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Books. And finding 10 minutes in your day.

Ask anyone who knows me, and they will tell you I’m happiest with a book in one hand and a good coffee or glass of wine in the other.

I caught the reading bug at 5 years old, when my granda brought me to Donegall Road Library in Belfast.  I instantly loved the place.  The atmosphere, the smell of books and wood and men reading the daily papers at a great big desk.  This is the place where my lifelong love of books started, with a granda whose favourite books were thrillers and westerns.  Growing up, there wasn’t a lot of money and here was a place where I could take books home for free and travel anywhere I wanted without leaving the house.

To this day I still get that same childish thrill when I open a new book.  I read most genres except sci-fi and fantasy.  Books I’ve enjoyed recently include Trespasses by Louise Kennedy, Antarctica by Claire Keegan, and The Stasi Poetry Circle: The Creative Writing Class that Tried to Win the Cold War by Philip Oltermann.  I’ve just started to read Stolen Focus: Why You Can’t Pay Attention by Johann Hari, who spent three years exploring the reasons behind our shortening attention spans. 

It’s more important now than ever that we spend time with a book and turn our thoughts away from attention-sapping phones, computers, iPads.  If you find yourself struggling to fit reading into your day, try Take 10 To Read from the National Literacy Trust.   Once a year they encourage everyone to find 10 mins in their day to read, with the hope that it becomes a habit all year round.

Our daughter has always been a reader and enjoys most genres except Manga.  Heartstopper has become a huge favourite and from that series, she has read everything written by Alice Oseman.  There was great excitement when she met Alice at a signing at The Margate Bookshop!

Anyone can become a reader; you just have to find the right books for you.  A friend of our daughter was very resistant to reading until she was 10/11 years old.  Then she found a book she loved and has become a voracious reader and writer.  We couldn’t be prouder of Rosie!

Reading need not be expensive.  Join a library.  Visit a charity shop.  Swap books with friends.  Or start with short articles in magazines. 

Try to find 10 minutes in your day and switch off from everything.  The wellbeing benefits are immense, and you get to travel to different worlds from your home.

I’d love it if you would share your reading recommendations in the comments section below.

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