Books, Life Ramblings

For the Love of Reading…


Reading books is one of my greatest loves but I struggle to do it linearly.  I tend to read several books in tandem, flitting around between them (especially non-fiction).  There have definitely been times when I’m so engrossed in a book or a series of books that I dive down deep and lose myself long into the wee hours of the morning (haven’t pulled an all nighter reading in years…I must be getting old!).  The flitting from book to book can sometimes be a little frustrating on my brain, but mostly it’s a fun adventure: beginning one book, starting on another and another…and another until finally I find myself gripped by one book in particular and I abandon all others until I’ve finished with the chosen one.

Sometimes, when the non-fiction books I’m working through become a little too confronting or draining I like to throw into the mix an old favourite to soothe my mind a little.  I definitely find I re-read books more often when I’m struggling emotionally. I find it soothing to revisit old friends, a world where I know what I’m getting, where I’m headed and who and what will be there at the end.

I felt like sharing with you my current reads, since the other ‘life-stuff’ going on with me feels too exhausting to share right now.

Reading for me, has never been: a race, a means to an end, worth measuring and most importantly anything to get anxious or stressed about, so I don’t record this for any reason other than a bit of fun and to share with you an important piece of ‘me’ right now.

{ Slight digression }…it occurred to me today that my pig-headed refusal in school to read anything a teacher or adult ‘told’ me to read may have come from a deep desire to keep my first true love: hidden, safe from meddling and intrinsically ALL MINE.  A few years ago I really thought I must have shot myself in the foot by refusing to read ‘books-on-command’ in school but my faith in my younger self’s decision making has come back around again…

…additionally…if I’m completely honest, my heart wasn’t in it when I proclaimed myself a stubborn and foolish child for refusing to read ‘The Outsiders’, ‘Day of the Triffids’ and ‘Animal Farm’ in highschool.  I stand by my stubborn-ness.  I adamantly believed that reading for me should be free-flowing and completely and utterly mine.

School took all the joy out of so many things for me.  There was even a time when I genuinely enjoyed Mathematics…one fateful day in Year 9 I came to the realisation that I was too stupid for Advanced Maths and asked to be moved down to the Ordinary Maths class and in admitting that defeat I gave myself a life long phobia of maths (especially in front of other people…eek!).  P.E and any sports we were forced into during school taught me that physical exercise was not for me but only for the chosen few who were born naturally athletic.  I’ve broken through my preconceived notions about not being ‘althetic’ enough but that maths phobia is still going strong.  I vehemently defended my reading, books were all mine and I refused to let anyone make a connection between reading books and the suffocation of ‘school work’.

{ Digression over } …So what am I reading?  First, the only audio book I’m working through at the moment: On my lunch breaks from work, I’m listening to Anne of the Island by Lucy Maud Montgomery (I go hide in my car for a glorious 20 minutes or so with the air con blaring).  Anne makes me wish I’d grown up a happier and more whole INFP.  Oh how I admire INFPs that just fearlessly be themselves and let that Fi flow freely.  Sadly, I’ve never been one of them.  Side Note: I love Arielle Lipshaw’s reading of the Anne of Green Gables books for Librivox.

I’m reading Mark Twain’s The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, but it’s more of a side-gig at the moment, not a main focus.  I imagine I’ll get to a point where I find my rhythm and just read it all the way through.

The self-help/non-fiction book at the forefront lately is: The Untethered Soul: The Journey Beyond Yourself by Michael Singer.  This book has really caught my interest in the past few days and I’m 6 chapters in and purposefully taking breaks between chapters to absorb and process.  My mind has been forever shaken by the realisation that ‘the self‘ is NOT the voice inside my head (that refuses to be still or silent)…but ‘the self‘ is the one that hears and witnesses the voice inside my head…

I’ve just begun Complex PTSD: From Surviving to Thriving by Pete Walker, I’ve read his Introduction and read through the table of contents.  I really appreciate that in his Introduction he suggests jumping in wherever you like and that you don’t need to feel you need to read from cover to cover (something I’m clearly a bit awful at with non-fiction!).  I’m really excited to delve deeply into this one and it means even more to me because my Youtube friend Friar Pesel recommended it to me 🙂

I have a long running struggle (I started this one in 2017!) with Healing the Shame that Binds You by John Bradshaw.  I find this book very confronting and struggle to get through him laying the groundwork so we can eventually get to the bits where he offers solutions and answers.  This one hurts and I’m not sure if that’s a good sign or not…

I’m most of the way through Boundaries: Where You End and I Begin by Anne Katherine.  I demolished most of this book in a week or so but then moved onto other books whilst I let her words sink in.  I’ll get back to this one (I hope)…although this one hurts at times when I’m reading it too…

My comfort book at the moment is: A Breath of Snow and Ashes by Diana Gabaldon…I began working my way back through the Outlander series again when we arrived back in Australia just over a year ago (I needed the warmth and comfort of my happy place whilst dealing with so much change in the real world).  I wasn’t able to go through all our book boxes over the past 8 months (everything was squeezed tightly into our double garage and the uncertainty of when we’d be moving again just made pulling things in and out of boxes too daunting a task).  We’re days away from embarking on another house move, and all the book boxes have been re-opened and re-shuffled.  I can’t believe it’s been 5 years since I first read A Breath of Snow and Ashes…where did the time go?  I’ve talked about my Scottish Highlands obsession in a previous post (it’s a bit cringe…I was just getting back into writing after 5 years of silence).

and finally: Akenfield by Ronald Blythe is my current pick up and open at a random spot and read a few pages book.  I love reading these little tidbits of life in an English village in the first half of the 20th Century!  Sometimes I pull this out and read interesting bits to my hubby.

…and that’s it at the moment.  I have so many books I desperately want to be reading right now but I periodically get all tough love with myself and refuse to add any new books to the mix.

We did a massive overhaul of all our many boxes of books in preparation for this next move.  If you’re new and aren’t familiar with our story, we moved a ridiculous amount of books from both the UK and Germany after living in Europe for a decade.  We have a bit of an addiction to old and weird books and one of my favourite things to do in the UK was to go on holidays here and there and scour the Charity Shops (Second-Hand/Thrift/Op Shops) for books that looked like they’d been donated when an elderly person had passed away.  It probably sounds a bit nuts to most of you…but those books signify to me a book that someone cared enough about to keep until their death, a book that interested someone that was born into a different time and place to me…and I find that fascinating and beautiful.  I adore that little glimpse into the life of someone I’ll never meet who lived somewhere I visited for a blip in time.

Anyway, back to our sorting.  We are donating a big pile of books we’re ready to let go of and we’ve kept out of long-term storage a ‘To-Read’ pile for each of us.  We’re using old fruit boxes for our ‘To-Read’ piles, and I feel like these higgeldy piggeldy boxes of books are an accidental visual representation of ‘us’.  Anyone who has ever come into our home (wherever home may be at the time…) would I think characterise us as a family who keeps a surprising amount of both fruit and books.  Barely any furniture and missing some pretty useful necessities for daily living, but plenty of fruit and books!

Questions for you if you’ve gotten this far:

Do you read books one at a time like a slightly-more-sane-than-I person?  Or do you have a few on the go at a time?  Are you a completist (feeling compelled to finish every book you start) or do you ditch books part way through if they just aren’t gelling with you or you’re not interested any more?

If you’re not a reader, do you do any of your hobbies in a slightly kookier way than others or are you happily following a logical path with how your hobby/activity plays out?

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