I am teaching myself to read.
This might sound strange coming from an avid reader and published author but unfortunately, it is true. I have written several books and digested several hundred over my lifetime but I have forgotten how to really read. To explain, I enjoy the process of reading insofar as I sit in a relaxing space that is just mine and I lose myself. When I stop to think about it, I actually lose myself in the stories, eager to get to the end just to find out what happens but then find myself lonely for the characters I have left behind when I close the cover for the last time.
I believe that it was Jane Austen who once said that all of the best written books are simply too short – I too find this to be the case. Readers may also be familiar with the feeling of disappointment if the ending is not as you would have wished it; or where there is no sequel but many unanswered questions – Tryingham Park springs to mind…
In recent years, I find my book collection burgeoning with impulse, airport titles with bold covers, making even bolder claims – usually with exclamation marks; non-fiction, motivational and self-help tomes, please take a bow. I genuinely believe in the old chestnut ‘You are now where you will be in five years time except for two things, the people you met and the books you read’. I have mastered the skill of reducing a bookful of words, into a single sheet of useful, memorable or actionable take-away points. And I am not alone in this.
In this busy, fast-consuming world, we scan; even those of us who love to read have, perhaps unconsciously, made the experience more efficient. This is turn makes the reading experience only marginally better than watching a movie. It is enjoyable at the time but almost instantly forgettable.
To revive the pleasure of reading, I vowed to return to an old favourite, one where content was assured and no calculation of the mind necessary. The aim of reading this book was simply to indulge myself in the authors use of language.