Note: When I say “year”, I am referring to my academic year, which runs from August to June the following calendar year.
I would like to start by acknowledging that not everyone has time to read on a daily basis. Personally, I have come to the realisation that as exams approach, the frequency of my reading has decreased. Telling myself I’ll read on the journey to school, I end up reading over notes, or looking over revision. It just doesn’t happen. Then, before you know it, the English Language exam is tomorrow and you realise just how limited your vocabulary is; due to lack of reading. Hence the importance of reading that teachers talk of.
I think that’s how I’ve built a reading life, truthfully. Being accepting of the hustle and bustle of my life, and adapting my reading to fit it. Understanding that reading is important, even amongst the hassle and stress of exams and under the workload from school. There’s no use lying to yourself, no one is going to make you sit down and read other that yourself. Breaking down that mental barrier was my first step to being able to actively seek out time to read.
I have grown far more than I expected to this year, in terms of reading different genres and trying new themes. Having been let loose in a library full of books newly available to me as a High School student, I have dabbled in thriller, fantasy, and mystery (for which I have discovered a slight obsession). For example, the first book I read this year was The Son, by Jo Nesbo. This followed Sonny, a prison inmate on drugs who escapes when someone confesses to him that they know something about his dead father. It has multiple perspectives running parallel along the same story, which blended together towards then end. I loved trying to stay ahead of the detective, whilst also following the murderer. A brilliant read and a great kick-off to the year.
I began trying to challenge myself as a reader around about the time when my English exam began looming in the distance. Let’s just say it freaked me out. I decided to pick up more challenging reads, in order to rapidly stretch my vocabulary horizons and teach me new words in order to use them in the exam. But I’ve learnt something about myself. It is more effective, for me personally, to read several books of appropriate challenge level, rather than try to cram multiple elaborate phrases into my head in one go. Over an extended period of time, I absorb more. For example, I picked up Honeydew, by Edith Pearlman, because when I read the reviews and flicked through it, I believed that it would allow me to expand my vocabulary. However, little did I know I found it too boring, and ended up discarding it as soon as I felt I could (I got more than halfway, and still wasn’t interested).
In order to challenge myself further, I am going to try to find the balance between what is easy and enjoyable to read, and what will teach me new descriptive phrases and broaden my horizons. This is my target next year, to be consistently at that equilibrium between ease and education.
If you have any book suggestions, or tips and tricks for how you fit in the odd page here or there in your daily routine, do let me know in the comments below.
Until next post!