Reading a book (or fifty)

Last year, I set myself the usual challenge to read 50 books. Since I managed to do this in 2019, I was determined to keep the streak going and I did! I enjoyed a wide range of books.

I re-read some books – the most in a year I think (Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert, Yes Please by Amy Poehler, On Writing by Stephen King as well as texts that I teach like Romeo and Juliet, Stone Cold and A Christmas Carol). I listened to quite a few audiobooks and I read a lot of non-fiction. Last year was not really a year for reading fiction for me – I couldn’t seem to stay focused on it with all the madness going on.

My favourite book of the year is Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens. Both gripping and beautiful. I will definitely be re-reading this one again this year. I also really loved Untamed which I listened to on audiobook (which I love as it is like Glennon Doyle is mentoring and caring for you personally) but I would definitely like a paper copy so I can annotate it!

This year, I have set myself the same target. I am currently reading Hamnet by Maggie O’Farrell. The blurb from Waterstones:

On a summer’s day in 1596, a young girl in Stratford-upon-Avon takes to her bed with a fever. Her twin brother, Hamnet, searches everywhere for help. Why is nobody at home?

Their mother, Agnes, is over a mile away, in the garden where she grows medicinal herbs. Their father is working in London. Neither parent knows that one of the children will not survive the week.

Hamnet is a novel inspired by the son of a famous playwright. It is a story of the bond between twins, and of a marriage pushed to the brink by grief. It is also the story of a kestrel and its mistress; a flea that boards a ship in Alexandria; and a glovemaker’s son who flouts convention in pursuit of the woman he loves. Above all, it is a tender and unforgettable reimagining of a boy whose life has been all but forgotten, but whose name was given to one of the most celebrated plays ever written.

I am also working my way through a book that my friend Kat Howard wrote called Stop Talking about Wellbeing: A Pragmatic Approach to Teacher Workload. I trained with Kat when we did our PGCE and she is a certified superwoman. I have had to take breaks while reading this either when I am not in the mood to read about the job or when it all feels a bit too frustrating given my inability to make the changes really needed (although I find myself nodding along throughout) but I am very pleased that our newest member of SLT is reading it so hopefully something will happen!

I am also listening to Barack Obama’s new book A Promised Land. It is a lengthy 29 hours and 10 minutes long and there aren’t many voices I could listen to for that amount of time; luckily, President Obama is one of them. I do love (and respect and admire) that man.

Finally, I am also reading Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix with Evelina. We started this earlier last year and we have been dragging our heels a bit with all the birthday / Christmas festivities. I am looking forward to getting it on.

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