The National Year of Reading – escapism

“I declare after all there is no enjoyment like reading! How much sooner one tires of any thing than of a book! — When I have a house of my own, I shall be miserable if I have not an excellent library.”
? Jane Austen, Pride and Prejudice

Fleur McDonald's to-be-read pile

Do you love going to a movie and being taken into another world? Do you get so caught up in the action on the screen, you jump at every explosion, cry at every kiss or nod your understand every time a teenage girl yells at her mum? I do.

I do it with books too. In fact, if I am truly entrenched in a book, someone could talk to me and I won’t hear them. Losing myself in an imaginary world, where I can listen to every shout and see every scene in my head – almost as a mini movie – is a precious gift.

My parents gave me this gift and it truly is the present which keeps on giving. They encouraged me to read in bed before I went to sleep, in car as we were driving the three hours to Adelaide, or even at the top of the Willow tree, which was favourite place to read, because I thought I was at the top of the Faraway tree! I received books for Christmas, for birthdays and often my dad, who travelled away regularly, would bring me a book on his return home. (The first book I can remember was The Famous Five, Treasure Island – read its story here.)

The only exception was when I was sent to bed and mum came down to check on me. If I was reading under the covers, she’d take my book away – can’t tell you how upsetting that was! (My daughter does it now and I have to be stern with her, but inside I’m laughing and loving the fact she is so absorbed in the story, she can’t put it down.)

I’m always curious to see what people are readings so, as I’m a friend of The National Year of Reading I’m putting a call out to see peoples “to-be-read” piles. Mine is quite large – I’ve just pulled out a few to show you. (Oh and there’s another funny story; I asked a friend if she would take a photo of her pile and she asked if she could take a photo of her whole bookshelf!)

The top photo is my to-be-read pile. You’ll see a couple of YA books in there – my daughter often asks me to read her books, if she’s either a bit unsure of the story line or she thinks I’ll enjoy it. I’m happy to oblige – I still go back and re-read the Famous Five and my other favourite books, from childhood. Do you?)

Over the next few months, I’m going to show you some people’s piles and the reason they have these books waiting to be read. (If you ‘d like to be involved, please email me at author at fleurmcdonald dot com)

Gabi Cumming is first to share her pile!

“I am a very patriotic Aussie and take every opportunity I can to absorb our unique culture, customs and characters. My reading is very Aussie and I swing from fact to fiction. I love to read true life stories of our outback pioneers and the difficulties they faced but I also love to read current accounts of how our bushies continue to fight against the elements. We also run a wildlife Shelter (because our animals are so unique and special) so I always have at least reference book in my pile – I never seem to know enough!”

Gabi Cumming's to-be-read pile

By the way, did you know 46% of Australian reading age don’t have enough literacy skills to function on a literacy level . They can’t read every day things like a newspaper or instructions on a medicine bottle. (info got from The West Aust newspaper). Let’s see what this year can achieve to help reduce this number!

What are you reading at the moment and how big is your to-be-read pile?

Comments 0

  1. Thanks Fleur – I’m honored to be the first to share my to be read pile! Since then I have finished the top two and added another four! These hot nights when you can’t sleep are perfect for reading! I too love to watch my children being absorbed by books – and I feel proud to have passed on my love of literacy to them – even though they are into completely different genres than me! I love when they ask me if we are heading into town – “Can we go to the library Mum?” – its one of my favorite places to be!

  2. Wow, Gabi, what a great question for the kids to ask. I know my kids love hanging out in the library or the local bookshop! (Though my daughter who isn’t far off being a teenager doesn’t think it’s quite as cool as it used to be!)

  3. Pingback: Bookish news and publishing tidbits 19 January 2012 | Read in a Single Sitting - Book reviews and new books

  4. Another wonderful idea Fleur! I’ll be sure to send you a photo of my “to reads” but I’m getting quiet frustrated with how quickly it grows. I just can’t read quick enough to keep it at a manageable number of books.

    I’m another who used to get in trouble for reading under the covers. I remember having a miniature torch which was attached to a keyring. I used to use this under the covers, resulting in incredible headaches and no doubt a lack of concentration at school the next day!

    Passing on a passion for books is a wonderful gift to children. My son is 2 and he’s recently started pointing out the library when we drive into town. He gets so excited and loves visiting. Being at that paroting age, he mimics everything. If I sit and read, he’s often beside me with one of his books. Such a special age and very cute!

  5. I love seeing everyone’s reading pile too – one reason I love Goodreads!
    I just finished reading Nanberry by Jackie French – amazing book! (YA)
    I’m nearly finished Claude in the City (I read kids books too hehehe)
    and now I must go pick one of the 20 books beside my bed to read next.

  6. As a Book seller, I have enjoyed your first 2 books immensely. Can you please have them put onto audio book with Bolinda Publishing? We have many Truck Drivers who would be very grateful.

  7. Hi Jenny, for some reason that is one market Allena dn Unwin haven’t been able to crack. I wonder if an email to one of the marketing team, from you, would be useful? Thanks so much for your kind comments. I hope you enjoy Purple Roads.

  8. Hi Fleur,
    I usually have a few books to read but can not put them into a pile as it then looks to big and I insist on making it smaller – the cleaning, gardening, cooking etc gets left behind and forgotten! So instead this year I have decided to note down all the books I read this year with a little blurb about what I thought of it … so far I am at 8 books!

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