Year of Reading challenge
“The more that you read, the more things you will know.
The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go.”
– Dr Seuss
As a writer, I know the great importance and gains of reading widely and often, both critically toward improving my craft and for enjoyment. It’s the last part I’ve struggled with over recent years.
A writer of historical fiction must read copiously in the era of their research, the writings of the day, and everything they can lay their hands on about the time, place of their setting and the people. I’ve found over the past three years that this has left me little time to read for pleasure or to sample many of the wonderful, recently published books out there, particularly YA and kid’s lit that I also love and write in. I feel I’ve missed a large chunk, and not least because many of my friends and peers have been published in these genres and I’m eager to read their latest books.
My shelves are crammed more these days with books I want to read and the percentage of “read” to “waiting to be read” has tilted dramatically in favour of the latter.
In this National Year of Reading, I’ve set myself the challenge to read 52 books in 52 weeks. These fifty-two will be chosen beyond the many novels, information and history books I’ll be reading in the course of my research and background gathering for my current WIP.
I need and want to rediscover the pleasure of story for entertainment and escape; the great read you can’t put down while the carrots steam dry and the washing sits idle in the machine. Of course, I’ve read some fantastic books, memoirs and historical novels in pursuit of improving my knowledge of the era of my last novel, but it’s the other genres that I love passionately too that I’m missing of late.
I’m not sure I’ll get to blog on each of the fifty-two books of my challenge, but I will read them. I intend to put aside time every day to do so. Not the last ten minutes in bed of a night when my eyelids give up before my brain and the book is closed on the promise of a tomorrow that my ultra-busy 2011 couldn’t fulfill.
This will be my Year of Reading. How about you?
My first book of the year was Buying a Piece of Paris written by Ellie Nielsen. This is a non-fiction account of Nielsen’s efforts to fulfil her dream of buying a Paris apartment in just two short weeks – negotiating with limited language and knowledge of “French real estate etiquette”.
I totally enjoyed this easy read and jaunt around Paris, that, if the truth be known, fulfils a little of my own fantasy. I love how the prose frequently drops into French – my enjoyment obviously madly influenced by my own current attempts to learn the language and in appreciation of Nielsen’s struggles.
The view of life painted in Paris of Nielsen’s fellow expat’s enticed me more, yet also warned of the difficulties that perhaps only those with considerable means can fully circumvent.
A great read for lovers of Paris, France and French, or those nurturing a secret yearning to live in a foreign country.
Buying a piece of Paris – Ellie Nielsen Published by Scribe Publications 2007 ISBN: 9781-921215-51-3