This year, I’ve decided to take on a reading challenge, with the simple purpose of pushing myself to read more. I can’t believe it’s come to this. Really, I’m pretty ashamed. In my uni days I used to read at least 3 books a week for my English course, and even after I graduated there was a long period of time when I still devoured books, revelling in the joy of being able to read whatever I wanted instead of every choice being dictated by a required reading list. In the 7 months I was travelling I took huge advantage of hostel book swaps and never began a long-distance bus journey without a chunky novel in my bag, and when I first returned to the UK I had a 90-minute each way daily commute that I only survived with my head buried in a book.
In the past couple of years, something’s changed. I’m now working instead of travelling, my commute is just 35 minutes each way even when I choose to walk (15 minutes by bus), and I’m ashamed to admit that screen time has replaced page time. I still read a lot of online magazines and blog articles, but Twitter and Netflix also make regular appearances, stealing away my free time minute by minute. I always have a book on the go, but sometimes it can stay sat in the drawer of my bedside table for days on end, bookmark untouched, while I repeatedly reach past it for my laptop. My reading habits have become lackadaisical, haphazard and directionless.
So I’m making a change. In 2016 I’m challenging myself to read 52 books, one for each week of the year, and have set up an account on Goodreads to allow me to track my progress. I’ll mainly be reading novels, but there are also some poetry collections I’ve never got around to, and I’m thinking of branching out into autobiographies and memoirs from some awesome creative people who inspire me. Obviously I won’t be reading strictly a book a week – some will take more time, some less, but hopefully I can keep myself roughly on track and end 2016 with 52 new books under my belt!
But I’m not only aiming to read more; I’m hoping that a reading challenge will help to focus my reading and push me out of my comfort zone with new authors and genres. I currently feel in a bit of a ‘reading rut’, and I’m looking forward to finding some new favourite authors. I’ll be seeking out book bloggers to get inspiration for my next read, so send me your links!
Wish me luck!