my book journey: 1999 – present day

Hello and welcome fellow bookworms!

Now I don’t know about you, but I don’t remember a time where I didn’t read…I swear my parents must have read to me in the womb.

One of my parents’ favourite stories to tell about me as a child was the time when one of my great-aunts was babysitting me while both my parents were working. I was less than two years old at the time and my Mam was working on the checkouts in our local supermarket, so my great-aunt took me in there shopping.

Even back then, I was bought a book while we were shopping and my response to this was to take it to my Mam, who was serving customers on the checkout, and ask her to read it to me!

Fast forward (quite) a few years and I was that kid in Primary School who loved the lessons where we had to go around the class and read out from a book (oddly, this was my worst nightmare when I reached Secondary School). I remember my “favourite” pieces of homework from Primary School either being to read or to carry out “reading comprehension” tasks.

Time-skip again to Secondary School and although I now dreaded the lessons where we went around the class and each read aloud a section from the book, I used to love the lessons where we had a supply teacher and our only work was to sit and read (a book of our choice!) in silence!

Now once I finished Secondary, I had several months before I started college, and you can guess how I spent those months! When I finally started college, one of my favourite parts of the day used to be the bus ride either to college or back home: optimal reading time!

I’ve mentioned in previous posts that I now work full time, which obviously leaves less time for reading, however, I still make the most of my travel time, by reading on the bus, and, of course, I have time in the evenings.

I can’t say my taste in books has changed all that much since I was younger; I still enjoy mystery, fantasy and adventure books. I also used to enjoy reading the Horrible Histories books – even back then I was fascinated by the Tudors!

What’s your book journey? Has your taste in books changed as you’ve aged?

Keep reading!

Elanor 🙂

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Required reading lists: real or myth?

Good morning/afternoon/evening, fellow bookworms!

Now one thing I’ve noticed is that a lot of people online (I’ll be honest, this is mainly from reading captions on Bookstagram posts) seem to have “required reading lists” from their schools. But that wasn’t a thing when I was at school…not at my school, anyway.

If you’ve read my post from a few days ago (a rant about a library that wasn’t a library), you’ll know that, in my opinion, my old secondary school had some odd ideas about things. Mainly the library.

So I wasn’t sure if it was just my old school that didn’t seem to have required reading lists. Don’t get me wrong, it wasn’t as though we never read books in school, it’s just that we were never given a list of books that we had to read or even a list of recommended books relevant to a subject.

In my first year of secondary school, I remember our English teacher telling us that we had to always bring a book with us and throughout my 5 years of school, there were random English lessons where we would just sit and silently read a book of our choice for the full hour.

The only books I remember having to read for school are Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird , John Steinbeck’s Of Mice and Men and J. B. Priestley’s An Inspector Calls (‘m not sure if this last one counts as it is technically a play, but I actually really enjoyed reading and watching this, so I’m including it anyway).

Both Of  Mice and Men and An Inspector Calls, we read in class, going round the room and taking it in turns to read a paragraph aloud (I used to hate this – I had to count ahead and work out which paragraph was mine, long before it was actually my turn to read). But I don’t think this counts as “required reading”, certainly not in the way that I mean, because we didn’t actually have to go away and read them ourselves, all of the reading was done in lessons (only I bought myself a copy of Of Mice and Men and re-read it – my old English teacher would be proud).

However, To Kill a Mockingbird was different. We started off by reading this in class, but then, as everyone reads at different paces, were given several months to finish the books. We were given some lesson time to read this too (e.g. “if you finish your essay, just read To Kill a Mockingbird until the end of the lesson”), so, again, I really don’t think this counts. Side note: I found my copy of this on my bookshelf earlier this year (see the featured image) so it looks like I never handed it back in; belated apologies to my old English teacher, who will never see this post. 

It goes without saying that college was different. In History, we were given lists of suggested reading; both fiction and non-fiction books based on the time period of each paper we studied for (The Tudors, Luther and the German Reformation and the Witchcraze). Surprise, surprise, I actually read some of the books on these lists. And kept the lists for future reference.

Obviously, if I had taken a course such as English Literature at college, this would have been different and I would have been issued with a list of books I needed to read. But, like I said, college is different to school and lists of required reading would not be necessary in a lot of subjects.

So to conclude this longer-than-intended blog post, I’m not sure if required reading lists are real (in schools). Maybe it was just my school or maybe it’s just in the UK that they’re not a big thing, who knows?

Did your school give you lists of required reading? Leave a comment, along with your country, down below! Let’s discover whether this is a myth or a real thing!

Elanor 🙂