I have a borderline unhealthy obsession with books. I am entirely incapable of walking past a bookshop – especially if it offers antiques or out of print books – or the weird and wonderful treasure troves that is the charity shops dotted on our high streets and not look at what hidden gem might be hiding on the shelves. I almost never leave empty handed. If you ask my dad about me and books, he will probably turn bright red and grumble things along the lines of ‘never again’ , ‘moving’ , ‘effing books’, ‘should be burnt’.
I however adore my ever growing collection, with their slightly musky smell, slowly taking over every little bit of empty space in my house. I’m particularly fond of history – the more obscure the better. And I have so far resisted the purchase of a kindle. It’s just not the same.
Now it is one thing buying a book, but getting time to actually read it is an entirely different matter. As you might gather, I have rather a lot on and more often than not, there just don’t seem to be enough hours in the day. And rather annoyingly I need a little bit of sleep every so often too. It’s not just books I hardly manage to read though. There is a pile of print editions of the Economist on my lounge table, looking at me accusingly and gathering more dust by the day. Really I should cancel my subscription but at least that way I get something other than bills in the post.
I do have the best intentions when it comes to reading. My bedside table is stashed with books I really want to have a go at. I want to try read a book a week. That’s my goal. Considering just how many there are I actually want to get through, it’s a ridiculously small number. One a day wouldn’t cover it. But even the modest one a week goal is near impossible. It’s not just finding the time, even though that alone can be a problem already. But when I finally sit down with a book and start reading, my mind wanders off. Random things, current things, things I put to the back of my head that suddenly decide to start resurfacing. It might be that the sudden quiet mind brings a chance for them to break free and they jump at it. It annoys me a little. I want to read. I finally want to know if Marie Antoinette really said let them eat cake. As mentioned before, I like history. I’m a little geek. I get off on biographies of people long dead. Or obscure catastrophic events in ancient times no one has ever heard of. Maybe I should switch to some lighter stuff. I read the girl on the train in two nights but it did confuse me a little as I saw the movie before I read the book and they are set in different countries. Although that has not necessarily any bearing I’m easily confused.
I’m not giving up on the reading thing though. It’s important to me. I have this theory that once I have sorted out the little things in life and with that reduce the possible distractions, it will become easier because my mind will be less preoccupied. And I changed my bedroom from general dumping ground and sleeping hole into a space of calm and recreation. Still a work in progress admittedly but it’s more there than here. In the meantime, I might cheat a little and bug Alexa for audiobooks. There are worse things than going to sleep to the sound of Stephen Fry’s voice.