I don’t know what’s happened this year, but suddenly I’m reading again. I think it’s because I can. Does that sound strange? It’s not that I’ve just learned my alphabet or anything, or have progressed past See Spot run. Run, Spot, Run! rather that I’m not falling into bed exhausted at the end of every night and picking up a book and reading a page that makes no sense to me, even though I’d read the same page the night before, and possibly the night before that too.
And–here’s the cool thing–I’m reading whatever I feel like! Seriously! Amazing, isn’t it. Not what everybody on Facebook is recommending, not what’s #1 on the book shop bestseller list, just…what I feel like. And I’m not feeling guilty because I’m NOT reading things I’ve felt I “should” be. Huh? SHOULD be? Where did that even come from? I don’t know. But it’s been there. I walked past a bookshop the other day and had a quick browse through some novels on a table outside. There were some quality books, by names I recognised as top-notch authors. I picked up one or two of them and decided they looked boring. Just stuff about people doing regular things, and having regular lives. No magic, not to me.
Nobody saw me pick up those books, and nobody saw me put them down again, unread. Nobody at home is looking at the books I’m selecting from my To Be Read pile, and nobody is standing over my shoulder asking why I haven’t read theirs yet. My reading is mine. Boy it’s a good feeling. And, unsurprisingly really, my writing is sharpening too. The stories I want to tell are flowing more easily because I’m learning from writers who are doing the same thing as me. People say it all the time, write what you like to read. It’s true. It just took me a long while to get it going the other way round as well.
Is it just me? Have you ever felt judged by what you were reading were reading, even by yourself?