am now working my way through each of the categories, with the further proviso that, where possible, the book has to come from my book shelves and not be purchased.  (Although I didn't have time to read, I certainly had time to buy a lot of books!)

I doubt I'll win. I doubt I'll even complete it in time. But I am having more fun with reading than I have in a long time.

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