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Why start a Reading Project?

The title of this blog is a homage to The Happiness Project which inspired me to think about what I really love doing and that’s reading. It also reminded me that I enjoy writing too, although it’s usually harder work than reading is. So, I decided to try to put these things together and start a blog on what I’m reading.

I love books. I swore I would never make the transition to ebooks but I have. This is partly because I’ve just moved house again and the weight of my many boxes of books is starting to annoy those involved in moving me and my belongings. I’ve also bought an alarming number of Ikea expedit bookcases to house them in, and even double-stacked they are taking up an awful lot of room. But the transition to ebooks was also spurred on by my holiday to Cuba last November when my nine books (it was a ‘two week relaxing on a beach’ holiday) put me over the baggage weight limit. Rather embarrassingly I had to unpack and repack three times at check-in and left an eclectic selection of books with the check-in guy (he seemed quite pleased actually, given Western books are hard to come by still in Cuba. I left my Rough Guide with a tour guide for the same reason). More on holiday reading another time, suffice to stay quite a few people around the pool questioned my choice of ‘Leading Public Sector Innovation‘ as interesting holiday reading. An excellent book by Christian Bason by the way. So ebooks it is from now on, although I still love buying the occasional paperback, browsing in bookstores and looking at my many bookshelves.

So I love books, but why write a blog about what I’m reading? Well, I’ve always loved recommending books just as much as reading them. This is the key to the relationship between my mother (a former English literature teacher) and I, my sister recommends my recommendations on to her colleagues (one of whom I met a few years ago and she clearly felt she knew me quite well already given my choice of reading). Sharing a good book choice really is as good as reading a really good book. I’ve also always kept a list of what I’ve read each year. That helps when buying birthday presents for others, reminds me what I’ve read, and is a reflection of my life and job at the time, as overall volume goes up and down depending mainly on the length of my commute. I also started a new job last November which gave my the wonderful excuse to read lots and lots in new areas to get myself up-to-speed, so I’ve been keeping a list of work related books I’ve read since then.

My ‘Reading Project’ aims to bring all this together, writing about books I’m reading for work and for pleasure (thankfully this is a very blurred boundary most of the time). Themes I think I’ll be returning to (as well as the books themselves of course) will be:
- the thorny question of how your books are organised and what that says about you (particularly when you label moving boxes ‘Fiction A to C’)
- holiday reading
- good birthday presents
- whether you should integrate what you love doing most into your job

I hope you enjoy reading this as much as I hope I’ll enjoy writing it!

June 2012