Every day I wake up determined to do something other than sit around. I start every morning absolutely positive that I’m going to make the most of my time away from the confides of the newsroom desk, set on learning to speak French fluently, making a lovely meal for my hardworking boyfriend, polishing up on media law developments, creating a website for my alter ego and professional self, or even writing a letter thanking my surgeon for not letting me die during my last hospital stay. Shockingly enough shortly after breakfast all my motivation seems to disappear out of the window and I end up finishing the day no closer to becoming a better rounded person than I was when I had a bowel.
Reading and drinking soya frap in grounds of Chester Cathedral
Every day of my life, whether I’m at work or not, I have to make a list. Some might say it’s an obsession, I think of it more as a loveable quirk. Most nights I come home with a rapidly growing news list and list of blog topics, video and campaign ideas as long as my arm, and the only way I can fall asleep is by writing a list on my iPad/notebook/dreambook (don’t ask)/or iPhone of everything I need to achieve the next day before my head hits the pillow. If I don’t do this my brain won’t stop chattering all night with a thousand voices screaming at me what needs to be done, how urgently and who I need to ring and probably won’t pick up the phone until way after deadline, until I want to put my pen through my skull and pull out my brain (yuck!!).
The shocking thing is despite having endless days alone in the flat with nothing but painkillers and managing my sore bottom and ostomy bag to fill my empty hours I’m still feeling the need to write myself lists. But despite starting the day with a list of five-ten things to do, from hanging out the washing, to designing my website or doing an hour’s worth of French, by the end of the day I’ve often only crossed one thing off the list. In fact I’ve still got last week’s list up on the notice board with five things (out of 12) still to be done – I’ve transformed into a couch potato and I am both disgusted and shocked!
I’m disappointed in myself. I’m bored, tired and going out of my mind, but for some reason unbeknown to me I just can’t focus on anything at the moment. Every time I try to apply myself to anything I just give up, which is not like me at all. I hate not having a project or goal, but even more than that I hate not having a schedule, something which the working day helps me to maintain. The problem is that when you’re not at work every task is something you can put off until later. The day stretches out endlessly before you, meaning you believe you have hours and hours to do every little thing, but before you know it it’s 5pm and Andy is coming in through the door and I’ve literally done nothing. I actually have to force myself out of the house for a little walk everyday, dragging myself out of the door for my daily exercise (come rain or shine) to get a coffee, read next to the canal or buy more nail varnish, just so I don’t sit staring at crime dramas on the telly and watching reruns of Newsnight on loop all day long.
I guess the best thing about being off work is that I’ve fallen back in love with reading again. As a child I used to literally devour books (yes literally!), it’s a family thing! I could read a novel in a matter of hours and even won prizes from my local library for reading and reviewing hundreds of books – and got to meet Hazel Townsend (claim to fame). At the start of this blog I began my ‘read a book a week for six months’ challenge. I was doing really well, racing through books while trying to work every hour under the sun, study for exams and get cracking with some of my other challenges, until month number five when I missed a week and sacked it off. Why did I give up when I was so close? Because I didn’t want to be a cheat, that’s why. The point of these challenges is that they are meant to be challenging. Managing to read a book a week while working is hard, especially when some are political memoirs or solid classics. There is no point in me doing these challenges if I cheat. The point of this blog is to be honest, and as my mum always said “you’re just cheating yourself”.
So I’ve restarted challenge number 70 with gusto. I’m five weeks in and I’m loving it a bit too much. I’ve probably read the equivalent of three books a week recently, and I don’t feel like slowing down any time soon. Obviously I’m going to run this in conjunction with challenge 98 – the autobiographies, which I’m steadily making my way through atm.
Here are some of the books I’ve read over the past five weeks (I honestly can’t remember the others – there were at least three more on my Kindle which I’ve not put here), as you will see I’ve had a lot of time on my hands:
Seventy-Seven by Andy Murray – I love tennis and love Murray (groan I hear a lot of you say). But as a Murray fan I urge you not to read this book. If you thought he was dull before you read it you will be proved right. This book was mind numbingly boring. Murray describes each point of each match, hardly touches on his personal life, and says everything (no matter how big an achievement) is well “ok”. Argh!
The Little Coffee Shop of Kabul by Deborah Rodriguez – fascinating tale of five extraordinary women in a hostile climate. I couldn’t put this book down, and it helped distract me in the days following my operation.
Allegiance by Veronica Roth – last in the Divergent series – I was getting a bit tired of these by the time I got to the last one. But they are decent teen books and I would recommend if you want some holiday reading, but get it on your Kindle, the hardback is heavy and hard to hold with joint problems.
The Gingerbread House by Carin Gerhadsen – I love crime and thriller novels, which is funny as I hate thriller films. This was decent and I would read another by her, but not a patch on my favourite crime authors.
Shit my Dad Says by Justin Halpern – I loved this. A lovely twitter follower sent this to me and I laughter so much at the quirky sayings and no-nonsense talk that I almost split my stitches.
High Society by Ben Elton – one of my Dad’s books, but I will be reading more by Elton, gripping and funny look at society.
Gone by Michael Grant – the first in a series. I was hooked to start with, but it soon became a bit like a lame version of divergent and the Hunger Games mixed together – a bit samey for me.
Saturday by Ian McEwan – he never disappoints. Gripping from the start and a must read for all McEwan fans.
Breakfast with Tiffany by Edwin John Wintle – funnier than I expected insight into an uncle living with a rebellious teenage niece in New York
Have I got Views for You by Boris Johnson – being a hack myself I loved this. Even though I’m not a lover of the Tories you’ve got to love a bit of Boris!
So not to fill this blog up with book reviews I’ve decided that once a week I will do a video blog on my Youtube channel reviewing my book/books of the week, then every month I will do a blog on how I got on trying to get through books alongside all my other commitments. You can visit my Youtube channel here.
Oh, and if you have any book suggestions please comment below, tweet me @thestomabaglady or Facebook me. I need to spend my days emerged in literature.