I devoured books as a child. But as I got older, first school, then university, then research took over, and reading turned into an academic pursuit, something of a chore. It’s not that I didn’t enjoy the books but critical analysis often got in the way of simply enjoying a good story. Since our boy came along, the pages of children’s books seem to be only ones I now turn, albeit some pretty great ones. Actually, that isn’t entirely true. Last year, I managed to read three books for my own pleasure – Sarah Waters’, The Little Stranger, Philip Roth’s I Married a Communist and Lesley Hall’s fantastic The Life and Times of Stella Browne: Feminist and Free Spirit, all of which I would recommend. I also spent an inordinate amount of time reading online, getting lost in the black hole of blogs. I still do. As enjoyable, thought-provoking and inspiring as these real-life stories are, they can’t beat the feel of paper between your fingers, losing yourself in another world, and the anticipation of how it might all end.
This year, I want to try and step away from the computer and delve back into the world of literature. An episode of radio 4’s Woman’s Hour before Christmas mentioned research which showed that children who see their parents read for pleasure were more likely to have a more positive attitude to reading themselves. At 18 months our boy is a bookworm already. He always has his nose in a book. I want to foster his love for books, and when the time comes for reading. So when I stumbled across Laura’s link up ‘The Year in Books’ on her lovely blog Circle of Pine Trees, in which the aim is to read a book a month in 2014, I decided to give it a go.
This month I’m aiming to finally finish Martin Amis’s London Fields. I bought this for Florian Christmas 2012. He never got into it so last summer I picked it up. Several months and a couple of house moves later, its extremely dogeared but unfinished. A new house, a return to work and a toddler left little time for reading I thought but by swapping aimless surfing of the internet during the more quiet moments of the day it turns out I can catch up on some reading. This is the first Amis junior novel I’ve read (I can recommend his father’s Lucky Jim, which I found hilarious in its satire of academic life). London Fields is so far so dark and darkly humorous.
As well getting my hands on some new books (especially Donna Tartt’s latest, which seems quite popular amongst others joining the link up), I also hope to revisit some books I’ve previously read but this time I won’t be mining them for research. We also have quite a few books on our shelves at home which I’ve never read, so I’ll be giving them a once over too. I may also have to throw in a few slim reads just to make sure I manage to finish on time. Wish me luck!