– Tome hopping – my 12 reads in 12 months project –

Inspired by the Comms Unplugged book table, Josephine Graham shares her 2020 commitment to read more…

I already knew I wanted to read more books in 2020. In the last five years, not including children’s stories, I have finished about the same number of titles as years: two autobiographies, one novel, a book about gratitude and….  Actually I think that might be it.

Note the use of the word finished here.

The number of books I have started dwarfs that significantly. But perseverance has failed me, time and time again.

I had vaguely discussed with friends, the plan to up my game and read more. I’d even considered some strategies to help me achieve it, including taking on the Dry January alcohol-free pledge, to help keep my mind focused enough to read rather than mindlessly watching TV or scrolling Twitter after a glass of wine.

But it was only on 1 January, answering Hel Reynolds’ ‘31 Days of Creativity’ challenge, that this fragile aspiration became something more substantial, a specific and realistic goal – 12 reads in 12 months. A goal born out of a need for a catchy headline. But it made sense. I can do that, I thought. The intention was set. And by proclaiming my ambition on social media, I made myself accountable to achieving it.

It was easy to decide what to read.

Like many of us, I was a voracious reader in my younger years. But the hazards of adult life, from soporific reading lists in my student days, to the energy thief that is parenthood, had put paid to that.

Meanwhile my ambition to read seemed to be on a different trajectory to my diminished reading habits. Thus a stockpile of unfinished books had amassed on my bedside table.

So opening up the book at the top of the unread pile, my 12 months of reading began.

There will be support along the way. Many of my Unplugger friends have also pledged to read more. One friend aims to read 20 books in 2020. And lovely Sally Northeast has extended her #SomethingInThePost project with the CommsUnplugged #PopUpBookClub – loan books sent through the post, often as a joyous surprise for the recipient. My second read, when I get to it, will be one of those books.

And the promise of the book table at the CommsUnplugged event in September is another incentive to get reading. The book I’m currently reading, Bird Therapy, by Joe Harkness, was bought specifically with the book table in mind. So I’d better get on with it.

I’m planning to share updates about my reading so if I’m too quiet I might have been distracted by the socials or trash TV. If this happens please do give me a prod to get me back on track. As someone once said, “I’ve started so I’ll finish” – eventually.

Josephine is an Original Unplugger, and works in comms for Bradford City Council. She’s the proud creator of #AllWomanGif  on Twitter.