We have a strange habit in this house and its one I’m trying to stop. I’m not sure when it crept up on me, but it’s also a habit that the boy has inherited and it drives me mad. What is it? What is it that’s so bad?
Starting book after book and never finishing them.
I have quite possibly 10 books that I’m somewhere in the process of reading. I justify this to myself by all manner of reasons. Some books are too bulky for the train, so I need to grab a smaller one. I prefer to read on the iPad at night in bed, so the other half isn’t disturbed. There is always a reason/excuse as to why I’ve picked up a new one and not finished the current one. It’s not even as if I don’t enjoy them, I just seem to be really poor at finishing them, and I never use to do it.
I wonder if its partly to do with embracing the joy of new technology. We’ve got so many ways to read or be read to now, and in this house we use them all. We’ve story CD’s, Amazon Audible, Borrowbox, Kindles and iPads all delivering us instant reading pleasure.
Then I wonder if it’s the quantity that are available. If the library ticket says I can have 12 books, you bet I’m going to find 12 to take home.
In fact maybe I’m just greedy for books? The wonder of what lies within, and a thirst for knowledge? Or maybe I just like shiny new books? Either way, I’m hoping that facing up to it will be part of overcoming it.
So I’m going to try really hard to finish my current ten or so, and pick up one at a time from now on.
I can but try!
When I was at school (quite a long time ago admittedly), the humble reading list would provoke one of two reactions in me. In primary school it was sheer joy. A chance to tick off a wealth of books I may have already read, and new ones to dive into. I would read them at speed, desperate to be able to return to school as a champion of books. As a hapless sports player, books were my thing. My chance to win at something.
Cue secondary school and my reactions changed somewhat. The books on these lists seemed dull and didn’t engage me. A rebel like me couldn’t be told what to think and read, so I would scoff at the sheer improbability of getting me to read the books suggested on them and revert back to drawing CND signs on my bag, and reapplying my Rimmel “Black Cherry” lipstick.
And now we’ve gone full circle and reading lists are back in our house with a vengeance. We’ve excel spreadsheets, apps and good old fashioned exercise books listing what we’ve read and what we plan to read next. After poring through 1,001 books to read before you die and realising unless I a) live to 150 or b) give up all plans for the next 40 years this was something I’d never get done which made me a little sad. Books used to be a massive part of my life and I’ve found that now it seems an indulgence to read. If I’m watching TV I can multitask with a craft, catch up on emails, and social media, or just generally “busy” myself. But this pursuit of being busy is something I’m quite intent on moving away from, and so the books make a natural alliance to this. If im trying to convince the boy to increase his reading repertoire it seems unfair that I sit around playing games on the iPad. So I’m trying to lead my example. The boy’s got a list to last him for the next 3 years, and I’m desperately trying to get through the piles of books that have lain untouched for the past few years on my shelves.
So by putting this into the public domain, I guess I’m making a pact with myself. The books are going to get read. It is going to happen.
I’ll let you know how we get on.