Nice Weather for Ducks.

I [quite by chance] found the list of books which British librarians believe we should all read before we die.  I don’t think I’m doing too badly.  And heaven forbid I should actually pop my clogs before I get round to enjoying them all. 

[have read]
[have started, not finished]

To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
The Bible
The Lord of the Rings Trilogy by JRR Tolkien
1984 by George Orwell
A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens
Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte
Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
All Quiet on the Western Front by E M Remarque
His Dark Materials Trilogy by Phillip Pullman
Birdsong by Sebastian Faulks
The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck
The Lord of the Flies by William Golding
The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time by Mark Haddon
Tess of the D’urbervilles by Thomas Hardy
Winnie the Pooh by AA Milne
Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte
The Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Graham
Gone With the Wind by Margaret Mitchell
Great Expectations by Charles Dickens
The Time Traveller’s Wife by Audrey Niffenegger
The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold
The Prophet by Khalil Gibran
David Copperfield by Charles Dickens
The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho
The Master and Margarita by Mikhail Bulgakov
Life of Pi by Yann Martel
Middlemarch by George Eliot
The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver
A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess
A Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich by Alexander Solzenhitsyn

I love reading, yet do so little of it now.  When I was ten years old a cosy library was built in The Village of my Childhood and myself and a good friend became obsessed with it, taking photos and writing notes, all in the name of Primary School Project.  For the next few years [and later, during university holidays and upon returning ‘home’ in my late twenties] this became my second home, a place where I would hungrily search for the next fantastical adventure.  The same librarian was always in the cosy library [mayhaps she is still there today] and she watched me mature and grow as I devoured anything and everything I could get my hands on.  Teen romance, horror, fantasy, quirky-girly, the paranormal, religion, easy-to-read books aimed at children …

When I went off to university at the age of eighteen I had no time to read for pleasure.  My days were a whirling dervish of boys, alcohol and studying.  Why read when there are more exciting things to do?  And so, books became a holiday luxury.  Even when I graduated I still had no time to read for pleasure as my life became consumed, first with the PGCE and then with full-time teaching.  Why read when there’s money to earn and children to inspire?  Books were still a holiday luxury. 

When I gave up the teaching and returned ‘home’ in 2001 I discovered Harry Potter in Mumsy’s bedroom.  A few months later I met The Blokey and he introduced me to Terry Pratchett [not literally, although apparently he did receive an email from him once].  I was working in retail and had plenty of time to read.   And read I did.  Constantly.  Unless I was doing other things

And I tried to hang on to this.  I tried to read constantly.  I like reading.  I like the images and the sighs of contentment as everything works out [as it does in most books].  I like the feel of the paper, the tucking over of the corner so as not to lose my page [I know, me bad] and the pain of the realisation that there are only five pages left till the end of the novel.

But just recently I’ve lost this.  And now I start books but find it difficult to finish them. 


Must try harder.

please God make me finish Thud! even though it’s months since I started it xxx Elsabeth


  1. yec: After “Tolkien” you have an incomplete opening strike through tag; it is missing a closing > IE will close that for you, other browsers (that comply properly to HMTL standards) will not. I am assuming that you are using IE. Aren’t I clever?

  2. Are you one of those people that can’t read anything unless they can sit down and read in peace and quiet for hours at a time? Or can you just open up a book anywhere, any time?

  3. *gasps and utters undiscernable words* You’ve never read Pride and Prejudice??  You must get on it right now, little missy!
    I’ve read 10 of those and started but not finished 11.  I used to read at least 4-5 books a week but like you, I’m to the point where I can’t finish anything I start, no matter how much I’m enjoying it.

  4. 99% of the time if I start a book and cant or dont finish it..chances are I will never finish it.  Its hard for me to continue a book that doesnt grab me from the get go.
    ryc: mmhmm controception would be a splendid idea..and I dont understand her thought process on why she wont take it. I have nothing to even tell you  other than…shes just …hmm..dumb?

  5. I read less than I used to, too. My dad took me to the local libraries all the time, in the days when there were still pink or green tickets and no automated systems. I was on a mission to devour all the books. Loads of public libraries are being shut down now, and that makes me sad.

  6. I’ve read several on your list (pretty much because they were on the reading list at school)…and I’ve seen some in the movie theatre….I guess that doesn’t really count though, eh?

  7. I’m glad the Time Traveller’s Wife made it on, as well as the classics. You should definitely read Pride and Prejudice – it’s wonderful. Although I’m sceptical about the lovely bones and the life of pi – thought they were dull.

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