I used to read. Lots. I’d miss train stops and tram stops. I’d read waiting for lectures to start and I’d read up the back of them when I was bored. I destroyed Mum’s copy of The Mists of Avalon from constantly taking it in and out of my handbag because I couldn’t put it down.
Once, when I was living in Vanuatu, I read all the adult and YA fiction in the village and started on the Bible. Got through Genesis and Exodus before I found myself someone on a neighbouring island I could swap books with.
But then life happened. A long commute rendered me too drowsy to read beyond a page before words started swimming. Exhaustion at night after a long day, created by the long commute, ruled out reading in bed.
And smart phones happened. It became easier to scroll through my Twitter feed while waiting for something than whip out a book and read a few pages.
I became a lapsed reader.
I wasn’t proud. I was ashamed. While I still identified with the reading community, I was a fraud. Where I used to read a books like they were going out of fashion, I’d now be lucky to read one per year.
I wanted to change. I wanted to go back to being a reader again. But want wasn’t enough. There were always excuses: I’m too tired, I should be studying.
Then one was issued: the JCU Library adopted Hannah Braime’s Ultimate Reading Challenge. 52 books in a year.
I tried to make excuses: I work full time. I study part time. I dance. I sail… I even declared on Twitter that it wasn’t going to happen.
But I needed a kick in the pants to get reading again. And this was a kick.
I was in. And in proud to say that after one month, I’m still on track.
I do worry that 52 is overly ambitious, given my work and study schedule, but Hannah Braime also has a 26-book challenge, which I’m pretty sure I can do.