Sunday, 8 December 2019

Why I've Spent A Year Reading Children's Books

If you've read any of my Reading Wrap-Up posts this year, you may have noticed that I've been reading a lot of children's books. From picture books to young adult fiction, I've read children's books spanning the ages from 0 to 16. And you might be wondering why. So, with the end of this year now in sight, I thought I'd tell you. 

I hit a massive reading slump towards the end of last year. I found it really hard to reach my goal of 130 books and only just made it with a lot of short stories and bookazines. Coming into 2019, I knew I wanted to read more than I had the year before (although I know continue in an upwards trajectory forever) but I just didn't have the motivation. I set my goal at 180 but it soon became apparent I was going to struggle to reach it.

Adult books just weren't doing it for me. And believe me, I have got a lot of great adult books on my bookshelves waiting for me to read them. But I just could not get stuck in. I kept getting distracted, side tracked or just plain bored. And so one day I picked up the stack of children's books we had put away for our future children and started to read. And I soon rediscovered my love for reading.

I did some quick internet sleuthing when I started writing this blog post and found this article in The Guardian. In it, children's author Katherine Rundell, talks about how reading children's books as adults helps us 'refind things we may not even know we have lost' and takes us back to a simpler time, one when 'new discoveries came daily and when the world was colossal, before the imagination was trimmed and neatened.'

Spending this past year reading, for the most part, children's books helped me reconnect with what made me fall in love with reading in the first place. In a world where, as adults, we're all so goal-oriented and numbers obsessed, I'd stopped caring about the reading and only about the number of books I was getting through. Does that make sense? 

It's true, that reading children's books has helped me reach my goal of 180 books this year far easily than had I read solely adult fiction. But that's not why I did it. Reading children's books has sparked a passion in me that had disappeared in my endless pursuit of what I saw as bettering myself and achieving bigger things. And for what? So I can say I read 200 books last year? Who really cares? Not me anymore.

So going into 2020, I'll be assessing my reading goal very carefully. Being a lot more mindful of what I can realistically read, and what number won't put pressure on me. Because next year, I want to get back to reading adult fiction but for pleasure not for goals. Wish me luck!

Do you set yourself a reading goal each year? Do you find it helpful or does it put pressure on you? I'd love to know your thoughts on this!

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