I’ve always been an avid reader. I come from a long line of readers, in fact. It’s a pastime that has always been encouraged in my family, with both my Mum and my sister infamous for their ability to become inexplicably deaf once they’d become engrossed in a book. Our house has always been littered with them, and as I grew up the sight of a partly read book abandoned on the arm of the sofa or with an empty coffee mug was as familiar as my own face. Despite also being a huge fan of a great TV show, the movies and theatre, nothing quite beats a good book for me in terms of immersing yourself into a story. Nothing else quite has the power to help me shut out the world for an hour or two. As a result, it’s always been one of my favourite ways to relax. There once was a time when the realisation I’d forgotten to bring a book when boarding public transport brought me out in a cold sweat!
In recent years, though, time spent actually ‘relaxing’ has become far less frequent. There always seems to be something to do, whether it’s walking the dog, doing chores, trying my best to be healthy and get out of the house or generally sorting my life out. When I do find myself with a quiet hour or two my brain feels so frazzled that I tend to just slump in front of the TV or idly flick through my Instagram feed, as trying to focus on a book feels a bit too taxing – I find myself just staring at the same spot on the page for half an hour, not absorbing a damn thing. It’s ever so discouraging to finally get stuck back into a good read, only to have to skip back through the pages because you don’t have a clue how we got to this point! Even when I take a bath now I tend to resort to catching up on my Netflix watchlist rather than read. So reading, very sadly, has taken a bit of a back seat in the last year or two.
This weekend though, I headed down to Surrey to help out with my Niece’s birthday party – a journey that involves three trains and about 3 hours each way – and it seemed like the perfect opportunity to get back into the swing of things. I haven’t had an opportunity like this since I went on holiday last year, and was really looking forward to it. To my surprise, despite feeling pretty shattered after a long and testing week at work, I settled right back into the flow, and by the time I got home on Sunday night I was already half way through the book I’d taken. Suddenly my passion for a good story was back, and I almost felt disappointed when the train drew into New Street and I had to put my book away. I’d forgotten how much reading can quieten my busy mind, and I actually felt the most relaxed that I have in weeks, despite the fact I’d spent the day before running around after a bunch of manic 8 year olds, encountered the dreaded rail replacement service somewhere between Ascot and Reading and had to stand most of the way home. It really strengthened my resolve to get back into the habit, and now I’ve promised myself to spare at least half an hour a day to catch up on a chapter or two. That means no checking emails on the commute to work, no spending my lunch break reading nothing but Facebook status’ and, most importantly, TV off at 10pm!
It’s going to be a tough challenge some days when I’m just feeling a little lazy, but one that I think will be worth it! And a darn sight easier than making myself go running or not buying shoes…..
So, I’m welcoming any book recommendations you may have – heres hoping I’ll be getting through them at a rate of knots!