Reads at 2019 half way point

After all the excitement of the Wolfson Prize (and blimey it WAS exciting), this may seem a bit dull (really selling it here), but I thought it would be interesting to reflect on the variety of books I’ve come into contact with since the beginning of the year.

It’s strange thinking we’re already in June, it barely seems like Christmas has just passed, and that is one of the reasons I’ve tried to keep a written record of what I’ve read. With time ready to fly when it suits, it’s easy to lose track of what’s been read this year, or back in 2018. Which is one of the selfish (positively!) benefits of blogging about books.

So this year as mentioned previously I’m doing two reading challenges, on top of the inevitable and wonderful “oh look at that book!” that will always happen. One has a variety of twelve different prompts, and the other is the Alphabet challenge. The first thing I have to say is I’ve surprised myself with just how many books I’ve read. When planning it out, I thought I might manage the “halfabet” but amazingly there’s only a few letters I haven’t covered already, with a long list of extra books on the side.

What’s surprised – and pleased – me the most is that over the last few months I’ve read a great selection of non fiction. I am one for getting stuck in a habit, and for a while the only nonfiction books I’ve read have been my Egyptology selection. These challenges have been a great way of kicking me out of that zone, to find more and more nonfiction I love. This in itself has been even more brilliant as I have discovered full blown body positivity and, as a wheelchair user who used to be a dancer, this has been something lacking from my life.

It’s also reinforced my love of audio books, which had faltered slightly last year, not for any huge reason, but just “had”. Discovering some brilliant narrators who compliment the work of their authors so wonderfully has helped with that, and so has just pressing play and letting it happen. Last year was rather intense for personal reasons, and I think, retrospectively, I became a bit too controlling over it all. Allowing something to happen around me has been a show of strength, and whilst that might sound daft to anyone who hasn’t experienced some of these things, that includes letting a book play, rather than choosing to turn a page. I’m so glad I’m back in the comfort zone there.

This year I’ve also been introduced to Reader’s First, which has allowed me to discover some books and authors I might not have otherwise found, and I’m so pleased they’ve crossed my path. Again, this has pushed that comfort zone a little bit more, and everything from medical nonfiction to dystopian fiction have landed in my lap because of it. I can’t recommend them enough.

It’s also so far been a good year for keeping those boundaries in place with books. I have, before, pushed my way to the end of a book I haven’t enjoyed, or tried a book multiple times just to still bot get into it. I don’t know whether I’ve been reminded of the whole “life is short” situation – or maybe “life is too short to read all the books you want” – but I’ve found it far easier to walk away from a book that hadn’t grabbed me. It’s always important to give a book a fair try, but after a certain amount of pages, sometimes you just KNOW that you and this book are not destined to be together. And that is okay. Life is too short for a book you don’t love. In some circles the idea of walking away from a book is a bit taboo, but personally I think it’s healthy. So there, that is my life changing statement to be taken from this piece, you are all very welcome.

This year I have read classics and brand new titles, audio books and cloth bound, books I’ve had forever and books I bought recently. From history, to romance, and from medical truth to alternate fantasy, it has been an adventure already in what I’ve read. There’s another six months left of 2019, and I have so many titles to read. I feel like sometimes I need to pause the year so I can catch up for a few days!

I’d love to hear what some of you have been reading, or what you have planned to read, for 2019. Thanks for reading!

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