Reading and joys of reading have been an important part of my life.
Yet I have not been reading as much over the last two years as I used to earlier, although I do buy books. So I have these books neatly stacked on the shelf, and the beautiful spines looking longingly, waiting to be picked up and read.
So with the onset of the new year, I tried to shrug off the reader’s block, or the general lethargy setting in and set myself a target to read more this year. I am not a setting goal kind of a person, yet this one seemed to be very much needed, a well intended impetus, and it sort of gave me a spark of joy.
So I started with The Midnight Library by Matt Haig. It has been sitting on my to-read pile for far too long. I had watched The Boy called Christmas last Christmas Eve and absolutely fell in love with the strorytelling and the characters. It was full of hope and joy. It is based on a book of the same name written by Matt Haig. I required very little persuasion to pick that book out of my ever building to-read pile. The book is set in a library, and is about a girl caught in between space of death and life. The book depicts very well the complexity of dealing with depression, grief and mental health challenges. It was a bit triggering for me having lost someone close due to suicide. But the book is about finding that spark of life with kindness and is hopeful. I am glad I read the book. It has an-easy to read lucid style of writing in spite of dealing with a complex topic. I read the book quite quickly.
The next book I read is called The Authenicity Project by Clare Pooley. It was a fun and a light read. The book is set in London, begins in a coffee shop, and has an interesting set of characters and plot line. I enjoyed reading the book and I finished reading it in two days. I felt a great sense of achievement, and I had not read a book so quickly since I was in university. It gave me a tremendous boost and books and reading give me a great sense of belonging and purpose. It made me feel I am back home.
The next book I picked up was Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng. It is one of the finest books I have read in a long time. It had been sitting on my to-read pile for two years and my friends have been praising about it for a long time. I was a bit sceptical to read given the fact that it has been talked and hyped about too much. Sometimes I have read hyped books and have been disappointed, as I have too much expectation from the book. It is set in the 90s, before the internet and social media, when I believe the world functioned differently. The writing is mesmerising and haunting. The story and words stayed with me long after I finished reading the book.
After this I picked up Love Hypothesis by Ali Hazelwood. I wanted to read something light and a funny Romcom. I did hear a lot about this book on social media. It is light and breezy, but its not my style, I did not enjoy it much.
After that book, I have not read much. I have again relapsed in to a lull. It starts bothering me when I am not sticking to my goals, more so if they pertain to reading. When I was younger, I had no targets, no goals to finish a certain number of pages each day etc., yet I managed to read effortlessly . It made me rethink my reading habit. I do understand that as I have aged, my eyesight is not as before, and I do have other commitments which take sometimes precedence, my brain is comprehending and engaging at a different level. I also realised that I was more worried and anxious about not meeting my target number of books than actually reading. Reading should be a joy and the sole purpose of reading is to read, getting engaged in the words, stories and characters, rather than just focusing on a number. And in the target of numbers game, I had somewhere lost the charm and art of reading. The sheer joy of holding a book, stopping on the page that you have just read, relishing the words and staying with it for a while is equally important.
I would like to rediscover my lost joy of reading, and be more engaging with the story and characters. I would like to reread some books which I have already read and get reacquainted with the characters and stories, while rereading I would also like to revisit some of my reading memories and bask in nostalgia.
I recently was reminded of a old book series (The Hardy Boys) I used to read as a teenager, while watching a TV series called Only Murders in the Building. It has brought back some old memories of my childhood days. I have ordered online a couple of Hardy Boys books and am looking forward to read then again. I have also discovered that some of the Famous Five books have been published as graphic novels, in order to introduce them to younger audience. I might give it a try.
I am also currently reading a young adult novel called The Firekeeper’s Daughter by Angeline Boulley. I am not rushing myself through the book,not counting the number of words and pages I am reading everyday.
I set the target because I was not happy with my reading habit in the recent past. Now that I found my way back in to joys of reading, I no longer care about my target or goal. All I wished for is being lost in pages and find my way back.
“A Book is a dream you hold in your hands” Neil Gaiman.