Losing (And Finding) My Reading Mojo
Reading has always been one of the great loves of my life. I would even go so far as to say that it is THE love of my life. Even on the days when I can't face writing, the desire to read is still there, so when that desire goes AWOL it causes me no little alarm. Thankfully, it happens very rarely but when it does, it's usually a sign of something else being on my mind and once I've figured out what that is, I happily dive into a new adventure. Sometimes, however, it's not always easy to identify a specific cause. In the lead up to Christmas, I'd read several books that I'd thoroughly enjoyed, but then struggled through a few that I'd expected to read quite quickly. Having decided to read a book I'd been looking forward to, it was therefore, something of a surprise to discover myself stalling at about 100 pages in. There was nothing wrong with the book, it was exactly what I'd expected it to be - pacy, interesting, quick to grasp my attention - and everything a thriller should be. But I couldn't read it. I found myself able to read only a couple of pages at a time and even then I wasn't always sure about what I'd read. It wasn't the book that was at fault, it was me. For some reason, I just didn't want to read. It was easier to just stare at the TV, watching things I'd seen a hundred times before.
I clearly wasn't alone in feeling like this, as on one of the book groups I follow on Facebook, a lady posted about that exact issue and asked what she should do to rediscover her love of reading. Lots of people, including me, commented with helpful suggestions. Mine was to re-read an old favourite. I'd tried that though and it hadn't worked for me - I'd got a few pages in and put the book to one side. It wasn't what I wanted to read. I also didn't want to fall into the trap of reading Pride & Prejudice variations as that's a rabbit hole that was hard to climb out of!
However, it did give me an idea. My eldest son had asked for three of Rick Riordan's books for Christmas. Having previously dismissed the Trials of Apollo series, he now wanted to read them and of course as the first two were in hardback, he HAD to have the rest to match – I can't think where he gets that from – and so I'd paid a small fortune for out of print books for him and they'd arrived unexpectedly early. I finally made time to read the last two Magnus Chase books (thanks MA for making me wait!!) then I re-read the The Hidden Oracle and raced through the remaining four over the course of a few days. By the time I'd finished them, my love of reading was back. I read the last two in one day and then returned to The Huntress and motored through that. I should then have returned to reading my way through the books on my Kindle in order, but where's the fun in sticking to the rules you've set yourself? I decided instead, that it would be far more fun to read Jennifer Ash's new book Outlaw Justice. Now I know I've said that I'm not meant to be buying books at the moment, unless they're for research or the blog, but in this case I had to make an exception. I've read the first three books in the Folville series and loved every one of them and when the author is a good friend as well... well sometimes rules are meant to be broken!
Needless to say, I loved it, perhaps even more than the other books in the series. The characters have grown and developed over the series - not just in terms of the reader's relationship with them, but also in themselves. They have matured and begun to think of the bigger picture beyond their own immediate circle and to act thoughtfully rather than relying on instinct alone. I messaged Jenny to say that I had to keep putting it down because it was just too tense, but then had to pick it up again because I needed to know what was going to happen. It's the last book in the series, so unlike with previous reads, there was no 'guarantee' that everyone, including the main characters themselves, would survive to the final pages. It's a dangerous world they inhabit and not everyone can have a happy ending! In the end, it took me less than 24 hours to read it and I'm now moving on to Jenny's Another Cup of Coffee before I revert back to my plan of simply reading the next book in line.
What I've realised is that finding your reading mojo doesn't always have to involve re-reading an old favourite, or a variation of one, sometimes familiar characters in new situations are all it takes. Thanks to Rick and Jenny I am well and truly at peace with reading again and am eagerly looking forward to 2021's reading list, when hopefully I will finally finish all the books I've got waiting for me!