Unread Books

Several years ago, I decided I needed to read more (actually more is the wrong word to use here, I actually needed to start reading full stop) and made a conscious decision to join the library and start borrowing (and reading!) books again. I even asked a cultured older friend to give me a list of 25 books to read before I die. My sisters (Samantha and Natalie) bought me for Christmas, 1001 Books To Read Before You Die in 2006. I began to take these complied reading lists to the library and take out books to read. To begin with this worked well and I would read every evening before going to bed. However in recent months, I have made the bad decision to start a book and not finish it and then have to return the book(s) to the library as they are requested by another reader. I hate starting a book and not finishing it but I have to admit my discipline just has not been there in recent months. There are a mixture of reasons for this, the main reason is time. My working schedule does not really allow for leisure reading. I start work at 8am, leaving my flat at 6:30am. Evenings when I am having a session at the gym, I get back to my flat around 7:30pm – 8pm. After dinner and catching some television, it is time for bed around 10pm. No time to read, that was a luxury from my time in Newbury.

I would watch Newsnight (a show I still miss and hope I can watch on a more regular basis once my work-life settles) and then around 11:20pm, as Gavin or Jeremy or Kirsty or Gavin sign off, head off to bed to read my latest book from my extensive (twenty odd) reading list. I would tend to drift off to Richard Bacon on Radio FiveLive around midnight or midnight thirty. These were the heady days in Newbury, West Berkshire, with morning sessions at the gym from 6:30am, three days in the working week. Not only was I in better shape from October 2008 to September 2009 but I was also engaging my grey matter a great deal more than I am now.

Do you get the feeling that you are just vegetating? As my wife to be would put it more crudely, ‘stewing in your own juices’. Do not get me wrong, day-to-day I am busy and have many things going on but in terms of actually engaging my brain. There is not much happening. I would much prefer if I had to the time to not just read, but understand topics and subjects. Instead, I find myself sleeping walking through life and as I hit my thirties I feel it has a detrimental affect on my overall well-being. I have not read a book, since my holiday read which was Lucky Man: A Memoir by Canadian actor Michael J. Fox but that was way back in July last year. (I know I am still to write-up the blog posts for my two trip to India – the notebook with all my blog notes is sitting in my drawer somewhere. I will get to it at some point, I promise). I have tended to borrow the occasion book from the library, only to not make it up to triple figures in the pages and have to return it back to the library as it is requested by another reader. After a hiatus of a few more weeks, I would try again to find a book to engage me but as usually after a few weeks the book would not be touch again and soon have to be returned.

What is the antidote for all of this? Well I shall be trying again to find a book to read but will wait until after my up coming wedding. Once I return from honeymoon, I will clear a weekend to actually go and find a book I will read and not put down. I am sure once I get back into the swing of reading again, the daily habit will return and I shall once again fall in love with the process. It would just be good if I had an alternative commute, which enabled me to read on the train and bus. Who knows what the future may bring?

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