My Year of Reading Joyfully

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Last year I joined in a reading challenge with some friends and colleagues. Looking back I think it was actually my idea for us to follow this random list of categories as a way of directing our reading choices for the year. The word “challenge” is like a red flag to a bull for me – I was up for it! And I was. For a while. I enjoyed reading books that I might not otherwise have chosen and searching for the right book to fit the requirements of a particular category (“Book set in your home town was especially difficult!). 52 books for the year, one a week – easy peasy! I started the year off strongly and kept up the pace until right until the end. Then it just stopped being enjoyable. Reading, the biggest non-human love of my life, was becoming a chore. A job to get through before the fun stuff could begin. I pulled up short with just 3 books to go to complete the challenge. A part of me thought “just get on and read those 3 books”, but another, stronger part of me, knew it was time to stop.

When reading isn’t fun anymore something has to change!

And so I quit the challenge. Admitted defeat. Reassessed. Moved on.

The challenge is on again this year and I am enjoying hearing from others about how they are “reading the challenge”. But I’m not going to join in this time. I’ve made this my year of reading joyfully – the year I read what I want, when I want, how I want – no rules, regulations or requirements. And it feels liberating!

When I had my Sweet Pea three and a half years ago the loss of the time and sane head space to read was one of the biggest losses for me. I missed the time I had to delve into a book with no interruptions. I missed having the brain power to concentrate on something more intense than the directions on a tin of formula (and even that was a fucking struggle at times!). Now that I am starting to scrape some of that “free” reading time back I want to spend it wisely. I want to spend it reading books that I am truly enjoying, that spark something in me. Books that make me cry and laugh. Books that stretch me and carry me. Books that bring me joy.

What about you? What is your reading life like at the moment? Any great recommendations for me?

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Latest Obsessions

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My last two posts have been pretty heavy going. They needed to be written to get the ball rolling again but I feel the need to lighten up the space a little now!

In that spirit here are the current enjoyable obsessions in my life…

  1. Netflix – I know I am late to this party but my partner just won a 4 month free subscription so we have finally joined the bandwagon. Sweet Pea is loving the  never ending Tellytubbies and Charlie & Lola while we are LOVING Friday Night LIghts and Making A Murderer so far. One of my best friends is also encouraging me to binge on Nashville and I’ve got Bloodline in my sights. Any others you would recommend??
  2. Reading – always has been, always will be my go to comfort. As well as this brand new release that I am dying to get my hands on I’m planning to re-read some of my favourite books this year, The Hours and The Broken Book . At the moment I am really enjoying The Trouble with Goats and Sheep,   
  3. Painting with my Sweet Pea – I am not what you would call an artistic person – but I would so love to be!! I’ve been using cheap water colours to paint with my little girl and I love it – so soothing and relaxing. I can even let Sweet Pea join in on my page and not feel (too) much angst at the loss of control!!
  4. Discovering new cook books and recipes  – I love cook books. I have a stack of them in our kitchen and I’m always on the look out for new ones. As for cooking…. Well, I do give it a try now and again! I was given the new Nigella Lawson cookbook for my Birthday and so far the Nutella brownies get a big thumbs up. The Mexican salad from this new Lola Berry book has also been a winner in our house.
  5. Podcasts – I have a fair bit of driving to do to and from work every day so rather than listening to inane radio I have collected some podcasts to keep me entertained. The second series of Serial has me in its grips at the moment and I’m also enjoying Chat 10 Looks 3 with Leigh Sales and Annabel Crabb.
  6. My Girl – We have had a rough few months with our girl but we finally feel as though we are turning a corner and the relief that brings is indescribable. I am the first to put my hand up and say I find this whole mothering thing bloody hard but at the moment I am enjoying starting to connect a little more with my girl and really enjoy our time together – yay!

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I would love to hear your latest obsessions too – I always have room to add at least one more…

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