When I’m not writing, my other favourite thing to do is read.
Until recently I was a bit of a book hoarder. I couldn’t bring myself to get rid of books I’d read, even when I hadn’t enjoyed them very much. For someone who spent a few years as a reviewer and built up a huge collection, and then married someone who was also a big reader, it was a bit of a problem.
Over the last few years though, I’ve become much more sensible about my bookshelves. I hold onto a book if I’ve absolutely loved it and can imagine re-reading it in the future, but otherwise I pass them all on to friends or donate them to the op shop.
What I’ve done instead is start to keep a reading diary.
(Hey! What do you mean I’m a loser…?!)
In the front of a lovely black Moleskine notebook, I keep a list of all the books I want to read – currently there’s about 350 of them on there – and in the back I keep a list of the books I have actually read throughout the year. (My eight-year-old has commandeered the middle pages to keep his own wishlist, which is very helpful when Christmas rolls around.) So far this year I think I’ve managed about 50, most of which have been excellent. The wishlist means that I’m making fewer impulse buys, so in general I’m managing more hits and fewer misses.
In an attempt to compensate for reading within the confines of an English literature degree for four years, I’m also trying to focus on more diverse texts – more women, more writer of colour, and fewer writers from the US and UK. I’m really glad I’m doing it, but I’m having the same experience as Ali over at 12 Books in 12 Months, which you can read about on her blog: once you’ve broken our of the habit of reading only male authors, it then becomes much harder to read them at all!
If you’re a fellow reader and you want to share recommendations you can follow my visual reading diary online at instagram.com/ruthreadsbooks. And if you’ve read anything great recently I’d love you to let me know in the comments below.