I’ve always enjoyed reading and for as long as I can remember I’ve read fiction. Several years ago I got surprised with a Kindle for Christmas by my parents and it caused me to increase dramatically the number of books I was reading.
This year is a different story. Reading has been a difficult task, something that is very unusual for me since it has always been a point of comfort. When I was in junior school I had a series of books I would read when I was struggling with being bullied. When I was in my teens I would go back and read familiar books when I needed to find something calming. A few years ago when I was battling my first bout of depression I read Harry Potter books that were familiar and provided a way for my mind to imagine instead of a spiral of negative thoughts.
So when the world imploded this year, I thought once again I would be able to find refuge in books of fiction. But for several months I struggled to read. My mind could not focus, so it was a surprise to me when I looked at my reading stats in Book Track and Goodreads to discover that I had read more books this year than last. The thirteen books I’ve read (so far) this year is still low compared to my normal levels, but there is a definite uptick in the final half of the year that I’m pleased to see.
When I set out to write this post it was going to be a top 5 books of the year, as I started writing I realised there’s only one book I want to highlight. I read it right at the start of the year, and it’s a book that has continually come to mind ever since. I was given a print of one of the pages in it for my birthday.
The quote that has been hanging in my living room is one which many people have reminded me of and one which will no doubt have me returning to time after time.
“Being kind to yourself is one of the greatest kindnesses,” said the mole.
At a time when people often become quite introspective and look back at what they’ve done with the year, it’s easy to see all the people shouting about how they have utilised the lockdown to achieve so much and feel inadequate. It would be easy to begin beating ourselves up. So we should take notice of what the mole has to say, and be kind to ourselves, because actually getting through this year is pretty good going.