I love lists. There’s nothing better than waking up feeling alarmingly productive and drawing up a to-do list for the day. Well, I lied, there’s nothing better than drawing up a to-do list for the day and being able to cross off 2 or 3 things before you’ve had your second cup of coffee. There’s a sense of achievement, even if 1 of those items on the list was simply ‘put a load of washing in’, and I am a person who thrives on this kind of achievement. It’s the little things, the little tasks that can be easily completed and then surely crossed off a list.
So it’s unsurprising that my penchant for lists extends elsewhere, primarily to my hobbies, a large one of which is book-reading. I’m a literature graduate, I have always and will always, always cling to books. To indulge in a quote (yes, yes I know) from Lemony Snicket aka Daniel Handler, “Never trust anyone who has not brought a book with them.”. I’m pretty sure (and it’s a terrible habit) that I instantly judge people if they don’t read for pleasure. I always have a book with me if I think I’m going to have a moment to read – it’s the main reason I’ve had to start using canvas tote bags regularly.
I do, however, have one problem that makes me more than a little bit of a hypocrite. I either devour 3 books in the space of 3 days or it takes me 3 weeks to finish 1, there is no in-between. Doing a BA in English literature taught me how to, not necessarily speed read but, improve the pace with which I can get through a 200/300 page novel. Because when you realise you have to read Treasure Island for a seminar in the morning and it’s already 9pm, you have to be able to get through it efficiently whilst actually retaining something of the plot as you frantically flick through it.
But having recently graduated, I am now faced with a summer in which I can finally, finally I rejoice, get round to reading the stack of books I have woefully neglected in favour of the required reading of my courses. Except, I haven’t. Not really. Instead I stare at the books on my to-read shelf (Goodreads is an amazing resource for book lover and list aficionados), I read book blogs (like this one), I watch booktube videos (something I didn’t even know was A Thing until I saw this vlog by Kristina), and I add things recommended to me to my Amazon wishlist.
But my reading pace has drastically slowed down; I don’t need to read 200 pages in less than 3 hours, so I don’t. Maybe this is a good thing, since it means I can slow down and savour the language used. After all, every word is carefully chosen and edited to achieve a specific effect – that is what even the most basic of literature classes will teach you – so why not take the time to savour the prose? We’ll see I guess. It’s my hope that I’ll at least make headway on my to-read shelf, bringing me closer to that Book Challenge goal I optimistically set at the start of the year, then I can cross off some books from my to-do list and, as previously discussed, I do so love the sense of achievement and growth that comes with that.
I just hope that in the process I might find some novels I can treasure for years to come.