Lazy Book Club

Blogmas Day 4

Lazy Book Club. An image. Art, if you will.

Lazy Book Club was the intended title of my regular feature on my weekly Sunday Breakfast show on BBC Radio WM. I don’t know how the ‘lazy’ part dropped from the title but the intention of calling it that was because the majority of people don’t read a lot, despite motivational speakers and life coaches telling us that reading is a fundamental key to success in life.

“Read for 20 minutes a day for clear skin!”

“Read a chapter of a book before bed to become a BILLIONAIRE!”

“Regular reading cured my cancer!”

My “quotes” may be tongue-in-cheek (or blatant lies), but it is a fact that successful people tend to have a habit of regular reading and learning. How you define success if up to you but let’s just assume in this case we’re meaning solvent and sane.

The Day My Brain Started Dying

I’ve always loved reading. From as early in my childhood as I can remember, my mum took me to my local library fortnightly where I borrowed the maximum quota of books allowed and devoured them all.

This passion continued all through my teens and twenties and would always be the last thing I did before I went to sleep. I loved it. So what made this stop?

Steve Jobs.

He didn’t come into my home and torch all my literature in a WW2 Nazi-style purge, but he did invent the iPhone and thence the subsequent degradation of my attention span (and my frickin’ eyesight) began. There’s no doubt you were a great and innovative man worthy of our respect, Steve (RIP), but you mashed me up, man.

I feel sad that my reading has reduced so dramatically. I can’t pinpoint the exact moment that reading one chapter of a book became a mammoth task and I could only properly relax my mind by watching a 30 second cat video or see what my friends ate for dinner, but the change was sure and swift.

I’m sure I’m not the only one who feels this way so Lazy Book Club was intended to be a public service, a way we could build slowly to being reading creatures again without shame. We could be inspired to read again and maybe exchange the cheat codes on noble sounding books that we know are important and will improve our lives but are frankly too wordy to get our heads around in this social media age. A safe space to grow together, if you will.

Sadly, as is the case with anything worthwhile, there are no real shortcuts – at least not without short changing ourselves – we’ve just got to get on and do it.

The Road to Reading Recovery…

Throughout 2021 I’ve read – or at least started – quite a few books. I’ve found that not only has my eyesight deteriorated since my smartphone addiction but my wrists and hands seemed to have weakened too. Holding a book open and turning pages when I’m lying on my side in bed to read has almost become an athletic feat. Yes, I’m aware that’s the most pathetic thing I might have ever said. Yes, I am ashamed.

My solution to this was to get the Kindle App and download it onto my iPhone. A great idea in theory but, in practice, I still had my phone on and open with all the attention-snatching apps and functions clamouring for my attention. I bought an actual Kindle instead and slowly but surely my reading time is increasing.

These are some of the books I’ve read (or listened to) this year.

I’ve just realised that sharing your reading list is a little bit like sharing your diary. It’s quite personal and I feel surprisingly exposed! What this cross section of titles tells me is that personal development has been high on my agenda. I’m sure I’ve said before but I’ll say it again, YOUR GIRL NEEDS HELP! Surely we’re all just figuring out this thing called life, no? I don’t think there’s a graduation date for that one.

I’ll give fuller reviews of some of these titles in future blogs. If there’s a particular one you want to hear about, let me know.

I’ve loved speaking to authors from a variety of genres on my Breakfast Show. They’ve been inspirational and fascinating, opening up whole new worlds and points of view in some cases. I’m looking forward to speaking to tomorrow’s author, Alison Jean Lester, about her latest psychological thriller, Glide. You can hear my show every Sunday from 6am on BBC Radio WM live or listen later on the BBC Sounds app.

Link in image

One thing’s for sure, when I go on holiday in 2 weeks time, only enjoyable fiction is allowed. 2021 has taught me many things and one of them is that rest, imagination and play is another way to grow.

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