Until just under a month ago I had never blogged, or really had any inclination to. I am a reader not a writer. And in terms of blogging about books, well, I hadn’t really thought about books in that way since school.
Ironically, it was actually two books, neither on blogging, which inspired me to start this blog. Both were books that it was quite unlikely I would ever normally read.
The first was The Night Circus: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Night_Circus
Now this is a fantasy book, and as a person with a highly limited imagination, I would never choose to read one of these. Even the cover put me off.
But as discussed previously, I comply with rules. And this was a book selected for my work book club – and the (admittedly unwritten) rule about book clubs is that you chose to be a member, of your own volition, so read the book, whether you would have chosen to or not. So I did.
It is not that I loved this book. I liked it in parts, found it hard to understand in parts and disliked it in parts. But I did think a bit about why other people had loved it so much and came to the conclusion that, without loving it myself, I could understand why it was good. It was beautifully written, incredibly evocative and unusual.
This led me to thinking that there were probably a lot of books out there that I would normally write off which were actually worth a read. That it was good to expand my mind by thinking about different books – and the more different a book is the m0re likely it is to lead to a little thinking. And finally, that probably the best way to assess whether a novel is worth reading – as I couldn’t use my normal criteria – was by knowing that other people thought they were good. This started me thinking….
The second was the Happiness Project: http://happiness-project.com/
Now as a rule I don’t read self help books. And I have read – but don’t particularly like – if you are even a little unhappy throw in the towel – kind of inspirational books. And this book does fall into that general category. But I picked it up while browsing a book shop abroad and I liked the premise. Which is: I like my life, but I know – deep down – that there are some things I could do to make it that bit better. I will apply some time to thinking about those things and then doing them and see what happens. And that is what the author Gretchen Rubin does.
So, as I am sure thousands (if not millions) of people who have read this book before me have done, I tried it too. There was a fairly long list of small things I tried, including Rubin’s ‘one minute rule’ (paraphrasing: if a task takes less than a minute do it at the time as having it hanging over you will inevitably annoy you more than the actual task). But some things on my list were:
- Take time for the things you really enjoy
- Bask in being outside your comfort zone
And this blog is both: I love reading (and wanted an excuse to take more time out to do it) but is also, in both a choice of literature and a blogging sense, outside my comfort zone.
So that is how I ended up here.
And I am really, really enjoying this project. I knew I would love taking time out to read. And I knew I would love some of the novels. But I am also finding a great deal of joy in the more cerebral way of reading – thinking about novels as I go, analysing them and writing about it.
But possibly my favourite thing of all is the connections I have made through this project. Beyond my own circle, I have never sought to publicise the blog- that wasn’t the aim. I have no idea how it happened, but I now have readers, commenters and twitter followers I have never met, from countries I have never been to.
And that is such an unexpected delight, so thank you.