Books

Reading one book a week for a year

When I was a child I loved to read. My sister and I would swap books back and forth and read them furiously, often finishing them within a day and hungry for more. Reading the Harry Potter series brings back particularly traumatic memories for me as we had just one copy of each book in the series and had to share. My sister being older and employed always bought them meaning she had first dibs and could revoke reading privilege at any opportunity. She did this often, power did not suit her. I would hate to see her cry while reading the series, not because she was a particularly emotional teenager but because it foretold of a death I had not yet read about that would crush me as much as it had her. I would have to wait until she was working, asleep or out with friends to get my fill, meaning I was a particularly fast reader for someone my age. I boasted this fact proudly in English class. It’s a wonder I wasn’t bullied for my lunch money.

Alas as the years have progressed I’ve had less and less time time to read while my list of books to read grows and grows. Plus my sister has long moved out. I would lament the fact that I no longer have someone to buy books for me but she went on to form a deep love for romantic fiction and that’s just not my deal.

It bothers me that I no longer have much time for something I loved so dearly so I decided to set myself a challenge – read one book a week for one year. It didn’t seem like too gargantuan a task until I began to compile a list. For want of actually completing the challenge I decided to omit overly large titles for a rusty reader like myself. I have slowed down in reading speed a lot over the years and generally speed in all areas that aren’t eating. Hopefully by this time next year I will have been successful and a largely recognised Olympic reading medallist capable of finishing Simone de Beauvoir’s ‘The Second Sex’ within 9 hours. One can hope. Largely I didn’t want to set myself up for inevitable failure so if my list seems childish that is why. Have a look for yourself:

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The aim of this challenge is to increase my reading speed, discover new and amazing authors, broaden my reading list and give more time to a much loved hobby. To be successful though I need to dish out some tough love and also rules. Maybe.

  1. Read every day. Break reading time into chapters or pages to make it easier. For example, the book I’m starting with is Mary Shelley’s ‘Frankenstein’ which has 231 pages or 24 chapters, divided by 7 equals 33 pages or 3 chapters a day. Not too daunting to begin with.
  2. Set aside a time, go to a café or a park (in Ireland. I know. This is wishful thinking in action) or simply curl up on the couch with a cup of tea or coffee. No TV, no phone, no internet. Don’t leave until your allotted reading for the day is done!
  3. No catch ups. No books running into the next week. No nothin’. Be strict with yourself or you won’t complete the challenge, loser.No giving up, even if you don’t like the book. It’s better to complete it now and look smart later.
  4. Have fun! You’re challenging yourself to something you love so you may as well enjoy it.

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As I mentioned above I’m starting with Mary Shelley’s ‘Frankenstein’ which I’m really enjoying so far. Keep it between the two of us, but I think I can do it. Until next time.

-Ciara C

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