There’s one worry I’ve had in the back of my mind since I decided to study literature; reading would stop being fun. It’s the one thing that everyone kept warning me about, but obviously I just brushed them off. That could never happen to me, I love reading!
But then, of course, it happened… during the Christmas period I was perusing my bookshelves and I noticed something. I had only read about 5 books for the whole of my first year with the OU (not counting set texts). This is a number that worried me, considering my yearly average is about 35. So when the time came around when everyone else was deciding to stop smoking or join the gym, I remembered that feeling of failure.
Initially I decided I would read all the unread books I have piled up around my room. But the voice in my head said “Stupid, stupid girl! You are not going to get through 300 books in one year!” and I think I’m going to have to admit that the voice is probably right… After acknowledging this little gem of common sense I changed the plan. I decided to try to read at least one book for pleasure each month. If I get through more, that’s great, but my target is just one.
This feels like a much more manageable goal, and hopefully I’ll be back to my usual book-worming in no time! Part of the struggle is picking what to read next (especially as I have so much choice!), so if anyone has any recommendations feel free to drop me a line!
The Life and Loves of a She-Devil by Fay Weldon
A great book to start off with: whimsical, fun and divided into very short chapters… perfect for slotting in during assignment breaks.
Juliet by Anne Fortier
Nice and well-rounded, combining the easy reading of chick lit, the literariness of Shakespeare, and the added bonus of scandalous ‘history bits’. Joy!
One Day by David Nicholls
So easy to read and boasting some truly great characters. The film is every bit of good- probably because Mr Nicholls adapted it for the screen himself.
The Prophet by Khalil Gibran
Not sure if I’m philosophical enough for stuff like this… lovely imagery though.
The Heroines by Eileen Favorite
The idea behind this book is great- what if the heroines from all your favourite novels came to visit? Made for lots of daydreaming on my part…
Doghouse Roses by Steve Earle
Written by an incredibly profound songwriter, a change from what I’d usually read (being a less than huge fan of the short story…) but I absolutely loved it. Very gritty, with a compelling country/rock feel, not necessarily where you’d go to find a happy ending but interesting subject matter and so, so well written. I’m not gonna lie, I may have squirreled away a few of his metaphors for future recycling…
A Daughter of the Sioux by Charles King
My first experience of Project Gutenberg (what a goldmine). I basically just picked out a random title off a list and got stuck in. Despite being infused with sexism and racism it’s somehow still an appealing story, maybe it just adds an extra layer of authenticity…? Not sure, all I know is it was way less torturous than watching a Western!
Salmon Fishing in the Yemen by Paul Torday
Unusual format (letters, emails, interviews, articles and diary entries) which is not really my bag to be honest. Original story, some quite vivid characters and gentle humour, but a bit of a nothingy ending.
Echoes by Maeve Binchy
I’ve read it before and I’ll read it again. There is something so familiar and comforting about Maeve Binchy, she’s my go-to author for when I’m feeling a bit on the miserable side, reading her books is something akin to curling up in your duvet with a brew and a packet of chocolate digestives.
The Guernsey Literary & Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows
This came out of the ‘4 for £1’ bin outside a charity shop, and was picked purely for its name. And to be honest I only started reading it because it was one of the few that escaped my frenzied packing… but I loved it! Usually I find it irritating when books are written in letters, but this one was great (quirky characters, book analyses and entirely bizarre couplings, what more could I possibly ask for in a bus book??) And I’ve heard a rumour that this will soon be a film starring the wonderful Kate Winslet, so yay!
The Adventures of Maya the Bee by Waldemar Bonsels
Again, I was attracted by a whimsical title. This was a free ebook downloaded to keep me occupied during lunch hours, and although I enjoyed reading something COMPLETELY different to anything I’d usually pick, I was relieved when I finished! The insects were just so much less lovable than the ones in A Bug’s Life. I’ve got this overwhelming desire to illustrate this book though… maybe a suitable lunch hour project?
Diary by Chuck Palahnuik
Whaaat???? I would actually describe this book as MENTAL. But fabulous. It was simultaneously abhorrent and addictive, and I have been recommending it to everyone I come into contact with. I feel like Chuck Palahnuik may be a new obsession (i.e. I’m scouring amazon as we speak for anything and everything he’s ever written!).