I have a hobby.

It’s reading. I KNOW. Shocking isn’t it?

I read every day. Whilst eating breakfast and before going to sleep. And sometimes at lunch time too. If it’s a really really fantastic book and it’s the weekend, then I’ll read all day, all night, all weekend. It’s a bit like breathing for me.

There are a couple of holidays a year I go on, that essentially I go on, just to read in a different place.

feet on a sunbed

Usually a very nice place with good weather and my own pool – but essentially I’m going to read.

I really like reading. As a librarian it’s slightly irritating. Picture the scene.

“What do you do?”,

“I’m a librarian”

“Oh you must really like reading”

“Well yes, but that actually has nothing to do with my job”

BUT I really like reading.

My mum taught me to read before I got to infant school and then I believe I was probably a bit of a pain in the backside.

Strangely though, once I got to secondary school, I found being told what to read in English Literature really annoying. Don’t get me wrong, if I liked the book then I’d read it and then read the entire series. Elidor by Alan Garner, Across the Barricades by Joan Lingard or the Chronicles of Narnia. But by and large I was quite irritated by the whole thing. After all – it was getting in the way of my proper reading time.

At my school we were allowed to drop English Lit. So I did – as fast as I possibly could. So I missed out on quite a few things that other people have read.

When I hit 30 I did try to read a few classics. I enjoyed Jane Austen. I did not enjoy Wuthering Heights. Definitely a book to read at 14. Not at 30. You want to slap Cathy silly. I tried Les Miserables. (in English) and was quite enjoying it until I got stuck in the Napoleonic Wars never to get out again. To Kill a Mocking bird IS now one of my favourites.

Mostly I like to read crime novels. Detective fiction – or as my friend Heidi calls them ‘murder, death, kill’. Or fantasy. Fantasy is great. I’ve a lot of time for wizards. Robin Hobb is probably my favourite pure fantasy author, although it does have to be about Assassins, Fools or Liveships.

Urban Fantasy too – I’m a big fan. Although in reality it’s just a mix of my 2 genres. Jim Butcher is my favourite author and I love whatever he writes.

I love Donna Leon and MJ Trow. Brunetti and Maxwell are my two favourite detectives. OH and if I mention them then I have to talk about Harry Bosch and Elvis Cole too. So that’s 4 favourite detectives… but what about…

Seriously I will stop there or we could be here all night.

So you see I like detectives as well as wizards.

Possibly why Harry Dresden is my favourite character in a book, ever. Jim Butcher’s The Dresden Files are about a private investigator that’s a wizard. What? *coughs*. Well that and the fact there is always one Star Wars quote in each book and more recently, he’s been adding Princess Bride quotes too. What’s not to love? (Getting my geek on. I once went to an event where I said I felt like Penny but having just read that back, I think we can plainly see that that was a lie)

I’ve also recently been introduced to and am quite fond of Caitlin Moran. There’s a knicker comment in ‘How to be a woman’ that had me howling with laughter and the tears running down my face. (Thank you Simkiss) But essentially I do read quite samey books

So to combat this, for at least one book a month, I’m going to try and do the 2016 Reading Challenge that Hayley sent me on Facebook. (I can’t find where it came from originally, I did look, but there was gin involved. Simultaneously a librarian fail and a librarian win)

I’m quite excited because lots of friends want to have a go too. Anyway the list is:

  1. A book published this year
  2. A book you can finish in a day
  3. A book you’ve been meaning to read
  4. A book recommended by your local librarian/bookseller
  5. A book you should have read in school
  6. A book chosen for you by your spouse, partner, sibling, child or best friend
  7. A book published before you were born
  8. A book that was banned at some point
  9. A book you previously abandoned
  10. A book you own but have never read
  11. A book that intimidates you
  12. A book you’ve already read at least once.

I’ve not quite decided yet what I’m going to read. I want to read 12 and I’ve got a few that could go in numerous categories.

So far, on the list and in no particular order, I’m considering Catcher in the Rye (the book that could in fact cut my list down to about 6!), The Color Purple, The Handmaid’s Tale, Oranges are not the only Fruit, The Crucible, Elidor, Wonder and The Alchemist…

I’ll let you know next week when I’ve decided on the others.

  1. Thank you for this, Lisa. As a librarian and a reader I can totally relate to what you say (how many times have I heard ‘ah, a librarian: you must like reading’) Love To Kill a Mocking Bird; can’t say the same for Catcher in the Rye (though I know many people who count it as their favourite book – boys mainly). If you’ve not read them already, I’d recommend Wolf Hall and Bring up the Bodies, The Miniaturist and We are All Completely Beside Ourselves. And The Passion by Jeanette Winterson if you like a bit if fantasy realism. I’m on H is for Hawk currently (as recommended by Gil). Loving that too. Do keep blogging about reading. Can’t wait for the next installment x

    • Author Lisa Jeskins

      Thanks Claire, really enjoyed writing it as well. I was toying with H is for Hawk as a book I have in the house but haven’t read. But I could have Wolf Hall too. 🙂

  2. Louise

    Fabulous post, as a librarian and someone who reads every day I can completely relate to this. And thank you for introducing me to the reading challenge. Sign me up 🙂

    • Author Lisa Jeskins

      Thanks Louise! I’m quite excited by it all. 🙂 New stuff (well to me anyway!) to read!

  3. Mike

    Totally identify with nearly all of this (I haven’t actuwlly read Wuthering Heights or some ofbthe detective books)….so I enjoyed reading this and aim to complete the list. ..in fact, I’m off to read now!

    • Author Lisa Jeskins

      🙂 thanks Mike and do you know what? I’m off to read too.

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