A while ago, my obsessive need to organise everything happened to notice that a lot of the books on my Goodreads ‘Read’ shelf didn’t have anything in the ‘Dates Read’ column and decided that needed to change. So, I traveled back through my Mind Palace (and Amazon Order History) to work out when I read them all (as best I could) and I noticed something interesting …
There were trends in my reading that I found … surprising more than anything. Then after reading Lucy Mangan’s memoir Bookworm, I was inspired to write about it in a mini-tribute. I found her book so interesting, looking back on the books that made her into the person and reader she is today, I wondered what I would find if I looked at it the same way.
So, true to my rule of living my life by Excel spreadsheets, I present My Reading Journey line graph! (I was kind of proud of the captions.)
Now, I’m only 19 years old but I can’t help but feel a little disappointed at how few books I’ve read – it feels like so many more!
So a little walk through each stage, strangely doing this actually reminded me of what was going on in my life in each time period too!
The Early Years – 1999 – 2009
This was very much a guess and could be way off. Being honest, I don’t really come from a family of readers. My Nan always did but, it wasn’t something my parents actively encouraged me to do and aside from a few children’s books, I can’t remember a great amount of being read to either. I felt 20 books over the course of 10 years was a realistic guess.
Secondary School: The Bad Beginning – 2010
This year started much like the rest of them except it also included my SATs and the start of my time at secondary school. Like many children at this stage of their life, I read far less – because of less time? School work-related stress? The pressure to fit in? Who can know? But as shown in this article ‘Young people’s love of reading steadily declines from the day they leave primary school to the day they leave secondary school’ and well, towards the start at least it would seem I was no exception.
Teacher Gave Dobby a Book! Dobby is Free! – 2011
Ah, thank goodness for my school’s tendency to introduce harder subjects at a younger age to acclimate our little minds. In Year 8 my English teacher at the time did a basic English Literature lesson with us which meant, that’s right – reading homework, what I now know to be the best kind of homework. To Kill A Mockingbird brought about my love for classic literature and inspired me to pick up the Harry Potter books I’d owned for years but never read and actually look in the school library, of which I found some fluffy friendship/romance novels.
Now don’t get me wrong at this point, I did like to read and I did love Harry Potter, no doubt about it, but I don’t attribute it to starting my true love of reading because whilst I did love our young wizard, I had grown up with the films and knew the plot of them all. In terms of the books, only Half-Blood Prince onward was a surprise and the sense of discovery was lost on me. The series (and author) that really made me love reading is coming up very soon.
Enter Uncle Rick – 2012
Yes! Rick Riordan and his Percy Jackson and the Olympians series was the author that brought about my love of reading. Now, I had seen the recent movie adaption but anyone who had read and seen both will tell you they are so different it’s like comparing green apples to red apples (similar core but fleshed out completely differently). Percy was the first series I saved and spent all of my pocket money on and catalysed my pursuit of other series I could love as much (I didn’t but they were pretty good anyway). These included Hunger games, the last Twilight saga novel (since the movie wasn’t out yet and I wanted to know what happened) and some Kindle books I had no idea I had. These books included (to my utter horror at the time) the first sex scene I ever read. I mean 13-year-old me had never even thought about kissing a boy so this unspoken taboo scared the living daylights out of me and away from my kindle for a good long while. In fact, I think I traded it in at CeX.
And Then There were Shadowhunters – 2013
I hit another slump around here since after years of not having much of a friendship group I somehow got dropped into quite a sizeable one with the unwanted unexpected punishment prize of a social life with it. However, and the memory of how exactly it happened still eludes me, that summer I binge read all of The Mortal Instruments Series and it kick-started my reading once again, throwing me into the rest of Clare’s work at the time, the rest of the Twilight Saga (properly this time), and even more Riordan.
Kindle Romance – 2014
I read a lot for me at the time this year and (when I was going through my Amazon Order History) I was actually really quite impressed by it. Aside from a little fantasy, dystopia and the odd school text, the vast majority of this year was spent reading, as the name suggests, varied kindle romance novels. I honestly had to laugh at the development from fluffy middle school crush stories by authors like Melanie Marks to full-blown *ahem* romance novels by Addison Moore, J. Daniels, and Cora Brent.
Now, I’ll admit at the time my reading habits were a point of secrecy and shame. It wasn’t as though I was even remotely interested in dating at that point, I was 15 and still hadn’t had my first kiss and wasn’t really even looking for it – I wasn’t reading these books with any practical action in mind is what I’m saying.
Looking at it now retrospectively I kind of feel like I was approaching a topic I knew nothing about the way school taught us to – I read about it. I had, to put it lightly, a less than stellar relationship with my parents, in particular my mum, so no ‘talks’ there and my school’s sparse, biological and frankly clinical education on sex was lacking something so I took to Amazon’s Kindle store and read it right alongside my YA fantasy and dystopian fiction (a fad that still hadn’t faded yet).
I still read a few of these authors now (the better ones).
Out of the frying pan … – 2015
So as you see my reading took a dip and that would be because this was the year I took my GCSEs so I was in full-blown revision mode for the first half. I read some more Kindle books, some GCSE texts and there were a few new releases from series I read previously in there. I had received the A Song of Ice and Fire boxset from Christmas the previous year and began reading it the summer before I started Sixth Form too, reminding me of my love of fantasy and then … it happened.
They Were Dark Times Readers, Dark Times. – 2016
I read next to nothing during my brief time at Sixth Form. I stayed for one academic year and do not think I am exaggerating when I say it was the worst year of my existence. I was miserable, tired from 13 hour days 5 days a week, plus my weekend job, I hated my lessons, my school and it showed since not only did I not read, I lost nearly 2 stone of weight somewhat important to my health without lifting a finger. It was tough. What small amount of reading I did do, happened from September onwards when I started my new job. You can see how my current state of varied reading began.
The New Normal – 2017
I got back into reading in a big way last year as my daily commute was nearly 2 hours each way at that point (while I still caught the bus) and I haven’t really looked back since, though I have short lulls I’m never not reading a book. I read a lot but it was mainly fantasy with a smattering of other genres mixed in. I also joined NetGalley in the July and thus the dawn of a new era of reading for me – ARCS.
Livin’ in A Blogger’s Paradise – 2018
The birth of this blog! Since it opened at the start of this year I don’t have much to say about 2018 that I haven’t written about already. I’m still under my mountain of ARCs, I still love Rick Riordan and Shadowhunters and the odd J. Daniels novel – all is well.
I’ve added the tentative ‘tag’ on the end of the title because though I found this interesting I don’t know how much others would or if they’d even want to – but the option’s there!
I hope you enjoyed this, readers, until next time!