For a little over 2 years now, I've been (meticulously, compulsively) keeping a reading diary. Don't ask why, but it's been a useful reminder of what I've enjoyed, what's inspired me and which authors I'd like to read more of. Sometimes I'll have no books at all; often 3 or 4 on the go at once, so I can pick up the one that matches my mood.
I've recently realised that in these last two years I've read a book, on average, every 10 days. (You do the maths.) It's surprised me a bit. So, I got to thinking about why I like reading.
I wouldn't paint myself as a bookish person. I do however have a deep respect for quality writing and writers, and a complicit lust for exploring. (Exploring knowledge, places, people - it doesn't matter.)
Opening a book is the start of a journey, a water drop released by the clouds. When this journey finishes, it not only adds to the lake but leaves the inevitable ripple. (And that's only one part the water cycle...^^)
The reading diary also makes the rainy seasons and the (necessary) long dry spells obvious.
There's also something at once powerful and subtle about the quality of the language and emotions there that are so half-hearted in most elements of real life. All the mediocre ideas and writing styles and trivialities of newspapers, TV, even Hollywood can be put aside.
I'd also like to give credit here to a former student of mine, Joy, whose leaving gift to me was the lovely and inspiring little picture book "The Meaning of Life" which heads the list. (I don't believe in favouritism, but of all the wonderful characters I've taught so far, I think she was my favourite.) Thank you, Joy.^^