I miss reading

As a child, I was always reading. I remember one time when I was around seven years old, when I sat and read through two famous five books in one afternoon. I chose my secondary school on the basis of the books in the library. I was known as a bookworm, and was a regular visitor to the local library.

Now I earn a living from reading. I help writers shape their stories and I check them over for errors and confusion. I spend most of my days reading, in one form or another.

And yet I really struggle to read for pleasure these days. It seems that after spending my days being hyper-critical of what I read, it’s hard to switch off and simply enjoy a story. Those books that drag me in so I can’t bear to put it down are few and far between, and so many times I’ll start a book and lose interest halfway through.

It’s not just the day job; I think the switch to electronic reading has a lot to do with it as well. I read on my ipad, which means that not only do I not have a physical copy of a book to see and remind me, but there are so many other things I can do on the pad that I simply forget to read.

There are so many books around these days. Perhaps that’s another part of the problem. So many stories, and yet the quality is often an issue, particularly as the same subject matter is dealt with over and over again in different ways.

I’m working my way through the futurelearn writing course, and that lays emphasis on not only writing but but on reading, and particularly reading with a writer’s eye.

So that’s reading with an editor’s eye, reading with a proofreader’s eye and reading with a writer’s eye. I just long for the sort of book that I get to enjoy for its own sake, reading with a reader’s eye. I’m going to make a real effort this week, and see how far I get.

How much reading do you do? What’s the best book you’ve read recently? Have your reading habits changed as you’ve got older, or as electronic books have become more popular? How quick are you to drift away from books that don’t catch your attention?