writing

Reading as a Job, by S C Ransom

 

I’m deeply, deeply jealous of my daughter. She is about to go to university to study English. For the next three years her main required activity will be reading books. How great is that? She’s been sent a really long reading list which contains loads of the classics, with instructions to read as many of them as possible before the start of term. As a result, when I’ve asked her to do stuff around the house over the summer – the dishwasher, the vacuuming, the weeding – she’s been able to wave a book at me and say “I’d love to, but I’m working.”  This seems grossly unfair when my own ‘to be read’ pile is beginning to teeter. There just aren’t enough hours in my day.

Of course, some of the books are proving not quite such an easy read as others. David Copperfield seems to be taking her forever, and I can’t say that I’m particularly keen to read Beowulf in the original old English, but Jane Eyre and Great Expectations? That would be brilliant.

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As part of her degree she’ll be learning about the language too, all the rules which I’ve never really been taught but have just generally picked up without knowing why. She’s already a very picky editor of my work, and that’s going to get worse. Nothing will get past her.

When we went on holiday our reading piles were hugely different. Holiday reading has always been an important part of our family’s packing – who is taking what, and will it tip us over the baggage allowance? My pile was somewhat different to hers, but none the less brilliant – The Lie Tree, by fellow GHB blogger Frances Hardinge, The Lake House by Kate Morton, Me Before You, by JoJo Moyes and Mount! by the unsurpassable Jilly Cooper. My husband and son had a collection of thrillers, and with a couple of Kindles as well (sadly mine is still listed as missing), we had more than enough to keep us busy.

A holiday is now the only time I can really devote myself to reading in big chunks of time, to really immerse myself in a book. The rest of the time there is too much going on but on holiday I can slope off into a corner with a book and no-one bothers me. Wherever we are my daughter has always found what she has called her reading spot and has sneaked off there with her books. Now she will spend the next three years finding quiet corners of the various libraries in which to read. I can’t think of anything better.

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