It is hard, even for library staff to talk about what we really like to read, we too, feel the pressure of expectation.
Some questions I think we all ask ourselves:
Do people really want to know what I like to read?
Should I admit that Crime (insert genre) is not really my thing?
Am I failure because I haven’t read every book on every prize list ever?
You may feel obligated to read because something is held to critical acclaim – the Man Booker winner (Lincoln in the Bardo, George Saunders) or perhaps you, like me, have never read a single piece of work by the 2017 winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature, Kazuo Ishiguro?
I read A LOT – I am always reading. When I like a book I read it over and over again, I’ve always wanted to start a spreadsheet to keep track of my reading and to remind me of the synopsis for future reference. I am, however as previously stated always too busy reading! So, despite reading being my superpower I still do not feel confident confessing my reading habits to you, my friends or my colleagues (well some of you know my secrets…)
Does everyone feel like this? Did you know that sometimes we have to google the spelling of an author before we search the catalogue? Shocking I realise, but true nevertheless. Despite not choosing to read critically acclaimed literature at all times I do consider myself well read. I have spent many years honing my craft and know that the joy of reading is that there is always something else to discover; I might spend six months avidly consuming a diet of non-stop epic fantasy but when I eventually come out the other side I more than likely will switch completely to hard hitting edgy Young Adult authors as I continue down the rabbit hole.
Reading should be a judgement free zone, I do not believe that reading one book over another reduces the meaningfulness of the act. We should celebrate variety and decide for ourselves whether a novel is groundbreaking, a mighty pillar of literature or plain old nonsense.
Read with wonder, read with joy, read in the dark with a torch or in the light with the doors locked! Scare yourself, challenge yourself, comfort yourself, amuse yourself. Read what you like when you like, read to your children, read to your cat, read to your plants or just to yourself but most of all, enjoy.
I will leave you with some books I love, it is up to you to decide whether I am being completely transparent in my choices… Steph