A Year of Reading

It’s World Book Day today, and once again I am home, working. While others work at grand events in bookshops around the country, in schools, I’m here, with a deadline of two weeks left and four weeks worth of work to do it in. And still I read.

BUT, waiting for paint to dry it seems the perfect day to begin my ‘Year of Reading’ blogpost. It will grow to be a long one. I used to think I was a slow reader, but I make time for books, for reading, if I can every morning before work and in the evening, book-ending my days, my time. And maybe reading is like anything you do, the more you do it the better you get at it. Certainly stories seem to go deeper into my soul. So, not World Book Day so much as World Book Year.

People ask what are the best ways to get children reading. I say, by reading. If children see you reading they will want to find out what this thing is you give your time to. Read to them, with them, and when they are older they will read to you.

Some of the books I read this year I will review, but not all. I should be painting. All of the books will be good. I’ve learnt not to give my time to something I don’t enjoy. And I don’t do bad reviews as I recognize the effort that goes into each book. Just because a book doesn’t suit me, it doesn’t mean it’s not good.

These are 2 of my many piles of books waiting to be read and over the year more will be added as new books are released and people recommend titles and books make their mysterious way to me:

So, here goes.

I began the year with The Grace of Kings by Ken Liu and throughout the year will dip in and out of the short stories in The Paper Menagerie. There’s more about that on the ‘souls’ blog post.

Then this, from Paul Gallico and Angela Barrett.


Utterly magnificent, The Bear and the Nightingale, set in Russia, smells of the forest.

A wild tale of border country, by William Grill from Flying Eye. Beautiful, sad.

I read The Wilful Princess as a manuscript when working on cover and images inside, so great to read this for pleasure.

The Wandering Falcon, short stories woven together, smells of the desert and coloured like gold. Everything it says on the cover.

Oh, my. This, The King of the Sky from Nicola and Laura, is just gorgeous from cover to cover. A story of migration, borders and the smell of home. Vanilla and cold dust.

Not a book, not a magazine, but something very beautiful and again I will be swimming in and out of this between books. Is it a journal? I don’t know. All I know is Elementum is itself and it is gorgeous.

Took me a while to catch the voice, but each sentence is like poetry. Sublime, fierce, bloody, wild, gorgeous love story set in USA. Again, more migration, from Ireland, across America. Pulls no punches. Breaks your heart.

The Golden Compass, also known in UK as Northern Lights by Philip Pullman. I read it when it first came out. Heard that The Book of Dust is out in October. A new trilogy.I might take a holiday to read it and will have to buy at least two, one for me, one for my daughter. Re-reading is bliss. Like visiting friends not seen for a long time. A rare book.

Next I picked up The Beauty Things by Alan Garner and Mark Edmonds. It has been sitting by my right hand for so long I had forgotten it was there. And now I am lost to Alan Garner’s work. Listen to The Beauty Things and more on these podcasts. They include a reading of The Stone Book. For anyone wishing to write, especially if their subject is folklore, folktales then this is a must. And like stepping stones it led me to take down the next book that also had been too long waiting on my shelves.

If you’ve time, listen also to this, a wonderful podcast about Red Shift.

This book travels through time and space and connects everything. He’s a master craftsman.

Any of the above should be available in your local bookshop and if they aren’t they can order them. For me, every day is book day.