Rediscovering reading

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What have you been doing differently through the Lockdown?  What new skills have you gained?  How has your day looked different to what you did in the pre-lockdown era?

These are the questions that many people are pondering.   Today, I read a newspaper report on Radio/TV host Stephen Nolan and how he was finding time for new things amongst his attacks on public figures and battles for PPE.

For me, its been a strange change of pace.  I’m shielding at home which means that I have not been out much.   I have been trying to keep ‘school hours’ through the weekday mornings and my days have been filled with planning for next year, organising the collection of exam results and making sure there is enough work for my pupils.

But, there has also been a little more time than usual for other things.   As my wife is working up at The City Hospital, I’ve been sorting out the food orders and making the dinners.  I’ve made a few things I’ve never tried before – my own Lasagne and a version of Chinese honey chilli chicken that is so good we have been enjoying it at last once a week (with home-made prawn crackers too!)

I’ve also rediscovered my passion for reading.   I haven’t had a lot of time to indulge in reading  until recently.   I have started to plough through a daily newspaper (online) again.  I started with a subscription to the Daily Telegraph but I wasn’t really enjoying it and switched to The Times.   The Times was always the paper I used to read – from way back at university where I got special vouchers to buy it for 10p.  I used to read through and cut out articles that I thought might come in handy.  I find myself doing the same now – if I come across a story that I like – I take a screen grab to store it for the future.   I knew I had made the right decision to switch back to The Times – when on my first day I had saved 3 stories.

But, I’ve also stated reading a lot more as well.   I have always read a lot.  I have a really wide taste in books.   Often I will come across a recommendation online or on twitter and I will order it up there and then and 2 days later a little cardboard package will appear on my doorstep.   Usually, I will read about 5 books at once.  I keep them all in different places – on my phone I am reading a novel about submarines (Final Bearing by Wallce and Keith), on my iPad its a book about the Spanish flu epidemic (The Great influenza by John M Barry), on my desk I have Carol Dweck’s book on Mindset (that I am reading through for the second time), Island on Fire by Alexandra Witze and Jeff Kanipe,  D-Day by Stephen E Ambrose and Education Exposed by Samuel Strickland.

I like to dip into a book and read a chapter or two and then come back to it again a day or two later.  I like to have what I read swirl around in my head as I process and come to grips with what it is saying.   Sometimes I will write a quote down but more often I will grab a pen and scribble over the pages with some ideas and thoughts.  That’s why I prefer a physical book to one on my kindle app – though I still will buy books and look for bargains on Kindle.  Why pay £10 for a book if I can get it for 99p on Kindle?

This approach does mean that it usually takes me ages to read books.   I started Stephen Ambrose’s book on D-Day at Christmas.   I am currently on page 437.   I usually read about 4 or 5 pages every couple of days.   I am hoping to have it finished by 6 June. Sometimes I will fly through a book.   I just finshed reading the small book – Where is God in a Coronavirus World? by John C lennox earlier on this week and it did not take me that long to get through – though it did make my brain hurt!!

My reading backlog is getting bigger through the Lockdown too.  I have two shelves in my house where I keep the books that I have yet to read.   I’ve ordered quite a few recently and need to get round to reading them as soon as I can.  They are mostly filled with history, geography, education and religious themes.

Right – I’m off to get another chapter done.   I wonder what I’m in the mood for  . . . . .

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