In my head, I read a lot. But I’m not sure that’s the case any more. For a while, I was commuting by train, which meant at least forty minutes of reading time every single day, which I loved, but it has proven far more economical to drive, which I dislike. There are a few reasons I don’t like driving, but the fact that I get less opportunity to read is pretty high up the list. I’ve been listening to audiobooks, but I struggle with audiobooks for fiction.
Now that I’m working full time, my evenings and weekends are precious time to socialise and rest, and it’s become more difficult to fit reading into that. When I get in from work, I tend to crash out pretty quickly, so if I’m not reading something that I find super compelling, I don’t find myself reaching for my book.
All of this means that I feel like I’m not reading enough, which is a constant insecurity with me.
So, how am I going to combat this?
Firstly, I’m allowing myself to give up in books that I’m not reaching for. I recently started Caroline Criado-Perez’s Do It Like A Woman, and just found that I was forcing myself to pick it up. That isn’t to say that it’s a bad book, just that it’s not for me at this particular moment in time.
I’m also focussing more on fiction in my reading, because I’m more likely to keep going back for a plot than I am for information. There’s lots of non-fiction that I love, it’s just not massively my preference. To this end, I’ve picked up Margaret Atwood’s Surfacing, both because the blurb sounds interesting and because I haven’t read much Atwood, even though I’m obsessed with The Handmaid’s Tale. I also chose it partially because it’s not too long, if I’m being entirely honest.
I also want to read more by authors I already love, hence the Atwood. I’m a bit of a butterfly with books, I’ll read anything that catches my interest. The downside of this is that I can’t think of many authors who I have systematically read everything they’ve written. Jane Austen might be the only one. So I’m looking back over the books I’ve loved in the last few years and going back to those authors.
The final thing that I’m hoping will encourage me to read more is reading more on recommendations from people I actually know, because I’m hoping that the desire to discuss the books I read with my family, friends and colleagues will motivate me to read them faster. Currently sitting on my shelf waiting to be read is my boyfriend’s favourite book, and given he’s currently reading my own favourite, I should really get on that.
Relatedly, I’m going to try to stop thinking of audiobooks as not proper reading. I sort of feel weird saying I’ve read Sara Pascoe’s Animal, because I only listened to it, but really, all the words are the same!